I’m a dreamer, I always have been. Not in the typical gazing out of the window during lessons kind of way, rather in the over-think and plan everything in my mind kind of way.
Isn’t it funny how far a dream can go with a shaky foundation?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. As a stubborn redhead, brought up to believe she really can do anything she sets her mind to, when a dream pops up in that vast space between my ears, I decide it’s going to happen. If you were to ask anyone who knows me what my current dream is, I’m sure they would all tell you that I am desperate to move to South America to teach in an international school. They would probably even specifically mention Colombia.
So in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been firing out CVs to different international schools in South America. I then actually sat down and researched the cities in which I had applied. I’ve had my heart set on teaching in South America for about 5 years now, ever since I opted to take my Erasmus in Spain rather than going further afield (a boy may have been a deciding factor in that, look at how that worked out! Stay single boys and girls). And yet, as I read article after article, blog post after blog post, comment after comment I realized – I’m willing to sign away 2 years of my life on a dream I made 5 years ago because somebody else’s adventure seemed greater than mine.
Because that is the truth of it. I want my adventure to be the biggest, the best, the most exciting. Not for Instagram, or to make other people jealous, but to prove to myself that I’m not scared, that I can do anything that I put my mind to. But let me tell you something, I am scared. A city where it rains 50 more days in the year than it does in the UK? A city where it’s 4 times more crowded than London? (Which I hate, incidentally). A city whereby there is a real risk of being robbed at gunpoint**? No thanks. Or, alternatively, to a beautiful smaller city (albeit still 4 times the size of Edinburgh), with lovely surroundings and opportunities for adventure, but taking a crazy huge pay cut for what will likely be significantly more work? (Those private schools really like to get value for money I’ve heard).
It’s crazy when I think of many of the life decisions I’ve made that have been built on dreams I’ve whipped up out of thin air. A lot of my choices have happened simply because I told somebody once that I wanted to do it, and then it became a challenge in my mind, something to complete and tick off. I’ve always lived by the motto that if something scares you, it means that you will grow from it and therefore, you should probably do it. So far, these have all lead to incredible experiences, even if they occasionally lead to me having periods of crying, trying to remember why I decided this was a good idea. Flashback to being 15, sitting on a plane to go and live in Spain without my parents, brother or friends and suddenly realizing that I did not speak a word of Spanish. To moving to Wales to go to university, 2 trains, a boat and a bus away from anyone I knew. To muddling through my first year teaching, crying every night because it was such a challenge. To deciding to volunteer in a refugee camp where there would be no flushing toilets or electric showers. You get the gist of it; I cry a lot.
So what now? I guess now is time for my next challenge – to decide what my next dream really is. Should I stay in Scotland, and spend all my school holidays backpacking, or give up material goods in the name of adventure?
…Or should I follow my new dream, as of 10 minutes ago, to live and work in the Falkland Islands?
Does anyone else plan their life based on loosely formed notions like this? Let me know in the comments below!
**I am aware that times are a-changing and that South America is a significantly safer place than it was a few years ago! However the risk is still significantly higher than here in the UK, and I’m not the most switched on of travellers….