Remember the 2009 Pixar movie “Up” where an old man decides to float his house all the way to South America using helium balloons? There are so many things that I appreciate about that movie. To begin with, the self-determination and self-assurance that the two children have at the beginning of the movie for adventure really resonated with me as I still find a number of the same qualities in my child-like yet vivid imagination. We grow up thinking “the sky is the limit”, right? And then what happens?
Life happens. Responsibility hits us, bills stack up, and life begins to bombard us with enough bananas to smother us. Our child-like dream of the sky being the limit gets somewhat stifled by all of the external influences and stimuli around us. We have to work to gain the things we want: a family, a career, a comfortable house and lifestyle. And through all of the hustle and bustle of daily life, we forget what we once thought. Our dreams of being a fireman, a teacher, or the perfect mom become fuzzy memories stored at the back of our brains. Sure, we might be reminded of it in conversation at some point, but when do we ever re-realize our dream of the sky being the limit and strive for it once more? When do we stop believing that we are capable of achieving such goals? Why do we give up before even trying?
Wouldn’t it be magical to attach helium balloons to your house and just float away on an adventure? Or are you thinking of reason’s right now why that would be impossible? Because of your kids, your job, your financial limitations, the expectations placed upon you by others? If you can forget about those details for a minute, you might be able to experience the glorious feeling of even just imagining such an adventure.
On my “About” page, on the right hand side of this posting, I wrote about one of my childhood idols: Carmen Sandiego. Now the funny thing is, Carmen Sandiego was actually the thief in the game who I was trying to stop. My brain, however, just remembered how much I loved the game “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” and decided that “Carmen Sandiego” was my idol. Now that I’ve grown up a bit, I realize that Carmen Sandiego (the thief) was not my idol, but rather the idea of being a detective and traveling the world to solve crime was my idyllic dream.
So I can’t say that I’m close to being a detective, or to solving crime, but I can excitedly confirm that I get to travel the world, so to speak. At age 2 my family and I moved to Egypt – Alexandria and Aswan mostly. At 8 we moved to Irbid, Jordan for a year – visiting incredible sites in the surrounding area such as Petra and the Dead Sea. At 9.5 I moved back to Canada, arriving in Toronto and subsequently DRIVING across Canada to the Vancouver area. (You may wonder why I’ve capitalized the word ‘driving’? Well, suffice it to say that six people crammed into one old Buick makes the drive across Canada a whole lot more of an experience.)
Between the 14-16 I was able to go twice with a group down to Mexico to work in an orphanage near Tijuana. After driving down to Mexico twice, I stayed in BC for awhile – taking small camping trips or visiting my extended family in Alberta. Two years ago, in October 2009, I went with a small group to an orphanage in Marose, Haiti. This was of course before the earthquake, but the conditions were still quite shocking. The shocking conditions were not able to squelch my love of travel though. In May 2011 I met up with my younger sister Rachel in Greece and had quite the experience on the mainland and the islands. And now, in January 2012, I am setting off on an adventure bound for Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Excited? Yes. Nervous? A little. Above all though, I feel completely content with my life in knowing that in some small way I am still following my dreams. And yes, I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but I really mean it. I have no idea what to expect from this 2 month adventure in Tanzania, but I am so relieved at the same time to not have any expectations. No expectations = freedom.
So what about you? What adventures have you taken lately? What dreams have you fulfilled or forgotten?