Dreams are free
One thing that I didn’t know before I started my blog is how much information a blogger or website owner can retrieve about people that visit their site. Don’t worry, I don’t know anything creepy about you, but I do know how my visitors happen upon my blog. Plenty of people come over from twitter and facebook and from referrals on other blogs, but most come over from google.
Now, I can see what my readers type into their google search to find my blog. I get a lot of hits from people googling phrases like “RTW budget” or “travel around the world” or “hiking in Oregon.” It’s fun and interesting to see what people are looking for. The other day I was taking a look at my google analytics stats and I noticed that someone found my blog by googling this phrase:
“I want to follow my dream but I have no money”
And, ohmygod, my heart just broke a little.
Because, you see, I know exactly how that feels. I have so been there. In fact, most of my life I’ve had big dreams, huge dreams, that I never thought would come true because I had no money. Or rather, I had just enough money, but never more than that. In those days, I thought that money made things possible. I thought that, without it, I would be destined to live forever in the world I was born in to, the world of paycheck-to-paycheck. The world of watching other people take chances because they had something to fall back on, while I played it safe because I couldn’t afford a safety net.
Here’s what I want to say to the person that googled those words.
You are already on your way. Because, if you have a dream that consumes you, a dream that keeps you up at night, a dream that sets you searching on the Internet for ways to make it come true, you’ve already got the thing that most people would kill to have. And it isn’t money. It’s a drive, a desire, to chase something bigger than what you are. You have a dream. You carry it inside you. Without it, all the money in the world matters not one bit.
There are two quotes from very wise people that I say to myself when the idea of following my dreams feels too overwhelming and I am stumbling around feeling ill-equipped and lacking even the basic tools to achieve it.
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true. – Richard Bach
And then I remember that even though I don’t know how I’m going to get there, and even though I fear I don’t have enough money or talent or whatever, I have to trust that I was given my dream for a reason and at the same time given the tools to make it come true.
I have to show up and take a step towards my dream, whatever kind of step I can manage. Some days, the step is so small that no one else on earth knows I’m taking it. Some days all I can do is keep the fire burning by saying my dream when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night. Some days it’s writing one single page in my journal. Some days it’s a google search.
And after years of believing that money would give me the security I needed to follow my dream, I finally realized that dreams and money don’t have much in common. In fact, money is the siren song that leads so many people away from their true calling. It doesn’t take money to follow your dreams. But I truly, honestly believe that if you follow your dreams, the money will find you, eventually. Maybe not a ton of money, probably not a ton of money, but it will be enough.
Here’s my advice to that google searcher: If you want to follow your dreams but you have no money, pursue the parts of your dreams that don’t require any money. Practice. Research. Plan. Study. Give everything you can give to your dream. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, remember? Just take the first step.