Thursday, 26 September 2013

Painting Dreams

"I dream my painting and I paint my dream"

After being at home for around three months and having a wonderful time with my family and friends, I am finally (am I allowed to use that word?) at the beginning of a brand new trip.  I've decided not to tell everyone what my plans are this time.  Partly because the concept of a plan is almost impossible to me, partly because I've changed this "plan" about five times in the past few weeks alone, and partly because I think it will be more fun for people to guess and be excited and surprised about where I check into on my Facebook page [plug - follow me]!

My first stop was London.  I met Katie; a woman who I had met in Liberia five months earlier.  We had a great day in the sun (sun in England in late September? Yes!) catching up on how many changes had come about in our lives since we last saw each other.

She told me something which really stuck with me.

When I dreamed up the idea of travelling overland through West Africa [link] I posted in some of the countries Couchsurfing groups telling them my plans about reaching that country in a certain month and asking for advice.  She read my post in the Liberia group (living there as a working expat), looked at my young age and how hypothetically I had written the post and, as a very experienced traveller herself, decided not to reply because I would never make it.  Then around six months later she received a couch request... from me.  I would arrive in the capital city of Liberia in one weeks time.
She said I had really surprised her and proven her completely wrong.

Of course, I know more than anyone how difficult it was to travel through West Africa, but I've never thought of it as an achievement until Katie told me that story.  It was an achievement because I had dreamed it, planned it, and actually made it happen.

I'm telling this story merely to explain the reality behind a dream.  Yours may be small or big, regular or unique, believable or unbelievable, possible or impossible.  But it is yours and it is only you who can make it happen.

There will be challenges.  The biggest for most people is having certain responsibilities.  Mine used to be doubt, because I knew of nobody else who had done what I wanted to do.  Now, apart from feeling so adventurous yet finding it so difficult to leave my family and friends at home, my biggest challenge is being told over and over again that what I'm doing isn't the right way to live, isn't sustainable, is too dangerous, or that I "will have to settle down one day"... each time having to explain my reasons and thinking, knowing that most people will won't ever understand it or agree.  But I can tell you one thing for free... an absolute truth... my own proven fact... if you want something enough then you can make it happen.

So this is from me (and Vicent Van Gogh) to you:
"I dream my painting and I paint my dream".