Top Three Secrets to Making Your Dreams Come True

Follow these three simple steps to make your dreams a reality.

People who know me know that once I commit to a goal, I accomplish it. I often hear “I wish I could do what you do,” whether it’s a career change, a body makeover, or planning to travel the world for a year. “How do you do it?” they ask. In this post, I’m going to share my top three secrets for accomplishing what I set out to achieve.

Europe trip June 08 135

Avebury, England, 2008. Way before I lost 25 pounds.

First, let me brag a little on some of the things I’ve achieved that seemed impossible at first:

  • After a 28-year career as a hairstylist, I graduated with honors at the age of 44 with a BS in chemistry. 
  • While I was in my first year of graduate school and living on a student income, I quit school and bought a brick-and-mortar business, building and all.
  • When I  lost said business after seven years because of the economic crash, I had to file for bankruptcy. Talk about starting over! My life was a blank slate at the age of 53, which sounds fun, but it’s not. After taking a year off (living on unemployment), I decided to become an editor, having no idea what that even really meant. And in just three years, I have an editing business that provides exactly what I want: the freedom to take my work on the road and travel for a year.

Before I go any further, I want you to think about something you really want to do, something that seems impossible. Now ask yourself what is stopping you. It’s probably the usual: family commitments, job, not enough money, not the right time, I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m too tired, and on and on.

While all of the reasons you have for not doing what you truly want to do are real, I am here to tell you that you can remove virtually all obstacles when you really, really want something. But removing obstacles is another post. Here I want to share with you my top three secrets for reaching my goals:

1. Decide you’re doing it. Just. Decide

     Yep, for everything I’ve ever accomplished, I started by simply deciding that I was going to do it. I think this is the number one most overlooked and underrated step in achieving your goals. Once you decide, you’re on your way. (Commitment is built in to decision, by the way.) When I decided to become an editor, I had NO IDEA what to do. But because I had decided, I took the steps to research what it takes to become an editor. I also spoke to people who were already doing what I wanted to do. And I did that. Now, with my decision to travel the world for a year, I’m connecting with people who are already doing it. They are so willing to share how they’re doing it that I’m a little overwhelmed with the information I’m collecting! 

2. Visualize yourself doing it.

   That’s right, start vividly imagining yourself actually DOING what you want to do. What is the weather like? What are you wearing? What are you eating? Who is around you? Where are you? What do you hear? When I decided to become an editor, I pictured myself taking my laptop to coffee houses, parks, anywhere I could be outdoors sitting in the sun. I hadn’t realized then that I was also visualizing working while traveling. Now, as I prepare to travel around the world, I visualize myself in shorts and a t-shirt listening to the sparkly splash of a nearby waterfall as I feel the spray from the water tickling my face. I’m eating goat meat off of a banana-leaf plate. You get the idea. Visualize as clearly as you can exactly what you desire.

3. Take the first step, no matter how small.

   What is one tiny thing you need to do to make your dream come true? When I decided to edit, I offered my services for free everywhere I saw the opportunity. I had no idea what I was doing, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I started telling everyone I was an editor long before I could actually claim to have the skills. I had decided, I was visualizing, and I was taking action. For my RTW journey, I immediately socked away the little bit of cash I had on hand. It wasn’t “extra” cash, either, but my bills were paid, and I had some money to set aside. I also immediately cut out discretionary spending. No more daily coffee out, no more new lipstick or going to the movies for now. It is far more important to me to set aside that money for my travels. I also started contacting people I knew who lived in various countries around the world, and asked others for their connections. I started an Evernote notebook. (Geez, I love that app.)

So, whatever your resolutions are for 2015, take just one thing you really, really want to do. And if you really, really desire that, try taking these three secrets to heart. And maybe, just maybe, you will find yourself joining up with me in Indonesia or New Zealand or Croatia or . . . 

Happy New Year! Make at least ONE of your dreams come true in 2015!

Oh, and please follow my blog and leave a comment. I really appreciate it!


An RTW Journey Starts with Planning

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

That saying has never felt so true to me as it does now, one week after committing to traveling the world for a year, after a year of planning.

This morning, as I was making my coffee, I was loudly singitraveltheworldng Joni Mitchell’s song “Both Sides Now” when one of the phrases struck me to my core: “But now they only block the sun. They rain and snow on everyone. So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.”

I sing this song a lot, but today I heard these words as though for the first time. I understood them as a metaphor for how we can be blocked from what we truly desire in this one life we live, blocked by CLOUDS! Soft, wispy CLOUDS! Most often, we create the clouds ourselves by the choices we make. We choose jobs, family, community, and those are all GREAT choices. By virtue of any choice we make, though, we step off the path of another choice. It is the nature of choice.

I have created a life where nothing is blocking my way to a RTW journey. (That’s “round the world” speak!) I can take my work as a freelance editor on the road. I can rent my home in Oregon, sell my non-essential belongings, and put the rest in storage. I can enlist the help of family and friends to maintain a support system on the ground. I have removed all blocks to this incredible, exciting, and completely possible adventure. The clouds are no longer in my way.

I have lived a very colorful life. I have always been adventurous, and I have incredible memories of some times I’ve had. But in the the last decade or so, my life has become smaller and smaller, feeling more and more like I’m looking through shades of grey. But now I have awakened, the clouds have parted, and I can see in vivid color once again. It is never too late to live in color.

I have always had a deep desire to travel; I took my first solo trip when I was 19, traveling to England, Holland, Germany, and France. I didn’t know a soul, yet I remember feeling so free, so excited to be traveling! I had no fear. I met people everywhere I went. I felt alive in every cell of my being. I have since been back to western Europe four more times. I’ve been other places as well, so over the last several decades I have made do with short trips, as most of us do who want to travel.

And now, in this first week of planning my year of traveling the world, people from all over are connecting me to others in far-flung places. I will not be alone! I look forward to being welcomed in people’s homes all over the world, connecting with friends I simply haven’t yet met. And the travel hacks! The secrets of my fellow travelers! These kindred souls open themselves wide to receive yet another adventurer on a path around the world and share all that they have learned on this pale blue dot.

Since the day I decided to travel for a year, a whole new world has opened up: the world of solo travelers, men and women who are living their dreams on their terms. I am joining their ranks and once again living in color.

One Year to Plan a Year

One Year to Plan a Year.

One Year to Plan a Year

Well, I IMG_0448am making it official. Today is the first day of, okay, the rest of my life, but more specifically, a year to plan a year (or more!) of traveling around the world, or RTW. (Those of you who know me know that once I set my sites on a goal, I achieve it.)

I have, consciously or unconsciously (or both), been preparing myself for years for this to happen. A few years ago I created a new career that allows me to work wherever there is an internet connection. As a freelance book editor, I get work from various publishers, including a big one in Chennai, India. I’m ready to purge most of my belongings, although I’ll keep my house in Southern Oregon for a while. But I’m ready, willing, and (finally!) able to begin the preparations that at one time seemed so daunting.

I’m already making a list of people I know around the world in Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Australia, England, and other places. This is a great way to start an itinerary, by the way! (If I know you and you are in another country, please say hello and remind me!)

I used to think I needed the safety and security of a home and community, and while those things are still valuable to me, there is so much more I want from this one brief moment of time I have called life. I can’t save the world, I can’t make a huge difference, but in my own small way, I can touch the lives of others around the world as I enrich my own. I’ve already discovered several RTW travelers, men and women, old and young, who are living their dreams. Every one of them says the same thing: it’s not as hard as it seems, once you get started.

So here it is. I’m starting. Join me?IMG_0449