Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, think that your dreams could come true? And did you ever think about, if they did, what you would do next?
If you have Facebook (you’re following Never Ending Honeymoon, right?), then you probably know that there is a fun feature that lets you see your memories with your friends from previous years. Well, today I came across a post that I made “On this day” in 2009.
“Jacqui… is dreaming about not being in Brisbane”
And in the comments below the post, I added:
“I dream about beaches in Thailand and shopping in Paris and partying in Barcelona and skiing in New Zealand…”.
A series of emotions and thoughts ran through me as I read it, six years on. Grateful that my atrocious writing has improved, I was blown away that almost all of these dreams have come true. I bet 2009 me thought that would never happen!
At the end of 2009, Dan and I visited Europe for the first time together. And 18 months later, I was recovering from a two week trip to Thailand with friends, and a two week trip to the US and Canada with Mum and Nana.
Since then I’ve flown on 76 aeroplanes, visited 31 countries in five continents, saw the inside of at least seven hospitals, and had countless adventures. I’ve also written 200 blog posts… truly; this is number 200!
When we first applied for our UK working holiday visas in 2012, we had no idea that our adventure would turn into our never ending honeymoon and that our “grownup gap year” would turn into an incredible journey on which we’d make new life-long friends and explore some unforgettable parts of the world.
When Dan was offered a work contract that would extend our stay in the UK for (up to) three more years, we jumped at the opportunity to continue doing what we love: travelling around the world and working in one of the most diverse, fun and forward-thinking cities on the planet.
But I didn’t achieve my dreams without risking it all and putting myself out there. Our story is one of hard work, compromise, love, sacrifice, adventure, depression, fun, discovery, experience, tears, joy, frustration, late nights, laughter, anger, and fulfilment. And, I’m a big believer that to fulfil your dreams you have to experience all of these things, and more.
Our “12 month honeymoon” started with a few bumps, bruises and broken bones. During our first few months in London we were broke, broken and desperately searching for a reason to stay.
We found jobs, lost jobs and missed out on jobs. We scrapped by, spending our meagre savings and counting down the days to payday so that we could spend our hard earned money on a life-changing trip we had always dreamed of taking.
We met new friends, welcomed old friends, travelled with friends and said goodbye to friends who moved on. We held each other together as we experienced the grief that came from losing a friend forever.
There were fights. There were tears. There were arguments about nothing important. And, disagreements about everything that mattered. In the “privacy” of our shared house, in the street, and on the night bus home.
But most of all, there was plenty of adventure, fun and joy: felucca rides on the Nile River in Egypt, hot air ballooning over Cappadocia in Turkey, glimpses of the Northern Lights in Norway, snowboarding in the Alps, tea ceremonies in Japan, picnics and pub lunches in London, festivals in the rain and mud, fancy dinners in fancy restaurants, and camping trips in the Balkans.
What I’m trying to say is: the love, laughter and good times we share always far outweigh the compromise and sacrifice it takes to achieve our dreams.
Next month we’ll celebrate four years of living in London – an anniversary that doesn’t really mean anything to anyone else and will probably slip by unnoticed. But, for me it’s the fork in the road and possibly the beginning of the next chapter in our lives.
Thankfully, dreams are forever evolving and there are plenty more that fill my thoughts every day.
And nothing could make me happier than looking forward to the next adventure with my best friend, my best critic, and my favourite person beside me.