The Not So Glamorous Side of Dream Chasing
A quick aside before I begin - I just want to say that I'm not meaning to sound ungrateful, or like I have a rod stuck up my ass. When I started That Hummingbird Life, I made a commitment to myself that I would always be honest (maybe sometimes a bit too honest) and this post is living proof of that. It only struck me lately, that I've been writing about dream-chasing for a long time here, and not really shared about my own right-at-this-minute experience of chasing my own dreams.
To provide an elevator length version of the background and where I'm at right now, it looks something like this:
In January 2015, me and Mr. Meg left our house in lovely house in Cardiff. I was in a job that sucked the soul out of me and left me a shell of who I was and Mr. Meg left a job that wasn't good for him at all. We attempted to give away and get rid of most of the things we own (we still have a storage unit that desperately needs attention!) and moved into Mr. Meg's parent's house to save up to go travelling. We leave in August (just less than three months) and will be away until next May. And for once, we don't have a plan of what our future is going to look like after that.
So, now we're all up to speed, I want to get really honest and vulnerable about how dream-chasing in action is looking right now.
Because I think a huge part missing out of the whole dream-chasing dialogue is how difficult it is and how you often feel terrified though logic tells you that you should be jumping up and down with excitement.
We've all read about the is-it-too-good-to-be-true? stories of dream chasing. And we've all read about the amazing experiences people have had and how it has helped them grow. But sometimes I think we deliberately gloss over the less glamorous/exciting parts because somehow it will burst this vision, or bubble we have that is keeping us motivated right now.
It would be SO easy to fill my Instagram feed with pictures of my rucksack (which is beautiful FYI, and I may have posted a picture of it the day I got it, but I certainly didn't flat-lay it!), excited faces, doodles of travel plans, screenshots of tickets booked, pre and post flight selfies, pretty cups of hot hot chocolates with travel books and journal pages about how happy I am.
And I could make it out that I have this amazing life that everyone in the world should be jealous of, and that I have my shit together, and that I'm happier than I've ever been.
And it would be SO easy.
But it would also be a huge lie.
And I'm not into the art of scamming people.
I would much rather post a picture of my unmade bed and my four-day old dry hair shampooed hair than a photo that paints my life as something it isn't.
So I want to let you in behind the scenes. It's not glamorous, you'll probably be a bit disappointed and you might judge me.
But I want to show the very real different sides of dream chasing and share my journey with you.
What I'm feeling right now
- I am feeling completely overwhelmed. I have a lot of shit to do before I go. That includes, but certainly isn't limited to: editing 60 podcast episodes, managing my graphic design business and making sure we have enough money coming in for the trip, sorting out our possessions in London and having a good clear out of the things we have in storage, trying to see as much as I can of loved ones before we go, and trying to create a sustainable business plan for That Hummingbird Life which will allow me to do this (e.g what I love) full time.
- And I'm feeling bad about being overwhelmed (see below for the list of things I feel like I should be feeling!) and not ecstatic over the moon excited.
- I'm beating myself up about not seeing my family and friends as much I'd like to before I go
- I'm worrying about how I'm going to cope being away from them for so long, especially as my grandparents are very elderly and have unpredictable health challenges and I've always been there for my family.
- I'm getting annoyed at myself for not losing weight before I go and I'm seriously getting concerned about how comfortable I'm going to be on the flight (but let's face it, I don't think anyone is that comfortable). I'm freaking out about the possibility of having to sleep on the top bunk in a hostel and possibly crushing someone to death in their sleep (slight exaggeration, I hope?)
- I'm anxious about money, whether we'll have enough of it, if we'll have to sacrifice parts of the trip and what that would mean. And slightly annoyed at the fact that I didn't budget for and our budget is £3,000 over what we thought. And I'm working out how that is going to happen.
- Finding nice people via couchsurfing. We're doing half Air B&B one one half of our US trip and half couch surfing for the other half, and I'm not going to lie, I'm slightly concerned that we will end up on a random park bench. Though I'm sure we won't...
- While I love the fact that we don't have a plan for when we get back, we also don't have a plan for when we get back. And that's pretty scary. And hard to explain to loved ones who just want to make sure we're safe.
- I'm equal parts worried and excited about taking work with me. Worried because I want to be as present as possible, and want to live the experience instead of get stuck in this 'to do list' loop in my head. And excited because being a digital nomad, or whatever they're calling it these days, plays to my ego and sounds very cool and adventurous. (I said I was being brutally honest!)
- I'm also worrying about my energy levels while I'm away. I've been feeling very lethargic lately, and have got used to working from home most days, so I'm used to planning my time out and scheduling the things that exhaust me.
- I'm also nervous about having my period while I'm away (TMI?).I 'm not worried about the US, but I do have concerns about travelling around Asia with a really heavy period.
- And to end the list of worries, I have an irrational fear of food poisoning, so yeah, that should be fun!
(Did I mention I'm a very skilled and experienced worrier?!)
What I think I should be feeling right now
- Happy. So much happiness that I'm randomly bursting into tears with the sheer joy of it all
- Not-able -to go-to-sleep excitement levels. And while this does happen when I stop worrying and think about the fact that this time in three months we'll be in San Francisco, I've convinced myself I should be pre-going-to-see-Macklemore level excitement every day. (Which I know isn't sustainable. At all).
- Prepared and feeling like it's happening. Because right now, it hasn't sunk in. At all. I feel we should have our plans sorted. And we don't.
- Raring to go - I feel like I should have my bag packed, a countdown on my phone and be ready to jump on a plane at a moment's notice. Truth be told, I'm working from 9am to 9pm most days, and I'm pretty fucking knackered
- Financially secure - can I just put LOL for that one?
- Really fucking grateful. Which I seriously am, but my ability to worry about every eventuality and over think things is getting in my way.
I'm writing this post because I want to challenge two myths.
Myth Number 1
When you start working towards your dreams, or when they become within an arm's reach life becomes this really easy, uncomplicated, wonderful place.
It doesn't. Like I said, I could only focus on the positives, an Instagrammable version, but I would be ignoring all of my values if I did that. And that's something I can't do.
I think often we're sold this myth, that if only we work X hard of make X amount of money that life is going to become this beautiful place full of rainbows.
And I think that's really dangerous, especially when so many of us put our hearts and souls into our dreams and we're desperate for them to happen.
We ignore the fact that there are still going to be hiccups, roadblocks and times of uncertainty .
Myth Number 2
You'll never achieve our dreams unless your life is perfect. You have to be rich or become this wonderful person that you only dream you could be.
Of course, it takes sacrifice, but most of your dreams are doable. You will have to have some trade ins, but you can make it happen.
We might have to wait longer than we thought, we might have to work harder than we ever thought possible, we might have to make some really hard decisions, but they can happen.
It is also some true scary shit, but that doesn't mean that we can't take a risk and go for it.
This isn't a call of action to not chase your dreams. The last thing I want to do is to put you off. I just want to be really honest.
I want to show the side of things you don't generally see.
But you know what? All of those things I'm worried about? All of the sacrifices I'm making?
They are ALL worth it. There have been hard decisions to make along the way, but I wouldn't have made another decision. Travelling the world, learning more about life and more about myself, getting to have new experiences and having so much more independence and freedom has always been something I've wanted to do.
And I wouldn't have it any other way. And I'm sure you feel the same about your dreams too :)