Note: This is the second of five blog posts I’m writing about the lessons I learned during my family’s epic 6-week road trip. If you missed the first one, you can catch it here.
About a year ago, Josh and I started dreaming about taking our family on a road trip across North America. We’d never done anything like this. Most of our family trips involved places you could drive to in one day or, if it took longer than that, we flew. We never stayed longer than a week, as that seemed the appropriate length of time to be absent from work and responsibilities.
So what prompted this extended excursion? Three big factors:
Factor #1: Residual pandemic wanderlust
We’d spent much of the pandemic watching travel videos on YouTube, dreaming of the time we could leave our home again. We hatched some wild plans. We dreamed of moving overseas, becoming ex-pats, living in tropical locations. While we never turned those ideas into reality, dreaming them paved the way for this trip.
Factor #2: My recent Canadian citizenship
I was born in Canada, but never lived there. In my forties, I decided to see if just being born in a country gave you citizenship. (In Canada, the answer is yes!) I filled out some forms, paid a fee, waited two long years (apparently Canada’s government is no more efficient than America’s, darn it!), and just when I thought my application was buried on some civil servant’s desk, I came home to find a slim brown envelope from the Canadians in my mailbox. I was in.
I started thinking about Canada. It was a big country. It was cold. There were many parts I would not want to visit. But there was that southwestern corner with the temperate climate. I started dreaming about British Columbia and Vancouver Island. I watched more YouTube videos. I became convinced that this was a place I wanted to see.
Factor #3: Adventure
This was the biggest reason we took this trip. Josh and I wanted more adventure in our lives. We’re very responsible middle-aged people. We live in the suburbs and drive a Honda Odyssey. We have three kids.
And I think you get to a point in life where you’ve done all the responsible adult things and you think… Is this all there is?
Call it a mid-life crisis, gaining wisdom, or waking up. It doesn’t matter.
The point is: We wanted to live more.
These three factors illustrate a big lesson I learned from this trip:
To turn a dream into reality, you just need to point yourself in one direction.
We all have dreams. Some become reality, but many of them don’t. And that’s okay. In one lifetime, no one can achieve everything their mind can dream up.
But if we want to turn some of those dreams into reality, the first step is to simply point ourselves—like a compass—toward whatever it is we want.
So I ask you… What are some of your dreams?
Having a deeper relationship with your spouse?
Starting a new career?
Taking a trip with your best friends?
Playing in an orchestra?
Perhaps your dreams aren’t so defined. (I know mine often aren’t!) Sometimes our dreams express themselves more like a feeling or way of being.
Those types of dreams might sound more like:
It doesn’t matter whether your dreams have specific, definable outcomes or if they are more fuzzy and feeling-like. Just start dreaming. Start thinking. Go down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos about ideas that excite you.
This was how my Canadian adventure came to be. We dreamed it, pointed ourselves toward it, and then started taking the steps that naturally emerged to make it a reality.
Josh negotiated remote work. We found an Airbnb on Vancouver Island, we bought a small trailer to haul our camping equipment, and through a series of serendipitous circumstances, we found a house sitter to watch our pets and mow our lawn for free. (I know! I still can’t believe it!)
It all starts with a dream.
So, my friends… What are your dreams? I’d love for you to email me personally at [email protected] and let me know. I’ll be cheering for you as you point yourself toward them!