As a kid and a teenager I always daydreamed a lot. My most common fantasy was of running away to the backyard to create a fantastic new life in our apple tree-hutt. As I got older this fantasy transitioned to moving overseas to travel the world. I’d dream of a brightly decorated wee apartment friends would always be visiting and I’d hardly ever use for always be exploring somewhere new. At high school, I would spend hours a day researching places to stay, things to do, and designing elaborate itineraries for my trip. In the final few months before leaving New Zealand, I’m sure I drove my workmates insane talking about my plans.
It was around this time someone made the comment to me; those that daydream a lot aren’t happy with their real life. Then I was mostly offended and only slightly intrigued by this comment, as I clearly daydreamed a lot. Now after nearly two years abroad, this little comment weaseled its way back to me. As I started nearing the expiry date of my visa for the United Kingdom, I began questioning, have I achieved what I came here to do? Of course the last two years have been some of the most amazing times of my life and I’m very grateful for them, but I’m still left feeling like my time here hasn’t quite lived up to everything I thought it would be. So what did I think was going to happen?
I think I was expecting Europe to have something absolutely magical in store for me. I don’t know what exactly, but something of the magnitude that would change my life in a dramatic way, perhaps career or relationship wise. I think I was also expecting to leave any “problems” behind and start fresh. I wanted to become the vivacious, fun and confident woman I always imagined myself being, without a worry in the world (because if you know me at all you know I worry way too much). Unfortunately, as we all know life doesn’t usually pan out quite like a movie and when you ignore your problems they generally don’t go away but just get worse.
If travelling was the only time I was really happy, something was seriously wrong with the way I was living my life.
After a while of living in London, cycling through working to save money to travel, I began to realise, travelling had become my escape from real life. And if travelling was the only time I was really happy, something was seriously wrong with the way I was living my life. Every time I booked a new trip, I was running away for real. I was seeking a better life outside because I wasn’t happy with the one I was living.
What came next was change – which on a side note, I think I may actually be addicted to, but whatever. I sat myself down and thought about what I really enjoy doing. You know the things that when there’s noone watching, you still get real fulfillment out of – they make you feel alive. For me those things seemed to be dancing, working on creative projects and socialising with fun people who I find inspiring. Clearly, I needed to put more of these things back in my life. Why on earth it had taken me this long I don’t know!
So I started dancing again, with Salsa, Bachata and an invigorating mix of Capoeira-Contemporary. I started exposing my passions more in conversation, hoping to spark inspiration through commonalities. And I began looking for as well as making the most out of human interaction. So maybe they were right. Maybe part of the reason I was obsessed with moving overseas was to run away from a life I wasn’t completely happy or fulfilled by. Either way, I learnt that lesson in a pretty neat way, and now I feel like I much better understand what it means to take control of your life and steer it in the direction you desire.
Coincidentally, I read an article recently arguing daydreaming as an essential element of success. I totally agree, and previously mentioned this in 7 Steps to Planning Your Big Overseas Adventure. My theory is, you have to be able to visualise the dream to make it happen, and the more detailed that dream is the more drive you get. At least for me it’s true. After all, daydreaming got me all the way from New Zealand to living in my WorldFanFair.