To not want 13 year old to trek in Northern India/Pakistan border with dad?(211 Posts)
Ex-H is moving off to travel in Northern India for 6 months. We split when our DC, now 13, was 6 months old though he's remained in and out of DC's life. Ex is struggling with major guilt about leaving DC's life for long periods of time to live in other countries. But now he would like to go off to India to live for a minimum of 6 months and he would like our DC to join him this summer for 7 weeks in and around the India/Pakistan border (trekking/living out in the open, under the stars). I am having great difficulty feeling all right with this. Ex does not know India or this area at all. He is not living a mainstream life whilst out there. He plans on roughing it, backpacking, trekking, camping, crashing here and there. It's a very unstructured life for a 13 year old. That's my opinion. Dad can do this. That's fine. But I think our DC is still too young to go away for that length of time to such a far off place. The idea is to live a life without technology, so our contact would be practically nil!
Thoughts? Experiences? Insight? Thank you!
They do have the internet out there.
My only concern (apart from the long time apart) would be the India / Pakistan border. Not a place I would like to be a Westerner at the moment.
I can think of far better places to experience travelling. I also don't think wild camping up there is that sensible. Plenty of other forms of accommodation.
No way! He's not his mate on a gap year together! He's a child in a potentially unstable region. Nope, nope, nope!
yes if it was europe then fine
its a really dangerous part of the world (my dh has to go there a couple of times a year for business reasons)
It sounds an incredible experience but one I think I'd be happier for my DS to have when he is 16 or older.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at Wagah.
The FCO advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of (i) travel within the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, (ii) travel by air to the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, (iii) travel between these two cities on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, and (iv) travel within the region of Ladakh. The tourist destinations of Phalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg fall within the areas to which the FCO advise against all travel. See Local travel and Terrorism.
If he's planning to live a life without technology he might find himself on his own with that one. Most villages have internet and IME most of the people dh meets are glued to their phones!!
If your ex was familiar with the area and you trusted him to be able to put his 13 year old's safety first then it would be a great adventure.
This sounds more like a dad who wants to look cool by taking his son somewhere offbeat and potentially dangerous but also way outside his son's comfort zone. Not cool.
Why not tell him to go somewhere more tried and tested but still adventurous? Thailand/Vietnam/Europe by train. Lots of backpacking opportunities for them to bond that safer for a first time out together.
Great idea, I hear the Taliban are really friendly. Incidentally, if they cop any cheap heroin, you can PM me with the details and I'll swing by and pick some up.
I wouldn't allow it. If he wants to get a closer bond with his child, there are better ways of doing it then disappearing to India for seven weeks. How about camping in the UK?!
What does your DC think about this? Does he/she want to do it? Do they have the skills to live like this or are they going to get homesick, hungry, overwhelmed with dad's 24/7 presence when really this person is almost a stranger? What happens if they decide they hate the food, are fed up being smelly, going to the loo in the bushes etc etc?
Sounds like an amazing experience however (and it pains me to say this!) it's not appropriate at your DC age. Particularly the relaxed way your ex is planning it to be. This isn't backpacking through Europe, it is potentially very dangerous. I have a friend who lived in India, admittedly it is different for females but she said it can be a scary place, she had a number of problems and would not want to return.
If he's read 'a short walk in the hindu kush' and is thinking of repeating it, tell him things have changed a bit since then :-/
Not a bloody chance.
16 would be the youngest I'd even possibly consider this. And even then, not in these circumstances. How dare he?
I note that your Ex's 'feeling guilty' about basically putting his own life plans first doesn't actually translate into trying to make a difference by putting your DS's life first for a change... oh no, instead your DS is welcome to leave HIS life/friends/family/plans for the summer to trek along beside Dad and be HIS companion on yet another one of HIS adventures.
I would suggest to Ex that a better way of making up to his son for not being there would be... To be there. To stay in the UK, near his son, for the summer. To be in HIS life. To meet his friends. To be a support and presence in HIS life. To show that he can enjoy and put first being in his SON'S life instead of making it damn clear he has more fun elsewhere.
And perhaps not to ask you, after everything he's already asked of you, ie bring up my child while I fuck about like a completely free agent, to then have to go without your son for almost two months, not have him for the summer and also endure all that time worrying about whether or not he is safe (and he won't actually be safe there. He will probably end up coming back ok, but no, it isn't safe).
You won't see him for dust on that one though by the sounds of it. What a selfish, childish man.
I'd have far more of an issue with the location than the rough camping. That's really not a safe part of the world right now. Seven weeks seems a really long time for a thirteen year old to be living that way too, maybe two or three weeks rough camping in Europe or North America would be more realistic.
I'm going to go against the grain somewhat and say it sounds like a wonderful, life-changing plan. But it depends on the maturity of your 13-year-old.
If he's talking about Ladakh, it is not a dangerous area, to my knowledge (it wasn't when I was there a few years ago). On the contrary, it is a beautiful, peaceful moonscape. Your son would gain a huge amount from learning about the ancient kingdoms and about the controversy concerning the history of India/Pakistan, the Dalai Lama and Tibet. It would be a great change in lifestyle, diet, appreciation of others around you, culture, landscape. He would remember it for the rest of his life. I took my brother travelling when he was a similar age, though not for so long.
Perhaps a shorter amount of time would be better, if you're concerned? Your ex is a parent, presumably he's responsible, and if he has been in the area for a few months he should be clued up as to what's sensible and what's not. I doubt they'll be pitching tents themselves as it is still very cold at that time of year, so he might mean they will be staying in big yurts with locals and other travellers (which most people do). But your son may not enjoy all elements of the trip: altitude sickness is a possibility and journeys are very long (albeit rewarding if you enjoy the scenery... But would he?)...
Obviously this all depends on whether we're talking about the same area. It would be a true adventure, nice bonding time for them and stuff that memories are made of in a land not many people travel to, that's cut off by snow for much of the year and inhabited mostly by monks...
I agree; no problem at all with camping under the stars etc, but NOT around the Pakistan border. I wouldn't go there myself right now.
WTAF - Did he draw up a list of the world's most unstable, anti-western regions and pick one at random.
IMO he should either change his plans to take DS to a safer place or not take DS.
The India/Pakistan border is not the place to be right now. Amazed your ex is considering it.
Other than that, though, I would be fine with it - but I was a back packer in my Yoof and travelled far from the places 'approved' by the Lonely Planet guide.
Maybe try and find a compromise - 2 weeks in Wales in a tent is not it. Loas, other parts of the Indian himalaya, Vietnam?
I would have no issue with going treckking during the summer hols. I would actually love to see my dcs doing that.
I do have a massive issue with WHERE your ex is planning to go. The area is too unstable imo.
No, I would not allow this, the area is far too politically volatile for safety.
Also the age of the child, how would a 13 year old cope alone if the father was seriously injured/killed/sick, does the child speak the local language, understand the culture etc.
The whole plan is fraught with hazard.
As an aside, I was trekking near Everest in 1998. I was able to use an internet cafe in a village miles from the nearest road. And that was nearly 20 years ago.
Parts of Northern India - Dharamasala, Rishikesh - all good areas to explore culture and spirituality.
But - if he wants to be a part of his son's life, going away for 6 months to India is not the way to do it.
I've recently travelled in that region. It is fantastic, friendly people, beautiful scenery etc. Nothing there for a child at all and only a place to go if you know and are happy with the risks. I'd actually be more wary about rough travel in Europe for a host of reasons but that's not the point here. For better or worse, its a newsworthy region.
If he wants to take him travelling there are easier parts of the world to introduce his son, that are cheap and interesting and safe. South east Asia or central america for instance.
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