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nita1950

Son traveling alone at 18 years old

13 years ago

My 18 year old is taking his first long distance trip. He leaving Virginia going to New Jersey. I think that it will take him 5-7 hours. He is traveling alone and I am so nervous, extremely stressed and worried. My husband says "he's 18" and doesn't seem to have any concerns. How can I get over this and just hope and pray that he will be okay.

He is a pizza driver and is in school full time and he wants to take this trip during Spring break. He has not told me yet because he knows that I don't support it.

When did your child take his/her first long distance trip?

Please help me with this. I have also always been over protective.

Comments (41)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    He's old enough to join the Army and fight for his country.

    Let him go with your blessings. He's a man.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think DS was 18 when he did his first drive that long.
    I can understand you being nervous. I bought AAA! lol
    He has driven across country from Washington, to Virginia
    a few times. I was always more nervous about the weather
    that he was going to be driving in than anything else.
    I know he would take time to sleep (unlike his dad who
    will drive for 16 hours straight! argh! lol)

    He left for Yuma Arizona on the 30th of January and I was
    worried about him and his short driving temper driving
    through Los Angeles. But he made it! (went around la! lol)

    I worry about him getting in to the wrong part of town, etc.

    Go to him and tell him you know he's going and maybe get
    him some good maps.. or a gps.. or find interesting places
    to stop along the way. He will have an awesom time.

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  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Aw, he'll be just fine, Nita. :) I traveled on planes by myself at 9. From age 16 I was galavanting across Colorado and New Mexico. And at 19, I drove across the country all by myself and LOVED it!

    Blessings,
    Haley

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    He'll be fine. My kids took five hour trips in their teens. That's how long it takes to get to the southern portion of our state.

    DS went to Vegas for the first time when he was 17. Still in high school. Drove to DefCon.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I travelled by Greyhound from Prince George BC to here in Calgary, twice when I was 17. I took a Greyhound bus. What a looooooooooong drive! 12 hours by car. Twice as long by bus when you take the milk run bus. joy

    My daughter flew with two girlfriends from Calgary to Toronto to see a big concert. She was 17 as well. Saved up for it by herself. They were one of those jokes: a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. LOL My youngest son flew to Abbotsford from Calgary when he was 16 by himself. My parents picked him up at the airport and he spent four days with them and my sisters.

    Same son will be travelling from here to Iowa (I think?) for some big concert in July. He's going with two friends in our motorhome. From there, they're want to travel to Vegas for 2 days before coming back home. That trips makes me nervous...... He 24 now. But I think no matter how old our kids are, we will always worry about our kids when they travel.

    I'm sure your child will be just fine. But if we didn't worry about them, we wouldn't be good parents.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "He's old enough to join the Army and fight for his country.

    Let him go with your blessings. He's a man."

    Exactly!!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I live on the far side of Australia. When I was 16 I left home for a year and travelled through the US, ending up in Ohio before I came home. My Mom may have worried (though she didn't say anything) but she did indicate she didn't think I could find my way around the city nearest our town (I could). I was fine.
    If your son is reasonably level headed and mature (since he's working and in school sounds like he is) he should be fine.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    At 19 my youngest daughter flew out to California and drove back to Indiana with a friend. They were going to camp on the way back. I told her it was not safe for 2 young girls to do this. I told them to stay in a hotel and I would pay for it.. All went well.. Bad thing is they have no fear.........

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    That's what I was thinking susie, "they have no fear" at that age. I didn't either. When I think of the risks I took traveling my myself, ugh. One of the worst was when I went NYC by myself (I'm from smalltown Ohio)and had to have Mom and Dad wire me some money (hotel upgraded room, long story, I was naive). A woman standing behind me at Western Union asked me how much money I was getting, I told her, walked out waving the cash around, could I have said, "Come mug me" any more clearly?

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was going to add, but it's a different world now days; but IS it?

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'd be nervous too, but if he's a good kid and a good driver he will be fine. Can he text you when he makes pit stops? No driving late at night! What is he doing when he gets there? My 18 y.o. is a girl and still in high school, but I think I would be more nervous with a girl! Is his spring break soon, or after the danger of snow?? Quite honestly-my 18 y,o, is a better driver than me!!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow - Debby - Iowa to Vegas is a LONG trip! I would think it would take them two solid days to drive there - especially in a motor home.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Another thing DS would do when he was younger post high school through early 20s was spontaneous road trips. They had a van and three of them would climb in and take turns driving. Once he ended up in Mexico. Another time it was Utah. If someone dozed off they never knew where they would be when they woke up. LOL
    He once did a 24 hour "iron butt" ride with a couple of friends on their motorcycles to grab some sushi in Salt Lake City. They rode nonstop from Santa Cruz, California with on layover for a couple of hours in Vegas to catch a few Zs.

    I'm glad to see there are others here who enjoyed road trips when they could. I do them now. Love to drive alone for long distances. Clears my head and you never know what might happen.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My son left on a bicycle trip from UT Austin to Anchorage, AL, when he was just a bit over 19. It took 70 or so days, with very little communication.

    He was with a team, raising money for cancer research, but still...Did I worry? Of course, a bit, but he was an adult, and fully capable of fending for himself.

    So...You think your 18y-o can't drive? Operate a cell phone if he needs help? Can't call home if there is some sort of trouble?? If so - well, really, how good a parent were you? Did you teach him nothing??

    OF COURSE he can do these things all by his cute little self, and better than you think he can. Unclench the worry!! Let your son grow up!

    As others have said - he's old enough to lay his life down for his country. Damn - let the boy make a drive.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nowhere did Nita say she didn't want him to go. Only that she was worried about him going. Why are people telling her to 'let him go'?

    She asked for advice on how not to worry. Personally, I don't have that advice as my own kid is taking on a huge trip and it scares me. Heck, when my parents travel I get nervous and they're in their late 70's!

    I think keeping busy while he's gone is the best way. When I travelled this past summer (once to Vancouver and once to Winnipeg), I had the advantage of being able to let people know where we were via my iPhone and Facebook. If he has a phone with this feature, perhaps he can just text you or send you a note on FB now and then to set your mind at ease.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think it depends on the 18 year old. Some are mature and careful and some are not.

    My daughter went to Europe on her Spring break when she was a senior in high school. She had turned 18 less then 2 weeks before. She planned the whole trip with a girlfriend who was still 17, my daughter was her guardian. They flew first to London, then Paris, and then took a train to Rome. They stayed at hostels.

    I admit I was a little nervous but we had taken a family trip to Europe 3 years before and I felt it was a safe place to go. Plus my daughter was smart and mature and had a good head.

    Now my son...

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think it depends on the 18 year old. Some are mature and careful and some are not. Exactly... depends on the kid. You've raised him right.. I think he will be fine.

    My DD went to Australia and New Zealand when she was just 16. She did have parental guidance... but still about 6 of the kids came back with pierced tongues (not mind thankfully! lol). She's been going on spring breaks every year since she was 18 and I don't like it... but I can't do anything about it.. she is an adult. Just trust that you raised them right and let them go. *sigh*

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Things for your son to take along so you won't worry as much:

    GPS
    Cell Phone
    Good map book
    Credit card for gas
    Plenty of sleep before he goes.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I understand your anxiety. They are really still children at that age. They don't know what they don't know. But if he follows some of the above advice, he should be fine. But I would be worried, too. You are a normal mom.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks everyone. Debby...you are so right. I want him to go... just nervous for such a long first trip by himself. He is going to visit his grandparents. He has a 1998 Mercury Marquis. The car is in pretty good condition. He has no fear at all and is actually excited about the trip when talking to his Dad. He has not told me yet because he knows how I worry. He was going to go to Philadelphia this past Christmas season and the weather was bad. It changed his plans and I was so happy! I just kind of wish that he were traveling with a friend rather than alone. He is a really good kid, is a youth leader, no drugs or alcohol, studying criminal justice in school, is an honor student and is fun-loving, fearless and adventurous.

    It's hard for me to look at him as a "man" even though I know that at 18 years old he is. When I go to his room at night and he's fast asleep I still kiss him on his forehead and marvel at my little 6'4" boy. He has been a parent pleaser young man...I just need to let go. He is the youngest of my 4...he's 18 and the others are in their mid thirties and early 40's. Yes, I had him late in life. I might mention that I have treated the others the same....we got through it. They did not however travel as teenagers long distances....just around town.

    You have eased some of my fears by sharing your teenager's trips. I'll be okay. I can't wait for him to get back home and he hasn't even left yet. LOL

    I'll make sure that he is prepared for the trip... GPS, car charger, extra cash/credit card. I hope that he will get plenty of rest for the trip going and returning. That is one issue that is of concern...he is very active and gets little sleep.

    Oh well thanks for your replies. I do feel a little better...might get harder when he's about ready to leave. I will have to stay real busy while he is traveling.

    It is now 12:45 AM...do you want a laugh...I am still up because he is not home yet from delivering pizza's. The minute he walks in that door, I will pass out (smile). I will be in bed...half dozing by that time. Could it be my age...I am 61 years old. Maybe younger mothers don't worry like I do. Good nite.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Where in NJ is he going to? My son was 21 (he drove from NC back here to NJ when he was in the Marines).

    Sheryl - NJ

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita- That's so nice that he wants to visit his grandparents on spring break. Remember that there are several KT members here in NJ just in case!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Look at it this way! As a parent, I'd be less worried about him visiting his grandparents than what many of the kids his age are planning for March Break.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    my kids all went to school out of towm so they drove back and forth anywhere 1-2 hours to ds2 at 5...

    all are fairly decent drivers, dd1 the best since she learned in ca. on vacations when they were small, taught them to read maps, ect...

    i'm another aaa membership for him to have...trip-trik (maps) him and make sure his cell phone is charged...money is another thing 18 yo's arn't the most responsible with...prehaps a pre-paid gas card? give him your blessing but also remind him who's paying the insurance!

    btw who goes to new jersey on spring break?? lol...

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    He's going to N. Wildwood, NJ. He is their 1st grandchild and was their only for 16 years. I've never met them, I am black and his father is white (we are divorced) I have allowed them to have him all of his life. They won't meet me because of my race. They are wonderful people and ove him so very much. His father, their son lives in Philadelphia. He was a very good husband to me and they convinced him that our relationship would never work and that they would pay for an abortion and for him to leave me. Well he did. He has never remarried and has no other children. He still tells me that he loves me; but he chose to leave me. My son is very fortunate to have such a loving father and grandparents. I have never even spoken with them except once and that was in 1987. They called me names, bad names, told me that I was ruining the family and hung up on me. It was a very bad hurt to me. But I have forgiven and have not denied my son into their lives. When he was younger, he visited 2-3 times a year. I have remarried since he was 2 years old and his step-father(we never use that word) loves him also very much and he calls them both Dad. He has had such a good life with people loving him all around. As far as the traveling, we have flown him out several times or our family has traveled to a half-way point 2-3 times a year and his biological dad would take him the remainder of the way. Once we took him to NJ and his father was there already and took him to their home. We stayed in a hotel for the duration of the visit...about 3 days and then we all traveled back home. Never saw or spoke with the grandparents. My husband and I just vacationed in NJ and enjoyed the trip. When he was younger, I felt that they needed to have him on Christmas Day and on his birthday so I arranged for those visits while I missed him so much during those special times. But I wanted them to enjoy those precious moments. I even asked him if he wanted to go and visit for a year, but he wanted to remain and live with us and just continue to visit as often as he could. They are really fine people. I am sorry that I got off the topic of the post. I will be okay. I'll repost once he takes this trip and give an update. Thanks all!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita, you are bringing back memories from twenty years ago. Our daughter backpacked across Europe with a friend when she was 19 and her friend was 18. She was in college and her friend had just graduated high school. I will never forget as long as I live, we went 4 days without hearing a word. On our last contact they had headed toward Russia. You cannot imagine the thoughts in our minds. One morning at 3 in the morning, they called and were back in Switzerland. There had been no phone connections in the countries they had been touring. I never did figure out the part about not worrying, she is 40 now, and we still have concerns when she travels with hubby and two babies. Guess that's what we parents do. We are guilty of loving them so very much.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita I just want to say you heart is much bigger than mine when it comes to forgiveness. Your ex's parents may be nice or even good grandparents to your son but good people do not do and say the type of things you describe over a person's skin color. You are so right to not deny your son his bio dad and family but you owe no forgiveness to them. You sound like a wonderful person. They are anything but.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My biggest fear would be if my son strayed from the normal route. Tell him to stick to his plans and use his common sense when necessary.

    You'd be surprised at how well they can travel at that age. My son has saved me from going in the wrong direction several times, even in the airports, so this past Christmas I had no problem with him leaving the country to travel to Halifax to see his friends, at aged 19. Designate a time around the halfway mark for him to call you to help ease your mind.

    He'll be fine!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bless your heart, Nita. Your story brought tears to my eyes.
    Your son is a lucky fellow to have you for a role model. I
    hope that you will be repaid for your kindness.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita, your story brought tears to my eyes, too. Bless you for letting your son have a relationship with his grandparents even though they don't include you in the family.

    As for the trip; he'll be fine and it could be a very significant time for him. Sometimes it's hard to let them go but when we've done our jobs as parents we've raised the kids to be independent. One son of mine spent the Summer in Mexico helping people build houses. He was there for 3 months and we had 2 phone calls during that time. No news is good news.

    Ron

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your son has had a fine life, Nita, thanks to you, and he will lead a fine life because of you. He will be fine on this trip. It's not because of your age or his being your only - you are a loving mother, that's all!

    Just think - you could be in my shoes! My TWO youngest daughters are traveling alone in South Korea and Australia, with side trips to Cambodia and other places. We're going a little nuts here, too, and I sure wish they weren't doing it, but, honestly, as parents we worry constantly about our kids, no matter how many we have, no matter how old they are or their circumstances. Heck, I sometimes even invent possible things to worry about! You're perfectly normal.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita, I totally agree with Wildchild. You are a far greater person than I am. I don't think I could forgive and forget when they intentionally attempted to ruin my life and bring destruction to a family because you are black. You sound like a role model any young man could ever hope to have, and your actions have taught him much in the way of kindness and empathy. I know I sound like I'm rambling, but I just can't believe they could treat you that way. I'm astounded.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita, I had not read your last post when I posted a reply. Nita, you are a very loving mother to allow you son to be with the ones that said all the evil things. It brought tears to my eyes reading your post. I cannot imagine how it feels inside. When will we ever learn that the color of our skin has nothing to do with the person we are. I grew up as a white woman in the south in the 40's and 50's. , and to this day, have never judged a person by their skin color, and my children were always taught never judge a person by their skin color. As a child living in the country, my best friends did not have the same color skin as mine, as a child I could never understand why she could not go into town with me and walk the streets on Saturdays. I would be very proud of you if you were the mother of my grandchild. It hurts me inside to know how hurtful these folks have been to you. I have an idea that you came from a very loving and forgiving family.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita,
    As much as I want to give you a cure for worrying it won't happen. We worry about our children from the moment we know we are going to be a parent to the day we are parted by death. To help try to reduce the worries You can try to think about how much maturity he has exhibited over the years, how well he has made decisions regarding actions and consequences, how well he has listened to you and his dad about life and how to live it safely.
    Make sure he has GPS, a good cell phone (with vehicle chargers). He should have the car tuned up, oil changed, tires checked (including spare) and have a roadside emergency kit in the trunk.
    Just as he went from baby to little boy, little boy to young man he went adventuring, you worried. Now he is going from young man to man and you will worry. It is in the nature of a good mother to do that. Were I you I would tell him how much I love him and how proud he makes me and how I will worry about his safety. Make sure he understands it is not because of his being young but because of others (drivers and criminals) doing stupid things. Ask him to give you a call or quick text each evening just to make you feel less stress. He should be willing to do so just because he loves his Mom.
    They tend to grow up and go out into the world weather we are ready or not and we still worry.

    LIL

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Goodness....ditto what wildchild said. (((Hugs))))

    Nanny

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Greetings Nita1950 ... fom a guy who goes back to 1929,

    I take my hat off to you who, with a noble heart, has been so kindly disposed to relatives who have treated you so poorly.

    With regard to his trip, the major difference is distance. I expect that, as a pizza driver, he may well have had a few hard knocks to deal with, or ones that could have become so. He has quite probably run into some difficult situations, which, in deference to your concerns, he has not revealed to you in their entirety: people can sometimes get into some rather hot water, close to home, let's not forget.

    It has long seemed to me a wise idea for a parent to discuss various potential results that might develop if one were to follow varying courses of action in certain situations, as our children grew up, though I was partially removed, being a non-resident father from the time that ours were rather young.

    It has seemed to me important, our world having become as complex as it is, and with innovations happening so rapidly, to encourage our children to develop reasoning skills and the ability to navigate their way through the increasing complexities of life. To prepare themselves step by step for independence.

    My daughter spent I think that it was her junior year in High School as an exchange student in Hamburg, Germany, living wih a family where the father was an engineer in the city administration. She said that, while she was happy to go with them as a little mouse in the back seat on various trips, she did some travelling on her own, going with a school group to camp above Florence for about a week, I think, and she did some travelling through Europe and in ... was it Morocco? in North Africa.

    Her Mom being from Iowa, she has dual citizenship and, following the breakup of hewr marriage, took off for Arizona ... California ... a few years ago, settled in Prescott, found work, later moved to Phoenix ... returned to Ontario, Canada after a layoff, and when her Mom was battling cancer, but since has returned to AZ, where she plans to locate.

    She's a venturesome spirit and, if she may have encountered some minor difficulties alog the road, has been able to cope with them effectively.

    I grew up on a farm near here, had never travelled more than 30 miles from home ... till my Dad, due partly to health problems, relocated to the prairies when I was a teen.

    After Univ., on grad from (liberal Protestant) seminary, near the end of the Korean War I asked and was appointed as a missionary and refugee resettlement worker to go to Korea ... this kid who had neve seen an ocean spent more than 2 weeks on it: it gives one an idea of how large our world is. And the Korean War had ended in a truce in 1953 (there's still been no peace agreement) by the time that I arrived, but the refugees were having a hard time.

    I hope that you can rest easily, trusting that this precious child will be fine as he embarks on this new adventure ... as I think that there are about 999 chances in 1,000 to be the case.

    And even if the one potential difficulty should occur, quite likely it will be minor, and easily coped with.

    I've been hearing that some of our kids are breaking down in college, largely due to their having been driven everywhere, so carefully shepherded at home, and scheduled, etc. that they've found it almost impossible to cope with life on their own.

    That's tough - we need for the next generation to be innovative, self-reliant, etc. and not lacking in self-confidence ... and, from what you've said, I don't think that your young son is on such a path.

    Good wishes to both of you, as you embark on this new adventure: it's time to let him off of the leash, right?

    ole joyful

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks everyone! You all have been so helpful to me. When I typed the part about the past...it brought back some hurts and pains. I had tears in my eyes also when I thought of what had happened so long ago. I wanted to be so mean to them and never let them even see my child. I prayed that he would be born really dark-skinned with kinky hair so that they would not want to have anything to do with him...but that's not what happened. He was very fair and had straight hair then; has silky curly locks to this day. When he graduated from high school last year, his "MaMa" sent me a card thanking me for raising such a fine young man and shared how proud they were of him.

    I do feel so much better reading the replies about the trip. I just need to let go and let him be a man. I just needed to chat with other parents with teens that traveled a distance from home. We will talk before he leaves and we will make sure that he is set. It will be difficult watching that car get out of sight. Thanks everyone...you have really helped me more than you realize.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita, you are a wonderfully forgiving person who takes the high road. They say when you have been badly hurt and are able to truly forgive, your life is better for it. If he hasn't already, your son will realize your sacrifices one day and love you the more for them. I wish there were more people in the world like you. I'm so sorry your first husband was never able to stand up to his despicable parents, who probably grew up with their nasty attitudes. Who knows, maybe one day they may look back on what you've done and finally see the light!

    Yeah, trusting that your kiddo will be ok on a solo trip is t-o-u-g-h. I'm a terrible worry-wart, which has always been my nature. Thank goodness for cell phones, huh? Just remember that the probability is hugely in favor of a safe trip, and pray, pray pray!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I was going to type what Wildchild said.

    You are a great parent.

    He will be fine! I just know it!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Nita, I am glad you are not my mom. I don't think you could have handled it when I left to ride my bicycle from sea to shining sea.

    My oldest went to Korea to teach English when she was 21. The only communication we had was letters. We didn't have a computer back then.

    But I really could not complain, cause I left Germany at 18 to come to Oklahoma and get married.

    What my parents must have gone through....

    It sounds like your son has a good head on his shoulders. I would venture he will be fine. Maybe you need a diversion, like a little trip of your own during the same time?

    Good luck to both of you.

    Moni

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    He's definitely a grown-up. Bad things can happen to anyone-bad weather, roads closed, accidents,etc. I've been on my own since I was 17. Drove, took trains and buses and aiurplanes without any help.