Today marks eleven days until I travel to Vancouver. While preparing for my move I’ve had some thoughts on fulfilling dreams.
As well as researching each new place I move to, searching for a job and an apartment, I also like to get inspired about my new home. I’m always inspired initially, of course, when I actually make the decision, but sometimes the excitement can wane as the focus shifts to the realities that come with moving countries. I begin stressing about work, about apartments, about how much the flights will cost, whether I will be able to sustain myself, whether I will like the city and most importantly, whether or not I will be happy.
To keep the magic of moving alive, I normally make a Pinterest board and fill it with beautiful images of the new city. If at any moment I begin to feel overwhelmed or nervous, I will refer back to my board for a little inspiration. This morning I was looking through my Vancouver Board when I noticed that one of the images was captioned with a phrase that I passionately dislike. It’s a phrase that I often hear, not just in association with travel, but with anything that might seem arduous or out of the norm.
The caption was “I’d love to live in Vancouver one day.” On the face of it the words might seem whimsical and harmless, but look a little closer and you’ll see what I see – a lack of commitment to live out one’s dreams. ‘One day’ is not tangible. It doesn’t seek commitment, nor planning. ‘One day’ isn’t certain, serious or inspiring. ‘One day’ puts your dreams on hold. Essentially, “one day” never comes.
‘One day’, ‘Once I have money’, ‘When I get married’, ‘If I get a better job’. These ‘never phrases’ allow us to wait for things to happen instead of running out and grabbing them.
My Mother, when I was little girl, told me not to wish my life away. (Her Great Auntie Kay had told her the same when she was a little girl.) It was good advice. Instead of saying “I wish I could” the question in my house was always, “how can I?”
Even so, we’re all taught in by people in our lives; schools, parents, employers and politicians, to wait and work away, to save up and to slowly climb the ladder. Unfortunately, I think, this kind of attitude, saves the things we want for when we’re too old to enjoy them.
Alan Watts puts in well in the talk, “Playing the Game of Life”:
We don’t have to live our lives on probation or in preparation. We don’t need the world’s permission to do what we’ve always wanted. We can do it now. We don’t have to wait until we have, as Alan puts it, “impotence, a rotten prostate, false teeth and no energy.”
I made excuses about travelling myself. I knew with all my heart that I wanted to travel once I completed my law degree, but actually making it happen was challenging. I made excuses about money, until I realised there would be no amount of money that would enable me to travel. I could save all my life and never face up to the reality that I was afraid to travel alone. Once I finally faced that fear, nothing has been able to stop me.
I don’t necessarily propose that we all quit our jobs and run away, but I suggest that we at least figure out what we truly want to do. Instead of wishing and hoping, I suggest researching and planning.
I’ve had many dreams – I’ve wanted to live in Barcelona, Rome, Tokyo, Austria, Stockholm and Vienna. I’ve also wanted to develop and design an app, learn a new language and start a business. Once I really looked into these things though, (with extensive research) it became clear to me that these weren’t realities what I actually wanted (at least not right now).
I recently halved my entire New Years Resolutions list. I removed the items that I was never going to achieve, not because I don’t have money, or time, or energy, but because they’re not things that I truly want.
It’s liberating to realise that I can focus on the things that I really want to do and not waste time wishing my life away.
You may not, like me, want to move to Vancouver or become better read, but I’m sure there are things that you would genuinely like to do.
And once you know those things, I encourage you to go for it… now, because ‘one day’ never comes.
Until next time,
Safe travels xx