Do we dream differently on the trail?


DREAM3

According to the Dream Dictionary, travel plays a significant role in our dreams. Places we’ve been, places we’d love to go, and places we’ll never go. But what if we are already out there traveling?

Three weeks before leaving Sydney, my dreams took a sharp turn. Waking drenched in sweat, I would feel the passionate, mind-bending visions coiling around me.

Radioactive monkey-spiders. A talking dog, that also plays the harmonica. Jimmy Fallon trapped inside the body of a mongoose.

After 2 years living abroad, I was preparing to quit my job, pack up my life, say goodbye to a continent of friends, and take off on a grand Trans-Siberian journey. Outwardly, I was tranquil, collected, primed. Inside, my soul was screaming out like a canary snatched from a windowsill and sling-shot into Narnia.

Traveling brings thrill, passion, adventure, romance, and inspiration into our lives – but it also brings risk and uncertainty. Fortunately, we have dreams that allow us to process the complex emotions and disabling fears that we’re unable or unwilling to contend with in our waking lives.

For me, interpreting my dreams in those precarious weeks before and during my travels enabled me to process the colossal changes and uncertainty. I found that ‘angry monkey spiders’ turned out to mean-I don’t like packing. But should stop avoiding it.

Then mongoose Jimmy Fallon actually had a lot of useful information on how to make friends in Russia.

Some scientists believe that dreaming is the same state of mind that schizophrenics experience. It’s an environment where all our wildest passions can explode to extremes we would never conceive of in reality; and it feels great.

By this logic, our “nightly madness” clears the cobwebs of doubt that inhibit us from expressing ourselves fully and listening to our souls guidance. Tally ho!

 

Saying goodbye.


Image

The first thing we are taught in this world is how to say hello, but nobody ever teaches us how to say goodbye.

I am not talking about waving to your kindergarten teacher as you cross the hallway to the first grade classroom. Or the way you feel when your older brother goes off to college for the first time. I am referring to the soul shuddering farewells that shift the polarity of your known identity. The kind of partings that make you question all the decisions you’ve ever made in life.

Crouching beside my fourteen-year-old dog, her milky eyes teemed with liquid trust. Steeling me with her caramel gaze, she took no notice of the suitcase by the door. I cradled her silver muzzle between sweaty palms, trying to strike a balance between denial and an overwhelming appreciation for all that she is.

This is the kind of goodbye I’ve encountered from the moment I left for Australia, two and a half years ago.

Travel-hungry expats understand this kind of raw reality better than anyone, as by the nature of travel we find ourselves meeting and parting, perhaps forever, from a multitude of exceptional people. But what do you do when these periphery encounters become a significant part of your life?

After several years living and working abroad, I find that there is no such thing as goodbye. You can’t produce an equation or cook up a recipe to soothe an ethereal sense of loss. If you could, I feel that would be doing a great disservice to all you have known and experienced.

While time, space, and the waking world may separate us from the people and things that we have known and loved in the past, they are never truly dislodged from us once embedded.

Goodbye is a graveyard that I spend life speeding by, only glancing at from the heated seats of my volvo station wagon. But every now and then I have to pull the car over, stop the engine, and take a saunter through the old parts of myself.

Greeting others is one of the most beautiful tokens of social expression and the true goodbye is an eternity of hello’s to the past.

 

Happiness is.


fiji

Following her trip to Fiji, my friend Olivia spoke of a boy she met on the street.

“We ran into a group of enthusiastic, fresh faced locals, having some fun on a break from work. They were the happiest group of young people I have met in my life,” She said.

“One boy was ecstatic because working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 4 cents an hour, he had finally managed to save enough money to take his brother to the movies. It was inspiring; he had not one bad word to say about his lifestyle.”

Incandescent with pleasure, he was oblivious to the unfairness of his situation and happy as pie with the cards he had been dealt.© Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels GT14-9157-2

Conclusion: Happiness isn’t conditional, it just is.

It’s sad that from an early age, we are spoon-fed propaganda that forces us to believe that to be happy, we need things. We must buy this, go there, study that, or change who we are to meet some kind of social standards. And THEN we will be happy. But we never get there.

That new Maserati feels great for a few moments, and then we are onto the next consumerist quest. The next item on the master checklist. Then the newer models roll out and 5 minutes later your ‘state of the art’  technology is obsolete. It’s the “Give A Mouse A Cookie” philosophy on a universal scale.

In an image-obsessed society where creating the perfect ‘you’ is just a credit card click away, we stake all our values in the wrong pots. As humans, it’s natural to compare what we have to our neighbor, but the social schematics of first-world living drives this instinct to disgustingly unnatural heights.

And it extends beyond materialism. Until I “get this promotion” or “reach that status”,  I will not be the person I want to be. When did we start measuring self-worth by what we don’t have, instead of what we do? “I’m not good enough.”, “I can’t afford that.”, “I’m not ready.”

© Matt Dayka - Vitamin Angels GT14-9181As that choking veil of inadequacy settles over you and an unsatisfied wish-list drags you into a dream-dashed depression, remember one boy in Fiji who has nothing and everything at the same time.

All things strange and all things beautiful


Leafing through my tattered, coffee and God knows what-smeared journal, I communed with the tornado of decisions that led me to this moment. Career, family, friends, future. Everyone has a plan, but you can’t anticipate the uncharted.

If someone had told me 2 years ago that I would be living in Australia today, I would have said, crackerjacks! No way. It seems like a lifetime ago that a tapestry of coincidental fragments conspired to bring me to Boston’s International Airport with all of my worldly possessions.

I can’t say that it was any one detail that inspired me to abandoned a wonderful and supporting family, stable job, and devoted network of friends for a foreign country. I do know however, that I found the idea intoxicating.

The day I left, so many questions were bouncing around in my head, but only one certainty. I’d never felt more alive. To me, moving 10 thousand miles to the other side of the planet was a delicious challenge. I had something exceptional to prove, I just didn’t know what.

The people I have met, the knowledge I have gained, and the sublime ubiquity of total independence has taught me that the most terrifying thing about life is the thing  you didn’t do. It swallows you whole; a looming nightmare of potentiality.

Settled in Sydney after well over a year, I thrive on a diet of comedy and common sense. Cultivating a clarified identity, the purpose of this blog is to record every current of excitement, every epic fail; all things strange and all things beautiful.

Image