“I want to live my dream, but…”
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Over and over again people write to say they want to do xyz, but there’s always a reason. An excuse, if you will, why they can’t.
Yes, there are valid reasons why people may not be able to live their dream. Maybe they are responsible for taking care of elderly parents or maybe their health isn’t what it used to be. There are reasons why some people simply can’t achieve a dream.
Justin over at The Great Family Escape wrote a great post a while ago about that very idea. He says, “People lose their jobs. They lose their spouses. They lose their children. Kids are born to parents that can not care for themselves, and parents have children that will always need constant care. People get hurt. People get cancer. People get stuck in situations that, despite all their hard work and mindfulness, they simply could not control. Life just happens.”
For those people, there is a real reason why they can’t live their dream. For most, there are excuses.
I know many people look at us and our journey to the ends of the world and feel it just happened. It’s like the journey was handed to us on a silver platter and we didn’t have to work to make it happen at all.
That’s simply not the way it was.
Although the financial side of our journey was fairly easy to figure out, there were other aspects that were anything but. Each and every one of those things could have been enough to cause us to call it all off.
In order for us to get on that plane to Alaska, it was a solid year of non-stop, dedicated, all-consuming preparation.
We made the decision to rent out our house while we traveled, but to do that the bathroom needed to be remodeled and garage door fixed. The sprinkler system required an upgrade. The barn needed to be painted and the siding repaired.
The boy’s tree house had to be disassembled to avoid liability should a kid fall out.
We needed a website but couldn’t afford to pay anyone to do it for us. John needed to learn how to build it and keep it updated from the road.
How does one manage finances while on the road? I spent hours researching and set up online banking and auto pay for each and every bill that came in.
And all the time, try to maintain some sense of normality.
The boys attended classes at a local elementary school and played on soccer teams. They took swim lessons at the YMCA and Daryl joined the swim team. I headed out to a local high school every morning, where I taught Special Education classes. John became our stay-at-home dad, working hard to keep things together as we dismantled our lives.
It was a whirlwind of activity, but each piece of the puzzle was critical. We couldn’t – simply couldn’t – take our boys up to Alaska and not be prepared. No detail was too small; nothing could be overlooked. Every piece of gear we carried with us was essential.
We made our lists and checked them twice. Every day we plugged away at the preparation and slowly checked things off the list. For every item we checked off, it seemed, we added three more. There were times when my brain was spinning and I was certain there was no way we would be ready by the time we were leaving. It was crazy, hectic, and frenzied.
When I look back upon those months, I realize that any one of those steps could have easily stopped us from heading out. We could have said, “We can’t head out because remodeling the bathroom is too much” or “Sorting and packing and selling our stuff is too hard. It’s easier to stay here.”
Those would all have been valid excuses. It was an enormous amount of work to get everything ready to go and it would have been much easier to forget it. We worked our rear ends off for an entire year preparing for our journey. For many people, it would have been easy to use all that work as an excuse for not living their dream.
But we didn’t. We made the decision to push through it and made it onto the road eventually. I have absolutely no regrets and am more than happy that we didn’t allow the demands to be excuses for not living our dream.