Under me lay a city of which its people had turned into tiny ants, slowly moving on their everyday routes or random morning strolls. In the distance I could see misty mountains, a glistering river with green riverbanks and fresh rice fields accompanied by the occasional sound of the fire that kept the hot air balloon in the air. Under the floor that separated the basket from the air underneath my feet, was a dazzling space of nothingness. I felt like I was floating. On this particular morning, I grew one experience richer: to fly in a hot air balloon, something I had wanted to do for a very long time (see my bucket list).
Before I made the decision to go on a hot air balloon flight, I had some serious doubts. After all, the flight was rather pricey, and I have always had this romantic picture in my head of sharing the experience with someone special. On the other hand, the amount I paid (76 dollar) was perhaps only half or a third of the amount it would cost me back in the Netherlands. And there, I wouldn’t have a beautiful backdrop of mighty mountains. But my most important pro-argument: if not now, when? Because it’s very easy to postpone the things you want to do. You tell yourself the timing isn’t right, it costs too much, or whatever excuse you can come up with.
But here is the thing: your dreams aren’t going to live themselves. You need to live your dreams. And yes, sometimes you might have actual good reasons for not carrying out every single item on your bucket list in the next month. But a lot of times, there are no real excuses for not living a passionate life, and doing all the things you dream of.
What once was perhaps a good reason for not following a certain dream, now lost its validity and became an excuse to procrastinate.
Deciding to follow your dreams is extremely empowering. Once you make the way for one dream, it seems like doors automatically open to other dreams as well. You start to be more tuned into your desires. You start to recognise opportunities more easily and frequently. You feel in control, because you are finally taking charge of your actions, turning them into meaningful experiences. Travelling by myself was the initial dream that lured me away from my home country, but it has already begun to ripple into fulfilling other dreams and adventures, like hitchhiking or flying a hot air balloon.
I strongly encourage you to write down your dreams. Create your own bucket list. Define what you want in life and how you’re going to achieve it. Making your wishes concrete will help you recognise the opportunities when they come and find you. If I hadn’t made a bucket list and defined that I wanted to fly a hot air balloon one day, I would have probably walked by the sign offering that exact possibility here in Vang Vieng, Laos. I might not even have gone backpacking in the first place. Clarity in what you want is the first step in obtaining what you desire.
You alone are in control. You get one life and it is up to you how you will use your time. You alone get to decide where you go, what you see, what skills you learn, what you want and what actions you take.
Stop making excuses.
Start living your dreams.
What steps have you taken lately to follow your dreams?
Make a plan. Take action. Share your dreams. I’m curious to hear about them.