I rewatched the movie Taken the other night and it scared the poop out of me. I’m sure some parents watch it and think, “Maybe that could happen to my kid.” I watch it and know it can happen to my daughter. I know it because I was that girl. I was that girl, but I got lucky. It all comes down to luck, when you’re that naïve, but think you know better.
When I was 24 I decided to quit the job I hated, buy a plane ticket and a Eurail pass to Paris, a Let’s Go Europe Book and just see where I would end up, by myself. I did this for four months. I’m surprised I can still call my mom and that she didn’t just go into cardiac arrest right then and there. They did give me a calling card and asked me to call from every city I visited, but that was it. I guess I was too stubborn for them to hold me back, so they improvised. They did whatever they could to keep in contact with me.
While I was there, I got robbed at knifepoint in Amsterdam and then lost my hostel room that same night. I was almost locked in a train compartment with two, aggressive Sicilian men but saved by the conductor, who kicked them off the train for not having tickets. I stayed in a hostel by the train station in Rome, which was burglarized, during my stay. I got food poisoning, but had nowhere to stay because it was Liberation weekend in Rome, so I had to ride a night train to Florence, sick as a dog. I slept on trains for 20 nights. I trusted new strangers in every city, as I was alone and had to make new friends.
My fear: my daughter will get wind of my life choices and use them to her advantage. I have a journal full of stories somewhere that I will burn before her 18th birthday. Maybe I should go burn it now, but I’m too lazy to go look in the boxes for it.
What if she decides to do what I did (and this was only one of many sketchy things I partook in during my youth) and isn’t one of the lucky ones. I thought I ended up okay because I had good intuition and logic. Maybe I was just lucky.
Well, I’ve orchestrated a plan. Life is different now. We have cell phones with GPS. My husband and I will let her go, but only if we visit the same city at the same time. We will promise to give her the itinerary for our day, so she can avoid the places we are going and she will be required to check-in with us.
Fat chance. I keep saying “let”, but she’ll probably end up just like me and we’ll have no choice in the matter. Sometimes, I wish I was a bit more naïve about this stuff. I think I would get more sleep.