A few years ago I watched the film ‘Taken’ starring Liam Neeson, which is a story about a retired CIA agent who flies to Paris to save his daughter who has been abducted on her gap year travels.
The film wasn’t the very first thing to enter my mind when my 18-year-old youngest daughter told me that she was taking a gap year and was going travel to Australia on her own, but it did feature quite highly.
Although most parents will have natural concerns about their children, especially daughters, embarking on solo trips to the far corners of the earth.
In my specific case, I am someone who has spent much of their adult working life investigating tragic and horrible offences of murder, rape and abduction and perhaps know the reality of what can go wrong in just too much detail.
So whilst I am very proud that my daughter has developed the confidence and independence to undertake such a trip, my fatherly protective instincts have been in overdrive for some weeks.
To help ease my concerns I have spoken to quite a few people, who have told me about the dos and don’ts for planned gap year trips and reassured me about the relevant safety of the major Australian cities compared to those in the UK.
However, one suggestion that hasn’t gone down well with my daughter is my offer to provide her with a GPS phone or tracking device, so that at anytime my wife and I can see exactly where she is and the route she is taking.
She first of all thought I was joking and when she realised I wasn’t, she put a disparaging item on her Facebook page inferring I have turned into Liam Neeson!
I am now in negotiation with her about how often she should contact home and various other sensible tips that will help ensure the safety of herself and her property.
At the moment I have given up on the tracking issue but hope she changes her mind in the next few weeks and realises the benefits of carrying such a small, cheap and widely available device.
Perhaps what I find most frustrating is that for the last few years I have rarely seen her without an iPod, laptop or smart phone and GPS technology is hardly any different.
Anyway, perhaps you will let me know if you think I am being overly protective and intrusive or can offer any helpful parental guidance on coping with gap years?
In the meantime I am off to the gym and the firing range just to make sure I am ready to jet off to Australia should the need arise!
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