An adventurous life.

Just last night, over a characteristically lengthy group text message conversation which included me, my two phone-bearing siblings, and both parents (with some colorful text message hijacking from my 13-year-old, phone-less sister), we bid my younger brother -- recently graduated from Boston College -- a bon voyage on his whirlwind trip across western Europe.  He'll be backpacking from Portugal to France and from Amsterdam to London, connecting with friends and no doubt adventuring in a soul-changing kind of way.  

When I first learned about his trek, listening as he highlighted his stops and tried to cram another pair of shoes into his backpack, I thought to myself -- I am so jealous.  To be able to take off without a real plan, to go somewhere you've never been before and just experience... that's the dream.  

That's the dream.  While it's been years since I've ventured outside of the continental U.S., I'm a sucker for adventure -- from roadtrips to big cities, camping to exploring the hill I live on -- the ability to go and be and see is a true gift.  When I voiced this jealousy to my mom, she said something that stopped me in my tracks... "You know, you could go do something like that, too.  If you really wanted to."

Whoa.

An opening.  A glimpse into what could be.  You could do something like that, too.  All of a sudden, I'm picturing myself in the middle of a crowd carrying my own backpack, watching strangers as they live, love, eat.  Eating delicious food, viewing art, visiting places that have housed history.

But, somehow, in that openness of possibility, I realized... That's not my dream.  I have my own dreams that I'm working on right now.  Dreams that -- just like a whirlwind excursion through Europe -- are packed with adventure and exploration, soul-changing observations and new connection.  Dreams that will take me places, even just to travel inside myself and know myself more deeply.  Dreams that will revolutionize and revitalize, heal and excite. (More on that in coming weeks...)

We see others' accomplishments, others' adventures, and mold our dreams from the images. Perhaps it is because we envision what they must feel like, look like, taste like to achieve or experience them -- and want those feelings.  Imagining my brother's travel, I could smell the bread, taste the local delicacies, envision the strangers I might meet.  In my mind, I felt adventurous and free, courageous and excited. Radiant. Empowered. Engaged.

But, perhaps it is because we have not taken a moment to imagine that we could create a dream for ourselves.  One that feels exactly how we most deeply desire to feel and looks like us. To write a book or start a business, to move to a new city or spend your weekends reading. To build your own home or live without a lease. To give it all up and couch surf or diligently work for financial stability. To find a partner or live alone.  To build things with your own hands or grow things in the earth.  To travel, raise a family, rescue a pet.  To revolutionize what it looks like to be an empowered being in this world or to help women learn to love themselves.  Or both.  Or all.  Or more. 

Your dreams have not been written for you.  They don't look like the movies or sound like a pop song.  They look like you and feel like your beautiful soul.  They're revolutions in their own right.

So, tell me about your dreams.  Maybe we could make some come true together.

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.
— Maya Angelou