You really can live your dreams! This time 10th April 2016 I arrived at Machu Pichu – my ‘highest mountain in Peru’ that at times of struggle as a single working parent with two school age daughters, I used to say I wished I could escape to the highest mountain in Peru – the place furthest away and wildest I could think of!
Then I watched a Nat Geo type programme around 2013 and heard about this place! I love history, landscapes, wow! moments and always dreamed of travelling for year as a solo backpacker. And in 2016, in my 50s, I did it!!! and this was a dream that young people encouraged me to embrace and celebrate when I took their joyous moment of arms up and cheering – then asked for them to take my photo. And when I too felt that surge of achievement I did it and they cheered with me! It still brings tears to my eyes when I remember – just as it did that day when I ‘made it’ – and made it happen!
So how did I live my dream and get to live it?
Firstly, I developed the dream after spending a year with family in Australia in my early 20s, and before that backpacking Europe with a boyfriend, travelling by train on a Eurorail ticket.
(You can still do this now, and only double the price from then! Something I intend to day later this year or next as family visit might limit that for now)
I literally yearned inside to travel and see all the fantastic places this planet has to offer! Nat Geo and other nature or travel programmes are my highlight – and other pictures that temporarily satisfied that yearning.
I knew, deep inside, that ‘one day’ I would live my dream to travel as a solo backpacker around the world for a year! That was the dream I’d developed. But I did ‘know’ it would happen – just now how or when, or why!
But …when that moment arrived in my life – I was ready! And I jumped in for it!
And it really was just ‘a moment’ that I lived it or forever let it go! And I knew I couldn’t do that …because I was worth it. I am worth it! And it mattered to me and I mattered too!
Mum to two girls, one of whom still lived with me then as an adult, I could have stayed and been a sensible older woman, mother, employee/business owner; or I could Live my Dream!
I decided in that moment, stood in my home alone that I should ‘jump left’ and go, not be sensible and bored, stressed, frustrated any longer! My house already up for sale for a ‘life change’ I needed and wanted, wondering where I could live and realised it could be, at that time, anywhere in the world!
As I had that thought – I just knew this was ‘that moment’ I’d waited so many years for! The moment of decision to live or exist!
I chose to live! Live my dream, live my life, live a wow! a day for a whole year! Making up for the many years of holidays I hadn’t been able to afford, when my girls went away with their father instead after our separation!
Building my business alongside single parenthood, full time work following a promotion and amongst the 13 years of personal and professional study to improve my options in life, I had my chance to grow more with travel!
I wanted to see wonderful scenery, be wowed! every day, meet different people and experience new cultures – and visit places I yearned to see for real, not just in pictures or on TV!
These are a few places and events that I had dreamed of living, that actually came true – because I made it happen!
- Machu Picchu – my ‘highest mountain in Peru’ escape from the frustration and stress of life at times!
2. Ha’long Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam, that I discovered as my screen saver option and had for a couple of years before a friend visited us from there, an ex pat, and explained where it was. Huge limestone carsts rising from the waters of the bay, our 60 year old boatmen who was born there and now took tourists on the ride through the cavern to the pool and fished for his food from his boat home!
3. Elephant riding – not in Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester as a child on a seat, but actually a bare back elephant ride through the Thai jungle in Chiang Mai with Eddy and his elephants! Holding on to the elephants head was all I had to balance myself – and advice from another rider to ‘centre myself’ on it’s back and roll with the movements! Scary but exciting, and, at one point, lifting my head from watching Wandee’s steps, to see a trail of 8 elephants before my, lumbering slowly and steadily up the slight incline through a jungle path! A surreal moment!
4. Living with a Thai family for a week, with a friend visiting his Thai wife in a locality of Ubon Ratchanthani, and eating street food outside my apartment in a small town whilst waiting for their arrival! Communicating with locals who couldn’t speak English for food and directions, one of whom I had left thinking he was closing late on at night, but explained, somehow, the next night he was cooking more for me – and was worried I hadn’t eaten! Bless him!
Ha’long Bay, Hanoi, Vietnam 2015
5. Milford Sound, Fox and Franz Josef glaciers that I had learned about in A level Geography at school – now witnessing it all for real, and recognising striations, rock dust and boulders carried in the fluorescent blue waters flowing from melting glaciers, and deep fjords from the movements of the se huge glaciers!
Meeting a ‘landscape architect’ I thought was taking tourist pictures, but was actually professionally monitoring the melting and changing river threatening Franz Josef township and showed me things I otherwise wouldn’t have known or seen! So I passed that on, and in return shared my photo from the previous day of a large piece of the glacier as tall as me and just as wide at 5 feet, that had rolled down the hill that I passed on my way back!
6. Swimming with dolphins off Adelaide, S Australia; spending a week in the wild of Kangaroo Island with friends from 35 years before – walking in the bush on my own, once their two dogs abandoned me (and still never saw the wild snake I was looking for!).
7. Walking so close to seals I could touch them, and seeing tiny fairy penguins leaving the sea for their homes and families, climbing steep cliffs and toddling 2 km to their burrows ready to swap places with their partner to child-care and hunt! Watching the elegant albatross whose wing span is wider than my arms!
Seeing the elusive and weird , lanky curlew bird by accident, at a holiday site my friend took me too!
8. Whale watching from Kaikoura in New Zealand, and seeing almost extinct birds like the Kea parrot of the huge icy mountains, and the kiwi being bred and saved, or the odd looking takahe bird!
9. A week sailing from Whangerai to Waitiki in the tropical Bay of Islands to witness the annual celebration of the Maori-English treaty siting, watching Maoris chanting by, rowing their war waka canoes right alongside us!
Albatross wing span to mine, Franz Josef glacier, Bay of Islands week long cruise on Cruzee
10. Visiting Hobbiton from a book I had read 38 years before the first time – and my lifelong favourite story with Lord of the Rings. I ate lunch and drank locally brewed beer at the Green Dragon Inn I’d only read about in a fantasy book! I explored the various film sites and shared feelings and favourites with the other fans, saw the Orc swords and hobbit feet, Gollum and had pictures at Weta Studios.
11. Riding the cable car to Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redento) and Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro; visting both sides of the impressive Iguassu Falls spreading over Brasil and Argentina and staying in an historic town of Paratay and its history, I have since watched on TV to
12. Two stays in the Amazon jungle, as I wanted to spend my 56th birthday ‘somewhere different’ and special! So I went back in as I’d loved it so much the week before! And that was just wow! with meeting real life Tarzan’s in the guides, having two anacondas curl in on my neck as I held them, and nursing a gorgeous young sloth, surrounded by spider and woolly monkeys with a toucan on my arm!
13. The chilled Island of Don Det in Laos and a new Facebook friend from Veng Vieng – a young monk I met and helped with their English studies in Vetienne
14. The 10th century Angkor Wat temples I visited on hot, dusty days before retiring back to the cool pool and friendly travellers for an evenings food and chat!
This is just a SAMPLE of my daily wow! experiences living dreams within dreams!
More next week – birthday in the Amazon jungle – and other adventures!