Talking about your dreams can be both a great way to get support and a great way to get your every hope dashed – depending on who you talk to. You start with those people you know will support your seemingly crazy ideas. Then, when you’re bolstered with enough confidence, you mention it to those you know will shoot you down. You maybe don’t get into too many details. Or you just slip it into a conversation half hoping it will go unnoticed and therefore un-criticized. But eventually, you get to the point where you can tell anyone because you are such a believer in yourself that it really doesn’t matter what they say. This belief in yourself can fluctuate for a while, so you sometimes close up again and return to the close friends – the ones who support you no matter what. And you build up yourself again until you can face naysayers without so much as a flinch.
I’ve been through this process with a great number of ideas and continue to be surprised at how things come together when you finally bite the bullet and start putting your ideas out to the universe. Or even just out to your close friends.
When I was still in the early stages of planning my travels, my friend Diana said, “My mother lives in Wales. She’d be happy to host you for a few days at least.” Wales? It had never crossed my mind to go to Wales. But you can’t get much better than going to a country and actually living with the locals. (Which is why I’m such a fan of couchsurfing.) So I’ve added Wales to my list of destinations on my whiteboard – with Diana’s name next to it. A few weeks later she said, “You know, I have lots of relatives over in Wales – all sorts of cousins. I’m sure they’d all host you, too. You could stay for a few weeks just staying with my family!” Yep. I just might do that.
Over Thanksgiving I was at my sister’s house in Charlotte, NC. I had this idea that no one there was anything at all like me – or could even relate to my wild ideas. She lives in a completely planned community – the same six houses repeated hundreds of times, every lawn pristine, every road evenly paved, a brand new Target every 2 miles. You get the idea. But behind the facades of identical houses with identical cars parked in driveways beside identical mailboxes are actually some interesting people. So shame on me for forgetting one of my own credos: life isn’t about the stuff, it’s about the people! One such woman has lived in quite a few fascinating places and when I told her of my travel plans, she got just as excited as I did. She said, “I know people in Finland that would host you.” Finland? Again, the idea of visiting there never crossed my mind until that point. I had just met this woman maybe an hour ago. Was she really serious? I’m thinking so. So she’s on my whiteboard.
Mind you, when these two women mentioned their international connections, I had not yet turned one wall in my apartment into a whiteboard. But how am I going to remember all the places people have told me about if I don’t write them down? And as I said earlier, writing all this in a notebook just wasn’t going to cut it. I think I may need another whiteboard….