By Mike Curtis
“Mum, I’m going to go to a Malaria hot spot, strip naked, create several open wounds, and then I’m going to play football, hopefully in a minefield. I may also take time to snort the local chicken droppings before attempting to undermine a violent dictatorship with nothing more than a megaphone and my cheeky personality”
Not actually what I said – I actually just told her that I’m going backpacking across Asia – but judging by her reaction, this is what she chose to hear.
Now, this is by no means an unusual reaction in my neck of the woods – I grew up in deepest darkest Norfolk, England. Which, for those who have never heard of it (everyone) is historically remote farmer country. I’m quite confident that Tolkien based his Hobbits on us. People from London are considered ‘strange and exotic’, and anything further afield is viewed only by most through the prism of Rupert-Murdoch-o-vision. So, of course I was going to get off the plane and immediately get SUPER-SARS and die instantly.
So, for those of you who want to travel half the world and nearly get married by accident (that’s another post) but don’t want to make your Mummy cry while your doing it, I’d like to provide my handy little guide.
1) For gods sake, remember birthdays
Ironically, considering her concern for my safety, if I forgot my Sisters birthday, my Mum would fly out east and kill me herself, to hell with local dangers. Hallmarks Personalised Birthday Cards bailed me out, when all other hope was lost.
2) Finally accept that Facebook request
It’s not like your folks are going to know how to use it, anyway. That picture of you passed out in your Yom Tom at 7am in Vang Vieng goes from embarrassing to effortless proof that you live. Sort of.
Not to actually use, mind. But when your Mum can’t get the video call working, she’ll automatically assume it’s her fault. And not that you completely forgot and aren’t online.
4) Leave a bit of emergency money
And instructions for how to use a moneygram service. They’ll feel better if you have some means to help you out, even if you don’t need it.
Mike Curtis returned to Merry old Blighty after spending 3 months being very, very lost in Asia. He now works for Uswitch, comparing gas and electricity prices. Forever.