I have always been a dreamer. Most introverts tend to live in their heads, and I’m no exception. When I was a kid I would make up fantasy worlds all the time and tell myself stories. The content of them varied, depending on whatever caught my interest at the time. I can’t call all of them travel dreams, exactly, but they all had an element of adventure and exploring. And what they also had in common was a daring heroine who went out and discovered those worlds with courage and determination.
That heroine wasn’t me. She was who I would have liked to be. She was an improved, emancipated version of me with more courage, more determination and more charm. She wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. Unlike real me, she always knew what to say, how to react, and she was unanimously admired and loved by everyone. She was perfect.
Now I guess we all wish sometimes that we were better than we are. That’s normal, and as I grew older I realised that being perfect may not be as desirable as I thought as a kid. And that, in fact, imperfect protagonists make for much more interesting stories.
What our dreams say about us
The point about those dreams, however, was that they invariably took me to some other place, doing things I had never done before, making new friends and new experiences. A lot of those things I would never have had the courage to do in real life, and sometimes I wouldn’t even have wanted to do them when I looked upon them more realistically.
And still, I dreamed of them. What does that tell us?
Maybe, even at a young age, we unconsciously know that we have to go out of our comfort zone if we truly want to change into a better person. That sitting at home in the ever-same environment may be comfy and safe, but also not very exciting. It’s certainly not something that lets us grow as human beings.
If we all know this, however, then why is it so hard to put this knowledge into practice? Why are we so reluctant to get up and move out into the world, despite our yearning for it?
Facing the fears
I don’t have a definite answer, but I could imagine that a lot of it is fear. We are afraid that, if we truly pursue our dreams, we might fail. Or worse, the reality turns out to be different from what we imagined, and it’s a disappointment. Staying home, at least we know what we have. We are safe.
However, as much as I enjoy making up stories – that’s why I’m a writer, after all – I don’t want to have adventures only in my imagination. I want to go out into the world, and do all of these things for real. Well, maybe not all of them. But some. I want to take up all the chances that offer themselves, and not be held back by fear.
Making it real
It is not easy to overcome all the little doubts that creep in whenever I seriously consider doing something out of my dreams. Like travelling long-term and living abroad. I don’t have the ultimate recipe to overcome these fears. And I am often tempted to just sit back and keep dreaming about the life I could have, rather than attempt to actually live it. It’s so easy to fall into this line of thinking: If only things were different. If only I were a bit more courageous.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
In the end, I was tired of only dreaming about things and waiting for my life to begin. That’s why I left my job to become a freelance writer. It’s why I move to Chile next year. Why I started this blog. In order to slowly, step by step, achieve that life I dreamt of. Because that goal is indeed more important than those fears.
At some point, we have to stop dreaming and take action instead. And once we do, we will come across a lot of things that can inspire new dreams. Only now, we have that little bit more courage to go and pursue them.
What are the things you dream of? Have you ever made any of them real? If not, what is it that’s stopping you? Share in the comments, maybe we can help each other achieve our goals!