Texas Travel Blog› entry 32 of 167 › view all entries
Don't you wonder how people will react to your trip? Who will be supportive and who will be discouraging? (My main goal with this blog is to help others planning similar trips)
I expected that no one would really care - because it is not about them. They would be like, "Oh, that's nice." Of course, the families we interact with daily would have adjustments, but for most people- who cares?
Maybe it's the survival instinct that keeps us concerned with others' behavior, but most people seem to have a strong opinion about *our* trip. If you're planning such a trip, perhaps this little analysis will be helpful. Obviously, these are generalizations:
Women my age (40ish and running kids around):
These fall into 3 camps:
- Those who encourage and think such a trip sounds interesting but are homebodies and don't want to go on such a trip
- Those who clearly state that they would not like to travel with their kids for any length of time. Most Moms in this group are running themselves ragged with their kids' activities and life in general. They pronounce me "crazy!"
- These moms immediately share with me the places and times they themselves have traveled. Why? So that I know they are adventuresome? Are travel locations used as bragging rights? Do they assume I haven't been there and they want to demonstrate "expert status" or share tips? I respond graciously - I love to get travel tips and these women are adventuresome and interesting to me. Also, I can see the wheels turning in their minds about whether *they* want to plan such a trip. It's like someone made the restrictive "box" bigger and they need time to process the ideas. Perhaps these Moms will later stretch their courage and plan their own adventures as a reaction. We invite them to come along. Maybe some will meet us along the way!
Older Men (around my Dad's age- 60+):
This is the most surprising group to me! Their level of unhappiness with my trip seems directly related to their level of chauvanism. The most chauvanistic don't like my going AT ALL.
They don't like:
- the fact that my husband isn't going: it means that I am self-sufficient and don't "need" a man (although I love my man)
- that I'm not carrying a gun (even though it is illegal to do so into Canada and Mexico)
- my travel plans to Central America: they warn me very gravely, as if I didn't know that potential danger lurks, and that their clueing me in will change my plans. They send via email US State Dept. warnings for various countries. (I'd like to see the U.S. warnings that other countries must send out!) They tell nearby women of their worry, as if those women might be able to talk some sense into me.
- Most of all, they harrass me ad nauseum about how my husband is going to find someone else to fill his needs. In fact, they take the trip as a personal affront to marriage due to my irresponsible lack of serving my husband's needs.
I feel sorry for divorced women who meet this group. If you want a wet blanket for your trip, tell these guys!
Men our Age (40ish):
- Most of these men are more open-minded about the trip.
- They really don't seem to care, since it doesn't affect them.
- However, most of them feel sympathetic toward Ned and would miss their families too.
- They are good dads and loving husbands and *really* hope their wives don't plan such a trip, although they would likely support their wives if their wives took such a trip.
Older Women: (around my Mom's 60+ age)
Okay, perhaps *this* is the most surprising group!
These women (including both our Moms, fortunately) go way out of their way to tell me:
- how supportive they are of our plans
- what a wonderful opportunity it is for the kids
- how happy they are for us
- how much they want to go with us (we always invite them to join up with us along the way)
- They never discuss the danger or worry over formal schooling, as they believe the travel is the best education of all.
- They usually close the conversation with encouragement like, "Good for you!" or "You go, Girl!"
Some have offered to *take care of Ned* - sort of helping me out - by bringing him dinner or sending over their housecleaner monthly. While that is thoughtful, how often are meals sympathetically brought over to the single Moms who are caring for their kids, running their households, and working full time?
It's a skewed attitude I don't fully understand. I'm all for showing loving concern for people who need it. In the past, during traveling work weeks when Ned was at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel - while I was home handling everything for everyone, nobody *ever* took me out to dinner in a sign of empathy or care. I would hope a grown man can cook a single daily meal for himself and tidy his living environment occasionally. My husband can and certainly our son will also learn those skills. Still, I recognize that a loving heart is guiding their offers and that I very much appreciate and admire.
Anyway, the extent to which these older women will make certain that I understand their support is interesting. They usually are private and quiet and very firm about it. There is a reason that women have always risen- they are strong.
I wonder if this age-group of women have learned to support each other in an era where women were told that they, their opinions, and their needs were not important. That their sole source of worthiness was based on their husbands. That their significance vanished when a husband was gone. And they know that attitude is damaging.
I would not have understood this attitude, growing up as I did in a more freeing time, had I not read a book entitled, "Elkhart University Guide to Beauty, Charm, Poise" copyright 1962. It sent shivers down my spine with insidious messages of unworthiness and stupidity, which were commonly shared with women during that era.
I wonder if Amelia Earhart was married. I doubt it. Will have to research that. I'll bet she caught a lot of grief regardless.
OK, I did research it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Earhart
Amelia's ideas on marriage were liberal for the time as she believed in equal responsibilities for both "breadwinners" and pointedly kept her own name ... When The New York Times, per the rules of its stylebook, insisted on referring to her as Mrs. Putnam, she laughed it off. GP also learned quite soon that he would be called "Mr. Earhart." >>
My, we had/have strong ideas in our society about the roles that people should take! Thank goodness for people like A.E.