I am Justyn’s mom and we thought it would be fun to share a mom’s perspective about having a child that travels extensively and is living abroad. First and foremost, Justyn is my inspiration. I am amazed by her tenacity for seeing her dreams through no matter what the world’s views are. She is driven to succeed and I believe that she has and will continue to be a success at everything that she puts her mind to.
The First Question
The first question that EVERYONE asks me is: Aren’t you afraid for her? Or any variation of this question. Have you seen the movie, Taken? Are you worried about her and about her safety? Etcetera, Etcetera! I must admit that the first time that she left home for Europe when she was nineteen years old and somewhat naive, I was worried. I really wasn’t sure how she was going to fair in a foreign country without some adult person to manage the itinerary, the money and the directions. The reality was, I did not have anything to worry about. She hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since.
Does that mean that I don’t worry about her? No, I worry about her but not in the way that everyone thinks. Reminding me of the Taken movies is not why I worry. I worry about the same things as other parents worry about when their kids leave home. Did I teach her what she needed to know to be a good person? Does she understand the value of money? Is she being smart with her money? Does she have strong values and ethics? Does she know how to take care of herself? The answer for all of the above is YES!
The next question that I get a lot is: How is she paying for her travels? I believe that most people think that we, her parents, are flitting the bill. But the answer to that question is…Justyn has self-funded her travels from the beginning. She is a very hard working young woman and has been since she turned sixteen. She was diligent with school and work and after graduating from high school and moving out, she worked three jobs and saved everything that she made in order to travel without concern for her finances. After her first trip to Europe that lasted around four months, she returned home and once again, threw herself into working 24/7, two jobs to make money and save, save, save in order to go again. This girl knows what she wants and she works very hard to get it!
Other peoples concerns
The other concern from everyone, that I know, is who does she travel with? She has had many journeys with friends, a few with her sister, even a few with her mom and dad, but mostly she is happy to pack her bag and hit the road (or the airport) by herself. She is confident and not afraid to spend quality time with herself. Also she has a good eye for people and makes friends easily.
This leads to the question: How many languages does she speak? I say, English. Then jaws drop. “You mean to tell me that she goes alone and doesn’t speak any other languages?” My response: Yes, only English. And you can see from her other blog posts that she has been to Japan, Cuba, Peru, Prague and many others where knowing the language could have been useful and helpful. But even with the language barriers, this girl does a great job of navigating her stays and having totally amazing trips.
Staying in touch
If you can’t tell, I am a very proud mom. I am amazed by this young woman on a daily basis. I will say that today’s technology has lessened my angst as a parent about her travels. We are able to communicate every day or two by email, texting, phone calls and video calls. The hardest part about communicating is figuring out the time differences. Fortunately for me (and probably her too) because she has stayed in Bali for the time being, I know that she is fourteen hours ahead of me. When I am going to bed, it’s morning for her and vice versa.
It really helps to know when I can expect to hear from her. My favorite is to get pictures from her. The best pictures are the signs that she finds. We laugh together about crazy animals, bathroom instructions, and sometimes, not even being able to decipher the meanings through the pictures on the signs, let alone understanding the languages they are written in. I hope that she inserts a picture or two of some signs here…
All of that said, I do miss having her close enough to hug and go to lunch or a movie with but I am so pleased that she is an independent woman who is following her dreams wherever they take her. Her travels have expanded her world and mine. She has met wonderful people all over the world and she has seen so many beautiful places, all of which, she has shared with me through her pictures and her stories. I look forward to many more adventures with my crazy middle child. I love you Miss Justyn.