While on the road, I often encountered people who, in one way or another, were working hard towards their dreams. Though one would wonder, what dreams really are.
Dreams can have several definitions and synonyms. People no matter where they are from, what their occupation is or what their status is, they always dream of a better life.
Dreams can be possible or impossible.
Usually, people dream of a perfect life. But then again, a perfect life has countless and diverse meanings. For someone, a perfect life is portrayed as a home, while for another, it is represented as a long road.
Interestingly, whenever someone asks a person to create a “what if” scenario in their mind, usually they go like this “what if I followed my dream.” This statement indicates that everyone’s dream is represented as a path. Simultaneously this statement shows that not everybody seeks the path of dreams, or if they do, they get entangled in other pathways.
Moreover, this statement shows that not everyone has the same opportunities nor the same abilities to follow something that could be, in many ways, impossible. But I observed that sometimes people do not realize what dreams are, and what it means to follow your dreams. For example, if a girl’s dream is to be a princess like in fairy tales, people tend to crush her dreams with pitiful eyes and indifferent remarks.
But, if for instance we take Cinderella’s story and break it down, then that little girl with hard work (Cinderella created her dress for the ball) and with a bit of help from friends and family (Cinderella had her mice friends and fairy-godmother) she could achieve her dreams (Cinderella went to the ball with the most beautiful dress). And don’t forget that like Cinderella, it’s fine to have failures (her stepmother ripped the first dress) because there is always next time.
Dreams are very diverse, but I often come across people who dream of leaving their homes, town, city, or even country. Everyone indeed has that burning desire in their gut to travel all over the world with no regrets. But most people never tried or thought of trying because it is an unattainable dream. They would refer to this dream as a desire from childhood when, at that time, they felt that being an adult is easy and fun.
Undoubtedly, as children, people dream of all kinds of crazy and wild things. I, for instance, had been that kid that never stopped daydreaming. And until today, I’m still daydreaming and creating a thousand scenarios of “what ifs” in my mind.
Since I was a kid, I was always encouraged by my parents to dream and believe in myself. I learned to voice my opinions even if they were wrong and to work hard towards my dreams continuously. Furthermore, because I’m the baby in the family, my parents and siblings would rarely say no to me. Therefore, no matter what I wanted, I would almost always have it.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with all this talking about dreams, desires, traveling the world, and home. Well, you see, I followed my dreams, and I’m still following them, and because of that, for the last seven years, I’ve been living abroad. During this journey, I had some successful moments but also many failures. I’ve learned a lot, and although many questioned my decisions, I keep going. The first time I moved from my home country, I was eighteen. Since then, I lived in two different countries and cities and visited thirteen countries on three continents. I met people from all over the world and from entirely different backgrounds. I had the opportunity to meet people with enthralling personalities and fellow travelers. Some of them had a specific goal, and others only wanted to enjoy their life to the fullest before going back to their routine of ordinary life.
In my case, I started living abroad as a student, and my studies were my means for my future career and life. Today although I’m still working on that dream, a lot of my beliefs and interests have changed. For example, my dreams continuously change and evolve. At some point, I also wanted to leave everything behind with no regrets and travel all over the world and live a carefree life. But currently, instead of yearning for a life of constant traveling, I wish for a life filled with traveling.
Recently I had to make the big decision of whether I should go back permanently or continue living abroad. And even though I thought it was going to be an obvious choice, I found myself having many sleepless nights.
Firstly, I started going back to my previous decisions to leave home and staying abroad. I realized that even though I did leave so I could follow my dreams, I didn’t stay to carry on my journey of fulfilling them. After all, my eighteen-year-old self is entirely different from my twenty-five-year-old self, and so are my dreams, beliefs, choices, and decisions.
As a straight-A student, I had a specific plan for at least the next ten years. Undoubtedly my plans did go as I had suspected. During my early twenties, I started questioning myself over my decisions, goals, and dreams. I struggled tremendously to find the best path for me, to understand better myself and to start living a life that would fill me with fulfillment. Eventually, with the help of new friends and family, I explored many pathways of life. And during this journey of finding myself, I traveled and met people from all over the world who inspired me to express myself and follow my true desires.
Finally, after four years, I moved to another country to start a new life and achieve my aspirations.
Once again, I had some successful moments and some failures. After all, as we say back in my home country, “we are mistakes, and we make humans.” And I’m proud to say that through my mistakes and failures, I became a better human who strives for a better future. In the last three years, I was able to live a carefree life with a definitive purpose. I made wonderful friends and created my own home.
And this brings me back to my recent decision whether I should go back home or continue to live abroad.
The word home is one of my favorite words in the English language because, in my native language, we don’t have such a word. We only have the word house, the physical form of the place you live. I was recently in the transition process from being a student to finding a full-time job. My family and friends boldly said that it’s finally the time to return home. Surprisingly enough, the ones who wanted me to return the most were my friends. The reason being that we all started a journey together abroad as students, and now I’m the only one who still wishes for more and hasn’t settled down.
However, I realized that my friends wished for my return so that we could continue with our journey together. But the truth is that we’ve all already carried on with our lives. I’ve already created a new group of friends who are also my family, I have a place that I call home, and I’m happy with what I have and what I do. And the same goes for my friends. They are at their home with their family and friends. Some already have kids, they have jobs that they choose and love, and are happy.
Therefore, when I returned home for job hunting, even though there were many places that I could take upon, I decided not to stay.
The reason was that I realized it was not my home anymore. Undoubtedly, if I stayed, I could quickly start over again, but starting anew at home felt weird because I was not entirely a stranger.
Nevertheless, the most terrifying thing was how everyone was expecting too much from me. I was the person who went abroad to accomplish their dreams, meaning I had the most potential of all to be successful.
However, anyone could be successful and satisfied. Anyone could be me. People don’t have to leave home and chase far away dreams to be happy. My journey of chasing dreams and returning home made me understand that what we all dream about is to be content and to have a place to call home.
Dreams change all the time, and even though some believe that home doesn’t change, they are wrong. What doesn’t change are people. Your family will always be your family, and it can gradually expand.
If your wish is to travel the world, then do it but only because it is your sincere desire and not an unaccomplished childhood fantasy. If you want to be a princess, then work hard so that you can live comfortably later in your life. If you crave for a family, then go out there and find the right people for yourself and live a good life together.
And then when you finally accomplish everything you wished, return home. Because dreams are both a path and a home.