A Thank You Letter to (My) Supportive Parents

This is a letter to (my) supportive parents and my appreciation for their support, even when we don't alway see eye to eye on what's "best for me." | https://passportandplates.com

I’m not a parent yet. I’d like to be, someday (Bae, where you at?). But now, at age 26, I’ve finally started to understand how incredibly difficult it is to be a parent, let alone a supportive one.

My parents are immigrants. Specifically, Arab immigrants. Like most (immigrant) parents, they would’ve loved to see my siblings and I become doctors, engineers or even scientists. Instead, they got me, a wannabe travel blogger, my brother, an aspiring film director, and my sister, a hospitality professional who wants to be a civil officer. Yeah – being a support parent is difficult AF.

Pictured above: Me on my first solo trip after I quit my job.

Recently a good friend of mine told me about the concept of filial piety. To oversimplify it, it means deep respect for one’s elders. Although it’s a concept most closely associated with Eastern culture, it is also prominent in Arab culture. There’s no such concept as “you’re an adult and can do whatever you want” if you’re Arab. I know it. My siblings know it. And my friends who knew me in my first 22 years of life know it.

My parents were incredibly strict and the filial piety cloud has hung over my head for a long time. I understand that my parents want what’s best for me (health, happiness, and stability) although it’s not necessarily what’s good for me (risk, adventure, and dream-chasing).

Luckily for me and unluckily? for my parents, my stubbornness and determination know no end. It may be a double-edged sword, but it is what has led me to live the life I live today.

So many of my parents’ friends like to say “I would never let my daughter travel the way you do.” It’s an unfortunate side effect of this filial piety, I suppose. Many of their children (namely those in their early 20s) don’t feel the need to fight it, either. I’ve seen this phenomenon amongst (young) adults of all nationalities. I understand what it’s like, but I’ve realized that parents will eventually come to respect you for fighting for what you want. Support doesn’t mean “without worry.” It means understanding that you need to do you, for your happiness, not theirs.

This is a letter to (my) supportive parents and my appreciation for their support, even when we don't alway see eye to eye on what's "best for me." | https://passportandplates.com

So, to my parents: thank you.

Thank you for supporting my dream to travel to the far-flung corners of the earth. Thank you for supporting me when I said I would travel solo.

Thank you for teaching me that travel is the best education.

Thank you for reminding me to know my worth and ask for more.

Thank you for supporting my ultimate decision to quit my job.

Thank you for supporting my career decisions, even though you still don’t understand how I make money as a travel blogger.

My parents may not have always been supportive of my crazy adventures. Although they pretend otherwise, I’m sure they still get anxiety every time I dig out my passport. And I’m pretty sure the day I “settle down” will be the happiest day of my mom’s life. Seriously. But despite all of this, they’re supportive of my decisions because they understand what’s best for me, even if they don’t necessarily like it.

So to my parents, and all the parents out there who support their children’s’ dreams: thank you. We appreciate you and we love you. Thank you for all that you do.


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35 thoughts on “A Thank You Letter to (My) Supportive Parents

  1. Liz @ poulet sil vous plaît says:

    I really relate to this. My parents aren’t overly enthusiastic about my travels, though that’s probably more from a financial perspective. But they respect my decision. I’m glad you have supportive parents behind you! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liz | Poulet s’il vous plaît

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yeah I understand why parents aren’t too keen on it but it’s nice that they respect your decision as do mine! 🙂

  2. Kerri McConnel says:

    Nicely written Sally. As someone who has absolutely always been able to live by the adage, “I’m an adult I can please myself what I do” I don’t ever profess to understanding what it is like to not be able to feel this way. Whilst my parents support is very important to me, my cultural background makes me a lot more free to choose my path without fear or argument. Wishing you continued success and safety as you continue to embark on what you love.

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks Kerri! I was definitely envious of some of my friends with less strict parents growing up, but my culture has made me a very stubborn and determined person which is helpful in this line of work! Happy travels to you!

  3. Susanna Kelly says:

    Awe, I LOVE this! My parents are incredibly supportive as well. It makes the world of a difference when we’re out there on our own traveling the world. Thank you for sharing. I need to go call my parents now!

  4. Sally says:

    Awww this is so lovely to read! What a heartfelt post and I think we can all be a bit more grateful to our parents. They deserve it!

  5. Christina Pfeiffer says:

    Was it worth giving up the opportunity to become a doctor or lawyer to travel? If you had to make that decision all over again, would you still do the same? It’s good to know your parents are supportive as that really helps.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      To be honest, it was never my dream to become a doctor or lawyer! I always foresaw travel in my future although I never imagined I’d be living the lifestyle I am now. I’m very fortunate that I’ve made my passion work for me 🙂

  6. Nisha says:

    Lovely thoughts.. I can quite relate what you are saying as things are pretty much the same in most Asian countries, I think. It is always good to know there are people , who are your own, on whom you depend on in times of need.

    • Sally E says:

      Yes totally! I’m sure plenty of people could relate to this post. But yes having supportive parents makes a world of difference.

  7. JustGoPlaces says:

    I get where you are coming from because Asian families have a similar concept. Your parents are definitely bucking the trend supporting you doing what you want it do. You definitely are right to thank them!

    • Sally E says:

      Totally! I’m sure lots of cultures have a very similar perspective but I’m very fortunate that my parents are supportive!

  8. Samantha Elisabeth says:

    This is the sweetest! I’m thankful for mine as well. They’re supportive even though they definitely don’t understand my love of travel or how I’m building a business online. I’ve come to the conclusion that adopting me from China was enough of an adventure to last my poor mom a life time– she’s a crazy picky eater and had the most vanilla American upbringing you can think of. Being thrown into early nineties China all by herself and living off of Cocoa Puffs broke her desire for new adventures afterwards haha.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Hahah oh goodness, I can only imagine! China can be such a culture shock, even to the most seasoned traveler! But it’s good that your parents are supportive – it really makes a huge difference!

  9. Paige Brown says:

    This was extremely sweet and something that I deeply resonate with! You’re right that support isn’t without worry, it’s doing the best for happiness! I can imagine that it is difficult as a parent to watch your child go away for long periods of time, but it’s nice to know that I have my parents’ support and that they love me enough to care! Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece. Xx

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks so much, Paige :). It really makes such a difference to have parental support, even though we don’t always see eye to eye. I’m starting to understand that more as I get older. Thanks for reading!

  10. JM says:

    You are so lucky to have such supportive parents even at your age. I believe many parents will do that even though it makes them worried but if that makes you happy then i am sure they will give it.

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks so much! Yes I’m 100% very lucky – I’m aware that many parents aren’t that supportive but it really makes such a difference

  11. Laura Harris says:

    That’s a beautiful tribute to your parents. I love how you said they can be supportive, but it doesn’t mean they’ll stop worrying. I have two little ones and can understand exactly what that means. I only hope that some day my kids will understand why I am that way, too.

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks Laura! I think kids eventually understand their parents’ perspective although I must admit that we don’t always see eye to eye haha. I’m very fortunate that they’re supportive though!

  12. Sarah K says:

    You are not a wannabe (strikeout) blogger. You are straight up a blogger!! Anyways, this is such a sweet letter to your parents. Even though you quit your job, you’re still living the American dream. Moving to another country so you can do what you want to do!

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks Sarah! Sometimes it definitely does not feel that way lol. But yes totally – I’m making my version of the American Dream work and I’m so fortunate to be living this life!

  13. Ann says:

    Very well written! So many good points. I hope to be a full-time blogger someday so Congratulations on your journey so far! My parents are immigrants too so they are all about that “be-a-doctor-or-engineer-type-of-life”. I don’t know that they would support me being a full-time blogger but I’m glad they are fine with me traveling wherever I want, solo. They like to travel as well so that’s probably why. They definitely have zero clue on how bloggers earn income. My dad doesn’t even know what a “blogger” is when I first mentioned it to him. LOL!

    • Sally E says:

      Thanks so much! HAHA I can definitely relate. My parents don’t really understand it either but they’re fine with me traveling which I appreciate. And they trust that I won’t go totally broke :p. LOL. I do have another remote job that helps me make money as well but overall it’s great to be able to work remotely. Good luck on your journey 🙂

  14. Rona Marques says:

    Having supportive parents is the best gift ever. As you said it’s not always easy. I come from an Asian background and it’s the same for me. My mom especially is way way way over protective and it’s a constant struggle for me to voice what I want because it turns into a battlefield (ok I’m exaggerating but you get the idea) I am taking baby steps towards my travel passion and hoping that one day I will be able to fulfil my dreams.
    If I say that I wanna go on a solo trip, my family will get a heart attack lol

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      AGREED. Haha I totally understand what you mean about the battlefield. My mom can be exactly the same. It was definitely a slow and gradual build up to me traveling solo haha. It went from study abroad to traveling with friends to traveling solo. It helps to pick a destination that parents see as safe and easy to travel in. You’re inspiring me to write a post! But do the baby steps and I’m sure you’ll get there sooner than you think 🙂

      • Rona Marques says:

        hehe…that’s good to hear that i’m atleast inspiring in some way lol. You’re right, baby steps is the only way forward.

  15. Anupriya Basu says:

    I totally relate to this piece! Being an Indian, I know how involved parents are with our lives, to the point of telling us constantly to settle down. So, I got married and travel now all the time!
    But, yeah it’s sweet how much they care for us all the time and whenever I am feeling low I always give a call to my mom to feel better! That connection is something I am thankful for.

    • Sally E says:

      Yessss they definitely want what they think is best for us haha. Sometimes the thoughts and reality don’t necessarily align. However I do love that they’re well intentioned and generally supportive – the parent-child connection is so special!

  16. Nuraini Arsad (Teja) says:

    Indeed, embarking on great things is terrifying, and let’s not forget it is even more terrifying to one’s parents.

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