You know when you were a kid, and you (most likely) believed you could conquer everything? The phrase “the world is your oyster” was taken to heart. You wanted to write bestsellers, direct movies, be a dancer and a teacher and a vet. You dreamed of singing on stage, designing clothes, travelling the world, owning a farm or an animal sanctuary, running for Britain in the Olympics, training the world’s most prolific showjumping horses, living as a cowboy (girl) in the Wild West. Yes, I wanted to do and be all those things. Perhaps you were a sensible child… well I wasn’t. I wanted to slay dragons, okay?
Then you grow up and those boring things adults did which you never understood begin to make perfect sense as you realise that the amazing life you had planned for yourself is proving difficult to materialize. This doesn’t have to be a disappointment, life has had it’s twists and turns and makes you who you are today, even if you are still growing up. (I am!) You are who you are, you may have some regrets and wish you’d made different choices, but all in all you are a pretty awesome individual. All of you people are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, not even yourself.
However, there are always going to be some childhood dreams that don’t go away, that stick at you and in you and wait for an opportunity to say: “I used to play that when I was a kid!” “I always loved doing that.” “I dreamed of being one of those…” I would still like to run the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the Olympics. It’s never gonna happen. I would love to disappear onto a ranch and train horses. Don’t count on it. I went to the audition for the latest Star Wars movie, just because I could. My acting skills aren’t the greatest. I am resigned and content in this knowledge that what I’m doing now is what I love and where I’m meant to be.
There is one dream, though, which refuses to budge above all the rest: I want to see and study the world, or more specifically the people in it. I don’t just want to travel to be a bustling tourist, gasping at the Great Wall of China or a wild lion or making it my mission to visit all the major cities of the world. No, I want to travel in the countries and cities and fields and landscapes where it’s inhabitants and familiar others see it as part of everyday life, not a spectacle. I want to see the world without tinted glasses, without pre-instilled emotional responses, without a guidebook.
I don’t know how. I don’t know when or where. The money doesn’t exist, the time and space and freedom and pacifying words for my poor worried family don’t exist yet. National Geographic and Sarah Marquis and Henry Rollins keep filling my head with excitement and adventure and drive, but how could I ever fulfill this dream, rationally?
My childish enthusiasm still won’t leave it alone.
I guess I’ll have to let you know when I get there.