Remembering How to Dream

Do you remember back when you were a child, how easy it was to dream? You wanted to be a firefighter, a gymnast, or perhaps a professional football player. You wanted to walk on the moon, be a horse jockey, or if you were me in the second grade, a rock climber.

It was easy, and effortless; back when your parents and kindergarten teacher told you that you could be anything you wanted. But then as you got older, something changed. Suddenly instead of pretending you were in a submarine discovering Atlantis, it was all about getting good grades in school. Now instead of wanting to be a ballerina, you were expected to want to go to college, to study something practical that had a good chance of landing a high paying job – oh, and I suppose it could be something you like to do as well. It was time to be responsible and leave childish fancies behind.

So you probably did what I did, and conformed. I went to college, studying something that had a high job placement rate. And to be fair it was in a field I was interested in, but the kind of jobs it lead to I wasn’t thrilled about. Still I played along, doing my best to seem eager to learn and succeed while I put in an average amount of effort for average results. I didn’t want anyone to know I was different. Clearly this is what I was supposed to want, so why did I feel so unsatisfied?

Yet I pushed through it. I graduated, and landed a job in my field right out of college. I was making enough to pay the bills, put some in my 401k, build up my savings account, and still had enough left over to do fun things occasionally on the weekend.

But I still felt restless. Something was missing, something very important. I’d forgotten how to dream.

I’d grown so use to accepting what everyone around me told me I should want that I forgot to listen to what I really wanted, in fact I hadn’t thought about it in so long I’d mostly forgotten how. After this wake up call, I spent a good four months wrestling with the idea that my life is my own to live as I see fit, and pondering what I wanted to do with it, and how to make that happen.

The biggest dream was my decision to travel and live full-time in a RV. There are other ones though too, smaller ones, ones that don’t require turning your life upside-down to achieve. These smaller dreams are also important, and often they are things that you could be working on, right now.

Have you given much thought to your dreams lately? If you haven’t, here are a few pointers to get you started.

First, turn off the TV, computer, or any other distractions. These are your dreams we’re talking about, and you owe it to yourself to give it your whole attention. If your still having trouble coming up with something, try getting out of your home and going somewhere different, like a park. I find that I’m able to think more creatively when I’m outside of my normal environment. As far as the format, that’s up to you. I personally put all of mine big and small onto a bucket list, and organized them by how soon I intended to accomplish them.

A lot of times, people don’t know what to start with. What kinds of things are worthy of being on your dream list? The answer is that they can be as big, small, or crazy as you like. You’ll probably end up with a combination of things you want to do, places you want to go, and things you want to own. What is important is that they are things that you want. For instance, don’t put down that you’d like to own a huge home entertainment system, just because you think it’ll make you look better/cooler/more successful to others. Remember we’re trying to move away from what everyone else thinks we should want. If, on the other hand, having a huge home entertainment system is something you’ve dreamed about having for years and you feel it’ll add real value to your life, go ahead and put it on your list.

Take as much time as you need. You might not be able to finish the list in one sitting, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to add and subtract dreams from it as you discover new things you want or decide there are things on it you no longer really want. You as a person are not static; your dreams likewise will change with time. If you’re doing it right, you’ll never make it through your dream list. There will always be more stuff to do.

Some of your smaller dreams will probably be pretty easy to achieve, now that you’ve identified them. Maybe one of your dreams is to try a certain kind of food. An online search for restaurants around where you live that serve that kind of food won’t be too hard to do. Ask around at work or in your community to get advice or reviews of restaurants that serve that type of food. If you live in a more remote location you might have to travel a bit to get to said restaurant, and in that case you can always plan to go when you’re going to be in that neck of the woods anyway. If you want to make the experience even more memorable, try inviting friends or family along with and make an event out of it.

Then there are the harder dreams, the ones that require more time, money, or commitment than you can currently put forth. For instance, that huge home entertainment system probably isn’t going to be cheap, and learning how to play a musical instrument often takes many hours of practice. Overcoming the obstacles of money and time will be the focus of the next two posts in this series.

In the meantime I’d like to know, what are some of your dreams?

This post is first in a five part series. For part 2, click here.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Lynn on December 31, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I signed up for your blog a while ago and after reading a few current ones as they came in, decided on this cold dreary day in NC to go back and read from the beginning. So glad I did. I cried when I read some of this dream series. Remembering the several times in my life I’ve stepped off the “practical” course and gotten on the more creative tract. Dreams change, even the dream can become stale and need to remember to dream again.

    • Becky on January 1, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Dreams are always changing. Just as we are. 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying this older stuff, thanks for commenting.

  2. Kit on July 26, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I love your blog!!! I also love travelling, but went to college and got a respectable job (which I do like). Since I work three night-shifts a week, that still leaves me some long weekends for two-night camping trips, but after working one year I’m finally planning my annual two-week vacation, to Missoula, MT and lots of the national parks between Arizona and there (with lots of help from your blog!) I also live debt-free and am working hard to save my money, hoping to get a tow vehicle and fiberglass trailer someday.

    • Becky on July 26, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Welcome to IO Kit, I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog!

      My best friend works 4 days a week and loves her schedule because she always has long weekends, I can definitely see the advantage. Montana is a beautiful state and I’m sure you’ll have a good time, there certainly are a lot of parks between AZ and there!

      Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best in buying your own rig someday. Saving up is a pain (I remember it well) but the payoff is so great. 🙂

  3. LKM on October 1, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Living and traveling in an RV is one of my big time dreams!

    With my work options dwindling I decided to go back to school to get a “respectable career”.

    But I’m finding it harder and harder to continue, maybe college isn’t for me? Maybe I’m being a bit too hard on myself? Rhetorical questions haha.

    It’s something I need to figure out and sort all the feelings/worries/fears and mushed up emotions I have swirling around my head.

    Reading travel blogs such as yours and others gives me the motivation and inspiration to “find a way” to achieve my dreams.

    Thank you for writing this post 🙂

    • Becky on October 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      College was a real challenge for me too LKM. I felt like I had to go because that’s what good, respectable, successful young folks do. Even then I knew that I didn’t want to “grow up” and work until retirement, but I didn’t think there were any other options. Now I know better.

      Looking back on it now though, I’m still glad I did college, because it lead to a career that let me save up all the money I needed to buy my truck and RV debt free once I did know what I wanted to do with my life. Is it the right choice for you? Only you can answer that, but I’m happy to hear that you’re researching other options.

      Best of luck to you in your own journey toward your dreams, and I’m glad you decided to comment and become a part of the community here. If you have questions for me, you can always e-mail or message me on the IO Facebook page or on Twitter. I don’t usually respond immediately, but I get to them all eventually. Safe travels and happy trails!

  4. Mike Goad on April 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    The RVing angle is what has led me to your blog. I’ve read and skimmed several of your posts and decided to start back at the very beginning. I probably won’t read every single one but I’m going to start browsing through.

    I wish that we were able to do the full time RVing life. We could afford to, especially if we were to augment income and investments with workcamping. However, as much as I’d like to do it, I’ve had to compromise as Karen, my wife, prefers a fixed home to a vagabond life. So we travel a month or more each year, sometimes in state, sometimes venturing further afield, almost every year making it to Wisconsin to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids.
    Mike Goad recently posted..Big Dam…My Profile

    • Becky on April 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Heya Mike, welcome to IO!

      Compromise is a big part of making things work as a couple, I’m glad you two were able to work out an arrangement where you both get some of what you each want. I know of other couples where one partner wants to RV and the other doesn’t and the one who does will travel alone in the RV for a while, not sure if that would work for you two but there it is.

      I’m from Wisconsin originally, born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids and then went to college in Madison, moved when I was 24. Where does your family up there live?

      • Mike Goad on April 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        I’ve got double connections to Wisconsin, as it were.

        In 1972, I was on weekend liberty in Milwaukee from the Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, IL. and the bus from the base stopped at the USO. I went in and after about an hour, they were asking for volunteers to help decorate for a dance they were having that night at the YWCA. I said sure. Not long after getting to the Y, a girl up in the balcony hollered down asking if she could “bum a cigarette” — found out later she didn’t smoke. Met her at the dance, went clubbing afterwards (drinking age was 18) and took her home in a cab — I didn’t stay. Long story, short — two weeks later, I asked her to marry me, five weeks after that we did it, just a few short weeks before heading to my next school in California.

        Karen’s family had lived in Tisch Mills (north of Manitowoc). She graduated from Mishicot high. After she and an older sister moved to Milwaukee, her parents and most of her siblings moved to Arkansas. We did the same when I got out of the Navy in 1980 and have been living here ever since.

        Our youngest daughter’s husband worked in pest management in the Air Force — bugs, critters, etc. While in the service, he got a degree in instructional technology and on getting out at the end of 2006, he landed a job with Wil-Kil Pest Control as Training Director. They live in the DeForest area and he works in Sun Prairie.
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        • Becky on April 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

          What a story Mike! Wisconsin was a good place to grow up and I like traveling back there to visit friends and family.

  5. Shirley on April 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Becky,

    Chris and Cherie (Technomadia) pointed me in your way. I am considering various for dreams in my life including life on the road. When I asked them for suggestions for inspiration they suggested you. I am starting from the oldest of your posts and working my way forward. I just wanted you to know why you were likely to be getting some comments on your older posts.

    Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Shirley recently posted..Weaving the threads; cutting the threadsMy Profile

    • Becky on April 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Hello Shirley and welcome to IO, very glad to have you here. 🙂 Chris and Cherie’s blog has been very helpful for me as well, especially in the planning stages.

      I just visited your blog and read through the “My Journey (so far) to Serve” post, which is very inspiring in it’s own right! I started IO because I too want to make a positive difference in others lives, and communicating my journey to full-timing is one way I can do that. On that note, feel free to shoot me an e-mail if there are any other questions you would like to ask about the RV lifestyle. This is the week I move into my RV so the response may not be immediate, but I promise I won’t leave you hanging.

  6. Becky on November 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Pleasure to meet you Nancy, those sound like wonderful dreams! Getting a book published is also on my list, I’d like to write a fantasy book some day. 🙂 I love both cats and dogs. Someday I’d like to adopt a retired racing greyhound, but I see that as being farther in the future. I’ll likely adopt a cat first at some point while I’m on the road, because I think a cat will work better with the small RV I plan on living in.

    A noticed a couple of the things on your list that sound like they should be pretty easy to accomplish now that you have identified them, I hope you take my advice to heart and free up an afternoon to go out fishing and enjoy yourself in the near future. I also agree that discovering news things should be a lifelong pursuit.

    I intend to share more stuff related to going full-time RVing as I learn it. Welcome aboard, and best of luck to you as well!

  7. ntexas99 on November 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Well, since you asked, my dream list might include:
    * getting a book published (first I would have to write it)
    * sharing my life with a Cocker Spaniel again
    * spending an afternoon fishing and enjoying the cool breeze
    * getting a passport (and having a reason to use it)
    * putting a smile on someone’s face when they least expect it
    * understanding the difference between want, and need
    * living full time in an RV, and making my own schedule
    * having a mobile income, and a comfortable nest egg
    * discovering something new that surprises me

    Maybe I should cross that last one off the list, since I’ve just discovered your blog. It might be a better idea to leave it on the list permanently, as a reminder to enjoy the journey.

    Hi there! I’m Nancy, (aka ntexas99), and I found your blog by way of a link over on The Good Luck Duck, and I’m interested to follow your journey as you begin your blog experience. I already appreciate the way you think, and certainly admire the way you write. I look forward to getting to know you on a more personal level as the days progress. I’m not currently blogging these days, but that one might wind up on the list, too.

    Happy to meet you, and good luck in your adventures!
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