Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sharing the Dream: Do You Have What it Takes?

This morning I awoke at 2am...no, not because of labor, just because.  I'm chalking it up to "pregnancy induced insomnia".  Instead of just laying in bed blinking into the darkness and waking up Scott, I decided to use the time to get back to a few blog followers who had taken the time to write incredibly heartfelt and inspiring letters of thanks to us.  Reading their thoughtful notes and stories got me to thinking how utterly cool it is that we get to share our dreams with (and in turn inspire) each other, because it goes both ways you know!

In addition, this past weekend Scott and I got to meet up with a young couple who follow our blog and are on their way to turning their dream of living aboard and cruising the world into a reality.  It was so great to talk with them and see the excitement on their faces, hear the anticipation in their voices, listen to their "plan" and offer them our support (and solicited advice).  This encounter coupled with the emails I mentioned got me to thinking about dreams and making dreams come true.  All these people had something in common: they are making their dreams come true.  But why?  What makes them the types of people that will take a leap of faith?  What sets them apart from so many others who just don't seem to have what it takes?  Scott and I hear from and meet a lot of people that say they want to do what we are doing, but many never will.  This is a fact.  I'm not trying to be negative but statistically speaking, more people talk the talk than walk the walk, that's just life.  These three couples are different.  I can feel it.  They will fulfill their dreams, but why?

Here's what I think sets apart the dreamers who dream from the dreamers that do:

  1. They are young.  This does not mean that older people are doomed - not at all.  In fact, most of our cruising friends are aged 60 and older, our age bracket is in the vast minority which is proof positive that living a dream isn't age related.  But these particular couples are young and hungry.  They have not been over-burdened with responsibility and have the energy to attack their dreams with vigor.  They've all enjoyed a moderate level of success in their lives and they have learned that it doesn't make them "happy".  They are of the generation that doesn't mind change. Our generation has seen the economic bubble burst and we watched with mouths agape as relatives and loved ones who spent their lives working for "the man" got screwed.  Sure, older generations might call us spoiled and privileged (because let's face it, comparatively speaking, we are) - it doesn't mean we're stupid.  We watched and we learned.   Life isn't about stockpiling away for later, life is about RIGHT NOW. 
  2. They are not afraid to leave their jobs.  This is a big one and it sure is a luxury.  Each of these couples have made good livings up until now and they have learned that life is not about driving around the latest BMW and upgrading the kitchen counter tops to granite.  They don't find satisfaction in those things and they have learned that they don't need to "keep up with the Jones'" to be happy.  In fact, they all want to get the heck out of the way of those pesky Jones'.  Good riddance!  They know that no change is permanent and that it's far better to regret what you did than what you did not.
  3. They truly understand and believe that "less is more".  A lot of people can get behind this mantra in theory, but it becomes more challenging in practice.  I am the perfect example! On the boat I can be a minimalist (because I don't have a choice), but get me back stateside and I have to restrain myself from getting caught up in our "more, more, more" culture.  Despite being in different stages of planning, all of these couples took immediate steps to downsize, de-clutter and truly simplify their lives.  Times are changing and people are starting to wake up to the idea that a life well lived is not measured by 'stuff' but by experiences.
  4. They've Invested in their Dreams.  All three of these couples have sailboats.  They don't have their full time cruising boats yet, but they bought small day sailers to "get their feet wet" so to speak...and they USE them (this is key!  Lots of people have boats they never use).  Two of the couples bought simple boats under 25 feet for less than $2K to bang around in and get started.  One couple doesn't even know how to sail yet, but they're figuring it out and fast.  There is no better way to learn than to dive in head first and start tinkering around.  And no better way to do it than on a boat that cost a thousand bucks.  No harm, no foul.  The sailing part is simple, it's the dreaming bit that is hard for so many.  The fact that each of these couples have made investments in their cruising dreams shows major commitment and dreams need commitment to come true!
  5. They are a team.  All three of these couples are teams in the truest sense.  Not only do they have deep love and respect for each other, but each individual is on board with their respective "plans".  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, this type of unity and partnership makes the transition from land to sea much easier and makes life once you are out there MUCH more pleasant.
  6. They have can-do attitudes.  It is a LOT easier to make excuses as to why a dream "can't" happen.    I have heard a million excuses as to why people aren't living the lives they want to.  Some are ridiculous, some are legit.  If you expect to live your dream without making sacrifices, you are in for an unpleasant surprise.  Perhaps you'll have to give up that nice salary or the "prestige" from your esteemed career; you might not be able to spend as much time with family and friends and you might have to deal with the social flack that (sometimes) comes with going against the grain.  Are you okay with that?  These particular folks don't care.  None of them mentioned a single excuse when outlining their plans for us.  They are realistic about what lies ahead - the good, the bad and the ugly - and they see any road blocks in their way as opportunities to gain knowledge, and momentum instead of reasons to stop and turn around.  This "attitude" cannot be taught, but it is essential in making a dream come true whether it be starting a business or sailing around the world.
  7. They don't care what anyone else says.  There are plenty of people out there who want to squash your dream.  Some will do it intentionally out of jealousy, some will unknowingly do it out of care or concern for you.  Either way, you will hear a lot of reasons why you are crazy/insane/irresponsible/nuts.  Trust us - we hear it every single day from people who simply cannot believe we are moving back to our boat with a 6 month old.  Most people's intentions are not bad - they just cannot think outside the box.  It's human nature to see the world from our own individual vantage points and if you are doing something that someone else simply doesn't get, they're probably going to try and make you question it.  The couples I am talking about know this, deal with it and move along.  Some naysayers will come around with time, some never will - but what matters is that you don't let them change your mind.
  8. They have passion.  Passion is defined as "strong and barely controllable emotion".  You've either got it, or you don't.  Passion is a trait that is definitely found unanimously among the "doers" of the world.  If you yourself are not passionate - you should surround yourself with passionate people because passion, while not "teachable" is contagious.  Passionate folks are easy to find; they are determined, articulate and positive, they laugh loud and smile a lot, they talk with animation and excitement and they seem to ignite at the sheer beauty of life.   They are often self-motivated and confident and they are happy.  The doers have passion in spades and believe it or not, it carries them far.
What would you add to the list?  What do you think sets apart those who do from those who don't?

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true" 
~ Anonymous


Erick said...

Love it! I really enjoyed this list and will share it around.


Jill, Tim and Toby Dog said...

This couldn't be more appropriate for my husband and I lately. I feel like we just turned the corner from talking about the dream to doing it. Thank you for this today.
As for the list, I think I'd add they're optimists because there is something intrinsic in dreamers that they are optimistic that things will work out in the end, maybe not how you thought it would originally but in the end life will be good and you will be happy. Because being alive is a gift and that alone makes me happy daily.

Anonymous said...

Great list! And a great way to take advantage of a sleepless night! May I suggest that rather than "being young", we can be "young at heart"? I think it makes a huge difference. I know people nearly thirty years younger that think we (my wife and I) are crazy for making our plans to throw the lines and live our dream. All I can think is, "why do you want to act so old at such a young age?" For the record, I'm 51, but damned if I don't feel 28! Thanks for your wonderful blog!


Traverse City, MI

Jackie said...

You hit the nail on the head here! I was surprised to see that my husband and I can be described by the items on your list...which is a huge confidence booster! We even bought a trailerable boat this fall and can't wait to get started sailing! I've always wondered who the Jones' were and what made THEM so great!! Life is too short to waste on "stuff".

SailFarLiveFree said...

Such a good list! Seems number 7 is immensely important. There are many people who seek to crush dreams out of jealously, spite, or naivety. We need fearless folks like the crew of s/v Rasmus who ignore the naysayers.

Bubola said...

Simple, true and inspiring words on dreams -> reality.

Love your writing style Brittany and always find myself smiling as I read your posts! You've got a great writing style :)

Fingers crossed your sea monkey makes her debut soon!



Anonymous said...

Nothing to add to the list, but I'd make #5 (They are a TEAM) number 1. Without a shared set of goals and expectations, the whole plan is doomed to failure - regardless of what your lifestyle choices may be.

Jeanine said...

Thanks for keeping us inspired! My husband and I just rethought our demo'd kitchen this past week, watch out world, we're doing recycled floors (and by that I mean we are doing it ourselves...) and craigslist (or free) appliances! I would never want my dream of sailing with my family to be thwarted by a brand new appliance! Keep inspiring :) Can't wait to hear that the little "sea monkey" has arrived safe and sound!

Wayne & Dana said...

They are not afraid to face their fears.
We just got back from St Lucia where we just purchased our cruising boat. Fear of signing the contract, laying out our savings, quitting our jobs, doing something out of our comfort zone, and doing it in a foreign country. Knees quivering, we are doing it anyways.

Unknown said...

This post is so inspiring!! Great blog, congrats on your beautiful baby.
My partner and I are currently in the 'dreaming' stage at present and trying to sort out finances so we can go sailing the world.
Will be sure to keep up with you guys :)

KitchenKiki said...

This is a great post.
The only thing I would add is that you never know when passion will hit. It is just like a human love, unpredictable
I spent many years living a passion in theatre, which developed into the arts in general.
I love what I do, but I also look forward to the next phase.
I reinvented myself (or evolved into a new self) at 30, then again at 40.
I'm hoping by 50 (enough years from now for it to seem far away) to combine some of my loves and fledgling passions into yet a new way of living.

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