The e-mail home is an essential part of every traveller’s journey, as when intrepid teenagagers or first time travellers set off to explore deepest darkest Peru it can be a nail-biting time for worried parents.

I was recently gifted a hilarious book called Don’t Tell Mum: Hair-Raising Messages Home From Gap-Year Travellers. It’s a collection of anecdotal emails from first time and inexperienced travellers illustrating that sending an e-mail home doesn’t always have the reassuring affect we might hope;

  • ‘I have become the chief slayer of insects, having fought cockroaches in my sleeping bag, wash bag, pants and hairbrush. I’m indestructible ? though dysentery wasn’t great. Had a nasty run-in with a leper carrying a python this morning. I am now slightly worried about how contagious leprosy is. Hope you are all well and disease-free.’
  • ‘Yesterday afternoon was spent fruitlessly piranha-fishing from the canoe, before Victor insisted that we all jump into the muddy brown water ? apparently it didn’t matter that we’d just been tempting man-eating fish with pieces of meat, and the water was ‘perfectly safe apart from the fish that swim up your rectum.’
  • ‘HEY Mum and Dad. Don’t fret, cos I am still alive, and you always said that was the main thing. I should probably mention that I am not pregnant. I am also not yet a heroin/coke/ecstasy addict. I have definitely ‘found myself’ and also made a huge difference to the village where I am staying. I have lots of good intentions, like building wells and libraries. I have given up smoking. I have started writing poetry. I have found God. I miss you and love you all so, so, so much and can’t wait to see you. Love Tasha. PS I may have been shopping, courtesy of Daddy’s Mastercard.’

I’m sure we’ve all done the same; an e-mail to mum and/or dad when things don’t go quite as expected, my moment came when in a panic I contacted my mum to tell her that my hair straighteners were not working when I arrived in Canada at the tender age of 19 for a semester abroad … what my mum was going to do 3,000 miles away I don’t quite know and needless to say she never replied to my message.

Extracts taken from here. To read more & buy the book click here.