It’s But a Dream

It was a strange feeling, on Day One of our round-the-world expedition, to push off from our house on a bicycle as we’d done a million times before.  My mind couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening, and it felt like I was going off to run a quick errand and that I would be home again within the hour.   I had experienced a similarly surreal feeling when we stepped over the threshold of our Tiny House to spend our first evening in it, recognition of our achievement slowly creeping into my consciousness, followed by a sincere disbelief that we had arrived at our intended destination.

Kai & I have plodded along each day, over five years’ time, taking a micro-step here and sometimes a step backward there, all the while working toward our shared dreams of living a more sustainable lifestyle, of removing ourselves from things that distract us from living intentionally, of becoming healthier (both spiritually & physically), and of becoming more engaged world citizens.  Instant gratification may feel really good but it doesn’t compare to the intense gratification that comes from taking risks, working hard, and waking up to the day that you find yourself smack in the middle of living and not just dreaming.

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Fulfill Your Dreams :: Ready, Set, Go!

Recently, a regular reader of our blog asked us the following questions, specifically related to the building of our Tiny House:

“Where do you start? What nail do you drive first?  What helped you to decide the direction and to get you to this point in your life?”

These were great questions to reflect upon (thanks Jordan!) and when we finished thinking about our answers, we realized they summarized how we approach most dreams and goals in our lives.  We thought it would be worthwhile sharing what worked for us, in the hope that others would respond with their own life strategies.

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Do What Comes Naturally

The truth is that everyone is motivated by different things so each person’s path to fulfilling their dreams is going to be unique to them.  What works for us may not work for someone else.  That being said, every one of us starts off at the same place, the place of dreaming.  Nothing can happen unless we dare to dream it and to imagine it as a part of our future.  It took us about six months of just fantasizing about cycling around the world and talking about building a tiny house before we were actually ready to take the next steps.

Commit & Make Lists

We could have lingered in the “dream stage” for our entire lives but we knew that if we wanted to turn our dreams into reality, we would have to take action.  We didn’t start to see progress until we committed ourselves to the belief that we could potentially achieve our dreams.  As soon as we made the decision to give it our best shot, we sat down and made lists of things we had to do to even begin heading in the direction we imagined.

Focus on Small Tasks

Why dream if you can’t dream BIG?  But don’t let the size of your dreams hinder your momentum.  Focusing on the larger, abstract, goals of building a house or cycling around the world would feel overwhelming to us, and sometimes paralyzing.  We broke the larger goals into smaller task lists, then kept our heads down and put our energy into each task, one at a time, and one day at a time.

Prepare to Be Disciplined Yet Forgiving

Working to achieve our goals in such a methodical and slow way required us to be more disciplined than we ever thought we could be.  We had to learn how to motivate and reward ourselves, how to give ourselves breaks and recovery time, how to be kind under stress, and how to overcome depression and self-doubt when it all seemed insurmountable.

Be Resilient & Don’t Get Stuck on Schedules

We had to accept that we couldn’t accomplish everything at once, that things wouldn’t always go as we had planned, and that we (and others) would make mistakes along the way.  It was just better for everyone when we viewed challenges or setbacks as an integral and necessary part of the process and then moved on to find a solution.

Don’t Expect Perfection

We tried not to dwell upon our weaknesses.  We’re not perfect, nor will we ever be perfect.  We are beautifully vulnerable and fallible human beings, as is everyone.  We have to do what we can do now, accept our weaknesses alongside acknowledgement of our strengths, and if we still find ourselves stuck on what we can’t do, seek out the knowledge and expertise to help us become better at the things we want to improve upon.

Find Inspiration & Community

When we needed a boost, we found renewed inspiration by reading books, watching films, connecting with like-minded people online, or going to events that focused on the power of regular people taking action and affecting positive change.  We sought out and surrounded ourselves with positive and supportive friends and community, who helped us through the rough patches and shared in our celebrations.  We reached out to neighbors to share our plans and to ask for their patience and good graces while we were building.  Many of them offered their support and opened their hearts to us in ways we never expected.  Through this process we formed deep relationships, built a strong support system, and realized a sense of community we had never before experienced in our lives.

Remember that You Are Capable, Powerful, and Worthy

There were days when we felt deflated, unmotivated, and incapable.  Some days we wanted to give up.  We had to remind each other that we were fully capable and worthy of everything we dreamed of, and that every day, and every task completed, brought us closer to achieving our goals.  We often referred to this quote by Marianne Williamson, to strengthen our resolve:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination.

It is our light more than our darkness which scares us.  While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same.  When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.”

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What about you?  What methods have you incorporated into your life to help you achieve your goals and dreams?   Please leave your words of wisdom in the comments section so that we can all benefit from them.


12 comments to It’s But a Dream

  • Wow! Fantastic post Sheila!

    Your words are a fantastic reminder that small even tiny persistent steps are a powerful force in accomplishing big ideas. So often we put off our dreams because they seem so huge and improbable and we forget that everyday we make small choices to either stay the same or to improve our lives in the direction we wish.

    The method Tammy and I used for pursuing dreams of writing, building a tiny house, and moving to a new community of our choice stemmed from tools we learned inthe book “Your money or your life” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. Redefining money as “life-energy” helped us put the focus on our goals in life and less about our bank balance or how peers perceived our material wealth of stuff. Cars, computer-gadgets, and huge houses mean very little in the context of enjoying your life time. Many rich older individuals would gladly trade their wealth for a younger age and more time. Prioritizing our small everyday actions took our life in a whole new direction. Similar to your timeline, over the course of 5 years we gradually steered our life towards our ideals and values. We similarly struggled with vulnerability yet felt more empowered with every choice we made towards greater vulnerability.

    We wish you and Kai the best on your epic journey. We are enjoying reading about all your adventures! Cheers! :^)

    • Hey Logan,

      I checked out RK just now and don’t want to have to sign up for google to comment, but tell Tammy that bringing along a trashbag and picking up litter along the route is a great way to get that meditative walk and do some good at the same time!

    • Thanks for sharing/reminding us of this great resource! And thanks for mentioning money and how your approach to it fits in to your life strategy.

      I can’t believe I didn’t even mention or think about money in relation to achieving dreams – I guess I don’t view it as crucial any more….it’s become so secondary in our lives! “Your money or your life” is an excellent book and it changed my life view of energy and money as well. The role of money in our lives has become but a shadow of its previous importance. Not that it isn’t necessary or important to us traveling, but when we cleared the clutter in our lives, we realized money & stuff were the least important to us and that we could do much with very little of it.

      You’ve prompted me to think about it again and it is an important topic. I’ve made a note to dedicate a future post to discussing money, how our relationship to it has changed, and how we managed to quit our jobs, build our Tiny House, and travel for years.

      Thanks again for the online love/support. Peace out!

  • Nice read this morning and congratulations on where you are now!
    Many of the same steps you’ve listed (and a 5 year stint of living in a chevy suburban) have gotten us to our dream. Sara is still defining her dream, but for now is happy that she can work when she wants to and to not work when she doesn’t want to.
    My dream is being realized right now. I’m semi retired at 38 (I work about 20 days a year give or take) and have a lot of time to do fun and helpful things I’ve always wanted to do. My current project is to raise awareness for biking, walking and community service/pride by using bikes in helpful, creative and positive ways. I’m also starting a bike delivery service which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Not for money(at a starting rate of 1$ a delivery) but because it’s always been a dream of mine and now I have the time. It also helps my project stated above! I could work a lot more(and make a lot more $$) but time is so much more important to me.
    I’ve got your blog favorited, looking forward to reading more about the path you’re on!

  • Mary Houghton

    Congratulations! Have I mentioned how inspirational your journey and your posts are? I appreciate the opportunity to virtually bike with you.
    Love,
    Mary

  • KEBA

    I am truly proud of you. I am in tears, at the moment. Marianne’s quote…
    never seen it in print, yet have always felt this in my heart.
    It shocked my soul and now I am a little more frightened? Maybe excited??
    I will continue to explore my journey and who’s to say? Thank you both.

    • Hi KEBA,

      Thanks for saying hello and for the very kind words of encouragement. Marianne’s quote is quite stunning and touches hearts everywhere. Hoping you find strength and peace in your own journey!

  • Connie Fox

    Thank you for sharing your dream! Beautiful tiny home! Lovely landscaping. Thank you for the inspiration, motivation, guidance and excitement for a new dream and new life. 🙂 You’ve also given me a great idea for my future tiny home – I’m going to have two porches with railings for my doggies; a front AND back porch! Also thanks for the quote. Profound! Connie Fox

  • Connie Fox

    Maybe I’ll even get into biking. It looks like fun! 🙂

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