About travel and dreams

About travel and dreams

How can I live out my dreams? How do people make their dreams come true? I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and even though they are something so personal and intangible, I thought there has to be some sort of logic to it.

My dreams so far have been tied to travelling. Surprising, I know. When I was very young, I was picturing myself travelling to all these distant and exotic places. Even in my night dreams I was exploring some unknown place. Then, growing up came with a reality strike: limitations. My plan was to travel the world when I retire, so I would work all my life to make it happen. That’s how far it was, realistically.

Consciously or not, I worked on making it happen. I saw in everything an opportunity to travel, no matter how out of hand it was. And I didn’t realize how much effort I had put into it, because it didn’t bother me. The limitations started to break down and all the dreams, one by one, came up front. I noticed I don’t night-dream about travelling anymore, I’m not sure when it stopped. I’m also writing this from Singapore, where I just moved, and it was my latest and most challenging travel dream.

Defining a dream

light bulb

I think the first important thing about dreams is to identify them. “Dreams” are marketed like something big, outstanding, that not everybody can achieve. I think that’s totally wrong. A “dream” is a deep and personal wish and making it reality would make the person feel happy and satisfied. Dreams are so personal that should never be compared to other people dreams. And there is no such thing as a “small dream”, if it’s too small, you don’t care about it and it doesn’t make a difference. I think dreams are actually addressing a need, that helps one to live a better life.

Everyone has a different path, and so the dreams are totally different and incomparable. Something that for me is a dream, to live in Singapore, for a local is a given. Another example, my weight has been constant since high school, and I was never on a diet or went to the gym. For me this is normal, but for some is a dream they are working on. Just because someone else lives the dream you have, doesn’t make it less worthy. Their journey is about something else.

Starting to work on it

Shop window ads

Back to my Singapore example, it took me a while to identify what my dream is about and I was very satisfied when I came to the conclusion: “I want to move to Singapore, live a comfortable life there and doing a job I’m good at.” Very specific, huh? This was back in 2014, in Bucharest.

I didn’t expect people to understand me at this point. And judging by the reactions, many didn’t see it as practical either. But it sounded totally doable in my mind. I apply for jobs, smash the interviews and get an offer. Right…

I applied to literally hundreds of jobs and never got a reply. Then it became obvious to me that I’m too “narrow”, so I started applying for jobs in all East Asia, and not only matching my current job. I did get a few interviews, which I failed after the first round. And not even in Singapore.

Breaking the routine

coffee and cupcakes

In 2015 I was already frustrated that I can’t make it happen. I was putting in the effort but something was missing, and I couldn’t pinpoint it. So among the many job applications I was doing daily for Asia, I did one for UK. The only one. I didn’t even read the full description, I just attached my cv and clicked send. And I got that job. Now that seems like a reason to celebrate, but for me it was even more puzzling: “I wish so much to move to Singapore, why do I have to move to London?”

I believe that the best and most rewarding opportunities come to you from a failure or an activity you don’t really enjoy or feel like doing. Maybe because I’m a hopeless optimist. So I was sure that “London” will get me to “Singapore” and I took it.

I moved to London and, of course, continued with my totally useless habit of chasing a job. Because it will happen any day now! For more than a year, I lived with the mentality that I’m almost there and I should be ready when the opportunity comes. But this was wrong, I was so focused on what is to come, that I was completely neglecting where I was.

Giving up

Snow and trees

In 2017, I was already so tired of trying and I decided to give up. For the past years I thought of every possible way, ask everyone, try everything, and nothing worked. It was just not possible for me. So I started to think that maybe this was about me growing up and learn how to let go. I had to let go of Singapore, that is what I wanted, and enjoy London, which “was given” to me.

No matter how weird my reasoning may seem, it did make me enjoy London more, appreciate my environment and friends and see things that I had right under my nose and I was such a dummy to not notice. I was very proud of my new discovery and believed I had it all sorted out now.

Nice ending? Wait for it…

The choice

light bulbs

Beginning of 2018, I find out about company’s plans to expand to Asia. Instant thought: “This is it!” Every time I was hearing “we will have someone in Singapore”, I was completing the sentence in my mind with “and that someone is me!”. I was so picturing it that I was afraid I would say something out loud. Did I mention I was a new hire and how unreasonable a transfer would seem at that point?

It was confusing again. I had already decided to let it go and I was feeling comfortable with my life and new plans. Giving it a try would mean to get out of comfort zone again, with small chances of actually making it happen. Something to add up to the other failed attempts. “Why would this come up now? To mess up with me?” But then I realized how excited I got even to think about it, meaning I was so not over it.

It still required lots of work, moods up and down, maybe the most challenging year I had. But it became more and more clear that my dream was going to happen. Exactly the way I wanted it.

Living a dream

Gardens by the bay Singapore

So yep, moved to Singapore, I made my dream happen. It doesn’t feel like continuous happiness, but from time to time I get all excited thinking “This is my reality now! How cool is this?” Right from my mind, into reality.

While chasing this dream, it became clear to me that making a dream happen is not about a task like getting a job. The task will come after getting into the right mindset. The real challenge is becoming the person who can make the dream happen, being it moving to a new country, marrying, buying a home, anything. Because at the moment of dreaming, nobody is. The dream is about how the “future you” can be like. And that may take years, effort and experiences to get into shape. I really believe dreams are tight to one’s personal development and they are steps to help each of us grow.

Happy dreams and travels!

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