Teenager Traveling Alone
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Sep 29, 2012 2:17 AM Last Post By: ThurstonHowell4th
Sep 24, 2012 4:44 PM
Teenager Traveling AloneHello, I'm kinda new here. I just wanted to get you guys' opinions on my 14 (soon to be 15) year old daughter traveling to Kathmandu, Nepal during the summer in 2013. She wants to go ALONE (although she really wants to go with a friend her age) and stay for 3 or 4 weeks. She traveled to Washington, DC (for a leadership conference) without the family when she was 11 and stayed there for a week.
All her friends are going to Europe with tour programs over the summer and she wants to be different. She plans on traveling with RCDP (a volunteer abroad program; link provided) and working with an orphanage. This program usually restricts their volunteers to an age limit of 18, but I emailed the program and they said they could make an exception with her, and have her be looked after by one of their employees. Of course, she still wants to have the freedom of seeing the city alone.
My main concerns are that she will get lonely (her fellow volunteers will be much older than her) and that she just may be too young for a trip like this. She is very intelligent, and very mature, and she never lets anyone take advantage of her, but I don't want anyone to think I am too lenient and too lax when it comes to the welfare of my daughter.
Should I allow my D to travel to Nepal?
Sep 24, 2012 5:28 PM
Sep 24, 2012 5:41 PM
2I would try to contact people who had volunteered on that program already or their parents, for one thing, and ask them about their experience. I met an eighteen year old woman who had just volunteered somewhere in Nepal last summer, and she said that it was her feeling that the guy running it just did it for money. It cost a lot of money to go and volunteer, and then she didn't feel like she did much there. I would definitely not let her transit alone at all but make sure she always had supervision. I would look for something else that was "different," something with kids her own age and that was designed for kids her age with strong supervision.
Sep 24, 2012 10:35 PM
Sep 24, 2012 11:23 PM
Sep 25, 2012 12:02 AM
Sep 25, 2012 12:42 AM
Sep 25, 2012 2:25 AM
7I take it your daughter´s friend is also a minor? No matter how mature you think your daughter is, I don´t think it´s a good idea to let a 15 year old do this kind of trip on her own (or with a friend of the same age) She might be able to cope and make sure "no one takes advantage of her" on her home turf - but she will be half the world away, in a country with a completely different culture and a language she does not speak. There might be other volunteers, but people who are maybe in their 20s do not sound likely to want to play babysitter for a couple of minors. Same goes for the volunteer organisation - what happens in case of some medical emergency etc? there is no one around to sign papers etc and your daughter can´t because she is underage.
some other things - her first trip abroad and to a third world country? that can be challenging. Are you sure she is up to it? And I do not even go the point of easy available drugs and meeting people who appear cool to her but are not really the best company for a 15 year old.
She wants to make a difference? I live in Africa, and frankly, I´ve had it with all the volunteers who turn up and think they can make a difference. Come on, spending some weeks playing with kids in an orphanage whose language you do not speak? How does that help them? how does it improve the realities of a country? It just pumps money into the volunteer organisation and might prevent qualified local people to get a job because. If she wants to make a difference, I´m sure there are many possibilities to do something closer home to help disadvantaged and underprivileged people she can actually communicate with. Of course, that´s less exotic...
Sep 25, 2012 3:12 AM
8In my country it's not allowed to buy a beer untill you are 16 and they are talking to go for minimum 18.
But you can go alone to Nepal when you're 15 ? Damn, if I were you I would lock her in her room for 1 week to get some sense into her. It's not like Greece or Spain where all the youngster go for there holidays and stay in cheap apartments and drink all night till they fall in a coma. At least I was early 20 when I started to discover the world, and never alone for that part. My parents would kill me.
Youngsters today still have much to learn, even they think otherwise.
Be a little bit more smarter mum.
Sep 25, 2012 7:09 AM
9Some years ago I met an 18 year old girl on the plane to Kathmandu and she was very nervous for her first time in Nepal and we only just left the airport when 2-3 taxidrivers tried to take her luggage and put it in their taxi. They only stopped because I grabbed them by the shoulder, looked them straight into the eyes and told them rather loudly that we would NOT travel with them.
She was very thankfull afterwards.
This was in full public in broad daylight.
And she is a minor, maybe she won't even be able to change money, as you have to sign the slip. She can't change her flight ticket, she may not be able to check into a hotel and, and, and
Did you check if she can get a visa ?
Sep 25, 2012 7:48 AM
Sep 25, 2012 10:56 AM
11Yes, I thought it could be trolling, but some parents are so permissive and relativistic these days you never know. Fifteen or sixteen year old girls are sailing around the world by themselves, what next.
Also, postmodern relativism has led to an awful lot of naivete about various cultures and places around the world. It is politically incorrect to make generalizations about other cultures or imply that some cultures might be more violent and so forth, so you often hear people downplaying the risks of traveling in some of these countries a great deal.
The eighteen year old I met in Dharamsala had been to Srinigar, which the U.S. State Department recommends Americans avoid, so I asked whether the warning had concerned her at all. But she hadn't heard of it and immediately dismissed it as "Islamophobia." Maybe, but it doesn't always work out like that for everyone.
Sep 25, 2012 1:59 PM
Sep 25, 2012 3:20 PM
13I'll give benefit of the doubt (I did think it may be a troll).
At that age, I'd be recommending she get a guide via the orphanage she's intending to work with. But, whether she's intending to allow the person to be with her is another question...
Whilst Nepal (Kmd) is a lot easier to travel than many parts of India, it's still very easy to get quite sick (I had amoebic dysentry for a week and lost about 15kgs) or be taken advantage of in many other ways.
Sep 25, 2012 3:22 PM
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