Is this normal?

In the next few months (even days), I’m going to embark on one of the biggest adventures of my life- a year abroad as part of my University course, and actually next week I’m off to work in Italy for 6 weeks as an Au Pair. I’ve never ever been abroad alone or on a plane/in an airport alone. But, what I’m finding is that I’m missing my Dad (who died a few years ago) a lot & wondering what he’d think about me going abroad, I also find myself wishing more than anything that he could be here with me, to visit me in Italy & in Switzerland during my year abroad and I get quite emotional and upset & then worry that I’m being stupid/silly about everything. My Dad was the only person who really knew that my dream was to travel & he promised me (only a few months before he died) that one day he’d get better & travel with me so now I’m actually 6 days away from my first trip abroad alone, I feel as though I can’t be totally excited because he’s not here.
Another thing I’m anxious about is that because when I work as an Au Pair, I’ll be living with an Italian family (a Mum, a Dad & 2 young children) & I’m worried that I’ll find it strange having a man/Father around, especially as it took me ages to get used to the fact my Dad was never coming back & a while to accept my Mum’s new boyfriend.
If anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Hi Em - wow, what an exciting time ahead, a big adventure approaching and maybe feels a little scary too.
First of all - travelling alone - you will be absolutely fine, the fact that you’re heading on this adventure tells me that you are a confident and able young lady.
The airport will be a doddle, get yourself checked in, then get a good magazine and a big bag of sweets. I tend to head to the gate as early as I can, so there is no last minute panic when they call your flight. - it’s a great opportunity to sit and people watch too!
Maybe tell the airport staff that you are travelling alone and they can keep an eye out for you and make sure you are okay… and write down your flight numbers, so you are calm and have all the details readily to hand.
Once you arrive in Italy, follow the crowd…get your bag, through customs (all straight forward) and I am guessing your Italian family will be meeting you there.

It is completely understandable that you are missing your Dad more at this time - this is a big life event going to spend time in Italy/Switzerland and something you had talked about with your Dad. It is most definitely not silly or stupid feeling this way, it is very normal.
Try to think of these trips as fulfilling your dream… your Dad knew this was your dream and he would be so proud that you are achieving it.
Maybe try and make some special memories whilst you are in Italy and Switzerland, memories that you know your Dad would have liked too.
One idea could be spending a little allocated time each day writing a diary or a journal…p’raps just before you go to bed each night…it could help you reflect on the new and exciting things you have done that day and it may sound silly…but almost share them with your Dad…just a thought and something to think about maybe, that could help.
Regarding living with the Italian family, I think that will all be fine too, the Dad of the children you will be caring for is their Dad and it will be a very different relationship to your Dad and your Mum’s boyfriend.

I can imagine your concern, this is a very big and brave journey you are going on, you should be very proud of yourself that you have the confidence to do this.

Good luck on your travels, I am sure you will have a brilliant time once you get there and let us know how you get on …
Arrivederci :slight_smile:

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Thank you very much for the reply with all the advice about travelling alone and about my Dad. I really appreciate you taking the time to write all of that because I found it quite reassuring. I’m looking forward to going to work in Italy and also my year abroad. I suppose it will be really scary to start with, especially the flying part, but I’m definitely going to try to do lots of stuff my Dad would like.
Many, many thanks again.


Hi EmBeth,
Your fears are completely normal, I lost my father when I was only 15 it took a long time for me to get over his loss. I had the same thoughts and fears as you do, would he be proud of my achievements? would approve of the things I did? or my wife? I Joined the royal navy at 18 and my father was in my thoughts on my passing out parade and throughout my life, I too wished he could have been there to share my achievements, in a way he was, in my thoughts and in my heart looking down smiling proudly. Even now many years after his death I sit and wonder what he would have said or thought about what I am currently doing. The pain eases but you never forget your dad.

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Many thanks for your reply, that was very kind of you.

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Hi Em, just wondering how you are getting on in Italy…? Hope all is going well :slight_smile:

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Unfortunately, working as an Au Pair in Italy didn’t work out for me & I returned home :frowning: which I’m very disappointed about. But, I am hoping that my Year Abroad which starts in September when I’ll be studying in Italy & then in Switzerland will be a better experience for me.
Thank you for asking though :slight_smile: