Drawing on ethnographic research with Lao village youth in a Lao–Thai borderland, I argue that their involvement in cross‐border day labour illuminates the interplay between the dynamics of “becoming mobile” and “growing up.” Despite the autonomyLao village youth displays in cross-border day labour, the practice is shaped by,situated within, and at the same time reproduces structural relations of inequality constituting the borderland. The social organisation of the networks of cross ‐border day labour skew the practice towards youth from ethnic Lao original households.
This has repercussions on how youth from the more marginalised settler householdsbecome mobile and assert their youthfulness. The “generationed” perspective presented in this article contributes to the situating of young people's agency in borderland mobilities, understanding agency as shaped by, and shaping the intersection of gendered life course dynamics, household histories, and the sociocultural andpolitico‐economic dynamics constituting the borderland.