For years we’ve described it as our “Dream Trip.”
Lots of people have one. It’s the trip that you’ll take one day, when there’s more time, more money, less stress, less school. The problem with big dreams is that more often than not they’re never realized.
Goals, we’re taught, are attainable: Work hard and you’ll achieve them.
They’re the wishy-washy, pie-in-the-sky intangibles that hang around for years until they turn into regrets.
It doesn’t start out that way.
As kids, our dreams seem bright and completely possible (one day you’ll fly to the moon, be a cowboy and drive a firetruck!). It’s only with the passage of time and the realities of mortgages and car loans that the big ones begin to falter.
I’ve been there.
Ten years ago I was a lawyer at a Bay Street law firm. I left that – and the paycheque it came with – behind to pursue a fulltime career as a freelance travel writer. I’ve never been happier.
It’s a lesson I want my children to learn a lot earlier than I did.
More than a decade ago Ish and I talked about “one day” taking a trip around the world.
When the kids came we immediately began to see the benefits the trip could have on their lives but we didn’t know when or how to make it happen. Five years ago we got an unexpected push. Ish was offered a chance to sign up for a “4 for 5″ program at work.
For 4 years his work would withhold a portion of his pay and in the 5th year he’d get it back as pay…but wouldn’t have to come in to work. My decision to become a full-time freelance writer meant that I could work from anywhere.
We wanted to see the world as a family and now we had a date when it could happen – 2011.
For four years we would mention the idea to the kids but there was little real interest.It’s really only over the last year that they’ve begun to get it.
At 6 and 8 the fact that they are about to set out on an adventure that will change all of our lives forever is a hard thing to grasp.
Instead we focused on the little things.
We called it “The Wish List”
On it we all write down our dreams. They can be crazy, wild, tame or lame. They are the things we’ve always thought of doing and the things we never thought we could.
My oldest son wants to learn to surf. My youngest wants to see (okay… hug) a penguin. I want to learn to cook and dance (tango would be awesome!). My husband wants to visit friends he’s made around the world and learn to ride a motorcycle. Dinner conversations revolve around changes to the list. “Will we still get to see the pyramids?” ” Do they have chicken nuggets in Australia?”
Often the answer is “I don’t know” and so far the kids are okay with that.
I love that this trip requires us to leave behind the possessions that really don’t matter, grab a couple of bags and set out to meet our dreams head on in far flung places and with only each other for support and company.
Now that the trip is only a few weeks away. The list is growing longer for the kids and shorter for me.
More than anything I want us to be safe and healthy but I also believe that we will learn by having to overcome adversities and come back from the trip as more compassionate human beings.
When it’s over we’re hoping to have strengthened our relationships with each other, written journals full of stories and filled cameras with memories that celebrate our decision to live our dreams.
With every day that passes our excitement grows, and sharing it with you only fuels that. Thanks for reading and sending us your good vibes.
We can’t wait to get out there and begin to live the dream.
Is there something you dream of doing? On your own or with your kids? What’s holding you back?