Afraid To Tell Your Friends and Family You Want To Live Abroad Or Travel For A Year?

How To handle energy-vampires naysayers

How to handle naysayers and energy-vampires when you want to travel long term

If you have your heart set on moving abroad or travelling around the world  for a few months,  a year or more, I need to warn you.

You’re friends, relatives and co-workers could be the first in line to tell you that you are making THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF YOUR LIFE! 

So how do you handle naysayers and energy vampires? 

First, congratulation! You are part of a very unique group.

There are hundreds of possible reasons why you want to take a break from your everyday life to travel or live abroad.

Whether it’s to reconnect with your Vietnamese or Scottish heritage, go back to school, write a book, start an Internet business or spend a year in France like us just because you can, YOU all have one thing in common.

YOU want more out of life. More than a nice set of dishes and a big house. More than a 2 week vacation. You want to do something BIG and less common while travelling or living abroad.

Some people call it a Gap year, or life sabbatical. This concept is nothing new. It’s been going on for ages but it’s been gaining more and more popularity around the world. 

It’s exciting and I bet you can’t wait to get started on your journey and tell everyone right?

I Have Some Bad News

Don’t kid yourself. Just because you see unicorns and rainbows on the other side of you plans, not everyone will be cracking open the champagne for you.

Some will see your plans as somewhat radical and maybe even subversive.

Don’t get me wrong, some people will be supportive. Just be prepared for push back from your naysayers who will try to point out all the reasons why you SHOULD NOT leave your life behind even for only a year.

The Naysayers and Energy Vampires.

  • Maybe it’s a loving friend or relative who says what they need to say to protect you from what they think is a big mistake.
  • Maybe it’s a co-worker who wishes they could do what you want to do but has convinced themselves that they can’t and therefore think you shouldn’t either.
  • Maybe is’t a parent or sibling who thinks you are being selfish by leaving them to travel thousands of miles away..

It’s ok. It’s their job to talk you out of it.

Whoever it is, DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. It’s only natural for them to voice their concerns. After all, you are leaving the safety of your established life behind to do something that seems out of character and even risky.

If you really want to keep the waters calm and also pursue your dream of travel then you need to learn to deal with them because their negativity can literally suck the life out of your plans leaving you with nothing but a deflated dream and full of regret. 

So today, I am going to share 10 tactful ways that I have personally used to handle Naysayers or as I like to call them “Energy Vampires” . READY?

10 Tactful Ways: How to Deal With Naysayers & Energy Vampires

1-Make Them Feel Heard: Listen

The first thing you should do when someone questions your decision or ideas is LISTEN. Chances are they are just concerned. It will not only make them feel heard but they might actually bring up a good point that you hadn’t thought of.

2-Don’t Argue

Arguments are draining and take the focus away from your main objective and goals. Instead smile, nod your head, thank them for their thoughtful input just don’t argue.

3-Let Them Go: Disengage: Avoid

Some people will not be satisfied with the fact that you won’t argue with them. These sneaky naysayers might even resort to criticizing you in non constructive ways by making you feel bad or calling you names. If you encounter this type of person and discussion just excuse yourself from the conversation. In extreme cases you may need to avoid the person all together.

4-Don’t React

Never react or show anger. If you do not react to their naysaying ways, than they have no power over you. The best you can do is agree to disagree and walk away. See point number 3 about disengaging.

5-Protect And Safeguard Your Plans

What would happen if you created a beautiful ice sculpture and left it out in the sun? It would melt right? Think of your goals and dreams to move abroad as a beautiful ice sculpture. If you tell everyone about your plans at once it can be like exposing your ice sculpture to the direct sunlight.

Instead, assume you will get a lot of negative feedback and be selective who you tell.

6-Change The Subject

This doesn’t always work but it’s worth a try. Just change the subject. It may work best with co-workers but not so well with someone very close to you like your siblings or parents.

7-Refuse Money and Help

If you are living under your parents roof, if someone is supporting you or helping you then chances are they might feel like they have a say in what you do with your life.  You have two choices,

  1. keep accepting their help: You may be obliged to listen to them.
  2. Stop accepting their help: Yes it will be scary but if you really want to do something and someone is not willing to support your ideas then maybe it’s time you show you can take care of yourself.

8-Surround Yourself With Supportive People

Have you ever felt drained of energy but after a good nap or a good nights rest you feel a renewed sense of energy like you can do anything?  Surrounding yourself with positive people or people with the same goals as you is like that. Just like negative people can suck your dreams dry. Positive people can fuel your ideas.

If you can’t find anyone around you then go online to find people. Look for groups, associations and forums where people like you hang out. Contact them and start interacting with them.

9. Let It Fuel You!

I have no idea why this works but when I have an idea or want to do something and someone tells me I can’t or shouldn’t do it I get a fire in my belly that drives me. It gives me so much satisfaction to prove someone that I can do something especially after they tell me I can’t. Maybe it has something to do with overcoming challenges. Whatever the reason, negativity as a fuel rather than a deterrent is a great way to look at naysayers and energy vampires.

10. Ask Them To Help You

What if you just straight out asked someone to help you accomplish your dream of living abroad?  It doesn’t have to be monetarily although that would be nice wouldn’t it?   Let them know how much it means to you. If they respect you and your good judgment than they might just help you. It’s not forever right?  It may even give them the satisfaction to see that you are making the right choices. Once they are involved, they have a vested interest in your success.


Just accept the facts: If you are going to do something “DIFFERENT”, something a little less safe then expect the people around you to chime in and try to change your mind.

I truly believe that if you have a dream, something that could potentially bring you a lot of satisfaction, happiness and success, you shouldn’t let naysayers stop you.

Good Luck!

Tell me your naysayer experience below in the comments

Daniel Lombardi

Hi Annie,

Following your dreams and wanting to broaden your horizons is a perfectly natural way to live and all these Naysayers and energy vampires are probably simply worried as mentioned in the article. These tips are some of the best I’ve seen so far to set at ease those who worry.

Best wishes to you, for a magnificent weekend.
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    Annie Andre

    Following your dreams IS a natural way to broaden your horizons. It’s too bad so many people don’t follow their dreams because they really do listen to naysayers.. thanks for stopping by.


Hi Annie,
It is so true what you mention here and I had that experience myself too. It was when I told everybody that I am going to follow my friend for a six month trip around the world. As you mention the reactions were different. Some people were just happy for us but some others thought that we are crazy. I did as you advise…i didn’t try to convince them about anything. It was a choice, nothing more. I was independent and I want to follow a dream for the first time in my life. The hardest was to announce the decision to my Greek parents. I have to tell you that we don’t do such things in Greece…Greeks do not just quit everything to travel for a long time..(backpacking style). So everybody though that i was an alien!
I didn’t care about everybody but only about my parents. i tried to explain them. After all it was my decision and besides their worries they accepted it and now they feel proud of me. It is a nice feeling :)
Thank you for this article. You give me the opportunity to share my experience.
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    Annie Andre

    Oh Lenia,
    I didn’t know that about Greek Culture but it makes sense. I’m so glad your parents are not accepting of your choices. I wonder if it was just that they were worried that you were making a bad choice but now that they see that you are safe and sound that they feel like they can relax an trust you..

    Thank You for sharing. I love to hear these stories of obstacles that other people like you have encountered. I think it helps other people too..


Hi Annie,

I actually am living abroad and it IS very interesting.

Learning a new language is perhaps the biggest challenge to face. Without the language skills it is difficult to fully appreciate your new country.

I liked everything you wrote in your post and it occurred to me that many of the guidelines you listed apply to all situations in life.

Arguing is of little use 95% of the time. And it does not make relationships work better.

I received support in my move from one family member and others were obviously disappointed but they did not try to interfere too much.

Its always a bad feeling when you know that someone is against your plans.

I like that you are able to take the energy from the naysayers and turn it into a positive.
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    Annie Andre

    Hello David,
    thank you for your input. the language thing can be a bit of a hurdle but it can be so fun to learn a new language.

    i’m so glad that you at least received the support of one family member. It really is a bad feeling when family members don’t support you. This happened to me when i was 18 and decided to move to Japan. I understand their concerns and i wonder how i will react to my own children wanting to move abroad when they are older. hmmm.


Hi Annie
I found you through Adrienne so hope you don’t mind me visiting!
I moved abroad with my husband 4 years ago, we left UK to live on a Greek island and when we first told family and friends they thought we were MAD!! and they tried to tell us all the bad things that could go wrong so you post made me smile as I could relate to all of it.
We still moved of course and have not regretted one moment of it :)
Have a great week
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    Annie Andre

    I love stories like this. I think had you not gone and listened to everyone you would have always had a regret or that big question in the back of your mind.. “what if i had gone” Even if your trip failed and you had to return to the UK you could at least have the satisfaction to say that you tried. Besides, Greece is not that far from the UK right?

    ps thanks for stopping by. I love Adrienne and her fabulous dog Kayla.

Sunil Prajapat

Hey Annie. i always wanted to live abroad for a better future. but my parents are really very possessive about me and dont want me to get lost in this crazy world. can you beleive that? well you have mentioned some of the best methods. will give a try to it.
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    Annie Andre

    All parent i think are very posessive. I think it’s only natural that your parents want to protect you. The best you can do is follow your heart and do what makes you happy. THey will understand in time. Good luck to you Sunil.


Hi thank you for the advice.
I’m putting off telling my mum my immigration for Canada arrived and i plan to go next year with my partner and children. Im so nervous she will have a break down. She knows it was on the cards but now its really happening I’m dreading breaking her heart….
help :-(


    Annie Andre

    This is such a tough spot to be in. Be brave and just be honest with her. Don’t react if she takes it badly. Listen to her concerns and let her know you understand her concerns and her feelings but also let her know that your mind is made up and that you would like her support. Good luck..


HI Annie,

After visiting my husband’s birth country of Vietnam, I absolutely loved it. I came back with the sense that this Canadian life we are living just spins us in circles all the time. I found myself asking myself why I owned a $200 coffee maker and fancy dinner plates. Why was I busting my butt to work at a job I don’t really enjoy, only to buy more crap, cause it’s what everyone does…. So after much consideration and pro-ing and con-ing, we decided that a movie to Ho Chi Minh is in order.

My parents and siblings are devastated. Their first reaction was “how could you do this to me? How could you take your kids away from us?” Although reading your blog is 2 weeks too late and you can’t go back and change how you delivered the news, it’s still not too late to repair and recover. As the dust settles, I certainly plan on applying these 10 rules. I’m hoping that this smooths out some of the drama, so that they can muster the courage to show my 10 and 5 year old that they are excited for this new life they are about to live. Thanks for this blogpost. It saved me.

    Annie Andre

    It’s an impossible situation to be in; when our desires, dreams and the things that can potentially make us happy means leaving loved ones behind.

    I truly believe that trying to convince others who have their mind set that what you are doing is wrong (probably for selfish reasons), is futile.
    Maybe your best argument to calm the waters is to talk from the point of view that this is something that you really want to do and try. This is something that will make your happy and you need to experience and without it you feel like you will have a regret in your heart the size of mount Rushmore.
    It’s harder to argue with that point of view than trying to convince them that expensive coffee makers and dinner plates just don’t do it for you anymore.

    Good Luck Ally,
    Annie André recently posted..51 Reason Why You Need To Pack Vaseline In Your Bags on your next tripMy Profile

CJ Thapa

Dear Annie,
Helpful article but it’s hard to do so because i’ve been grown up in Nepali culture and background and even harder because i’m a girl.

Smiles :)

Annie Andre

Hi Megan,
thanks for your thoughts. Number 9 “let it fuel you” is also my favorite way to deal with energy vampires. It’s helped me accomplish a lot in my life.

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