Reset Your Life and Travel with Intention by Throwing Out Your Dreams

Written by Julie K.

HomeTravel BlogJourneys in Personal GrowthReset Your Life and Travel with Intention by Throwing Out Your Dreams

Throw out your dreams. 

You may be feeling as startled as I did about the idea of tossing out your dreams. 


I am a tenacious pursuer of my goals. I work hard to tick every box on the list, to feel that sense of accomplishment. I want to travel with intention, both in my life and in my trips. 


I want to do it all!


Each of us can talk about how the pandemic disrupted our dreams, especially our travel dreams. We’ve all been through the anger, grief, disappointment, and reluctant acceptance. 


But have you ever stopped to consider that maybe your relentless pursuit of your entire list of dreams is causing you to lose out on the now?


Holding on

In 2021, I was sick for two months with Valley Fever which developed into an autoimmune disorder. For nearly two years I’ve fought and struggled to get back to what I considered a normal level of activity and travel. 


To get back on track with my dreams, the whole long list of them.

lady outside writing in journal

There were days of thrilling success and moments of profound discouragement and pain. 


But overall, there was an underlying tension in the struggle to pursue my dreams. It felt like little bungee cords were pulling me back and causing me to bounce. Progress was fleeting and chaos seemed to rule like the bumpers in a pinball machine. 


I felt out of alignment with my health and happiness. 


When I read the Chris Guillebeau New Year’s blog about giving up on your dreams, I was jolted. 


People like us don’t do that. We don’t give up. Ever. 


Chris said, “Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, giving up on your dreams can have the odd effect of leaving you feeling much more excited about your future, due to the sudden appearance of all-new dreams.”


I sat heavily with this idea. At first, I was all resistance. It felt like betraying myself. How dare someone even suggest the idea of giving up.


This isn’t the first time I’d been jolted by the idea of giving up. 



Many years ago, I heard a fighter pilot tell the story of his fear of making trans-oceanic flights due to claustrophobia. A combat mission, no problem. Flying back home across the ocean, big problem.  


Once, after he hadn’t slept all night from worry and with a pounding headache, he aborted a flight home across the Atlantic with his squadron. They were depending on him to be a healthy, fit squadron mate and he wasn’t. 


He gave those of us in the audience that day permission to quit. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. 


I went back to my hotel room after his keynote presentation and sobbed. 


Never once in my life had I been given permission to quit. The idea was foreign and preposterous. It was scary. And yet, it was so absolutely freeing. 

Looking toward the future

Letting go

Slowly during the first days of January, I started being curious about what tossing out my dreams might look like. And indeed, Throw out your dreams. You have permission to quit. 


Here’s a few of the dreams I tossed out:

  1. Flying enough to keep my MVP status. 
  2. Getting a second citizenship and buying international property.
  3. A trip every other week/weekend.
  4. Skiing like a badass all day long. 
  5. A fully flexible work schedule. 
  6. Having a business completely separate from dentistry.


Seeing new dreams

In place of these dreams, I started seeing new ideas and visions that resonated, that felt more in alignment with my health and happiness. 


Visualization is a powerful tool in reframing our future. I began to see new dreams and pathways taking shape. 


I let go of the irritation of losing my airline MVP status and I’m embracing a road trip this ski season. No stressing about all the gear and luggage arriving. I can go at my own pace and pack everything I need to take good care of my health. 


For the next few years, I want to focus more on spending time with my dogs and my parents, all of whom are older. These times are precious. Letting go of my dream of living part of the year in another country gives me permission to relax into these quiet moments of just being together. 


After cutting back my professional work schedule to allow my health to recover, I’ve realized that I miss the structure of a schedule. I like the urgency of deadlines and commitments. Keeping a bit more rigid schedule keeps me on task and focused and it actually reminds me to enjoy the fun moments even more. 


Last Wednesday, I was on the fence about going skiing for a few hours at the local hill. On Tuesday night, I had pretty much convinced myself to stay home and work. But on Wednesday morning, I woke up to an unexpected, fantastic snow report. I pushed everything aside and skied for a few hours. It was a day of pure joy and gratitude. And I’ve had a massively productive week since.


I’ve also visualized how several of my projects overlap and complement each other. The creative work in one project will serve a purpose in another. Now my most important projects intertwine and I’m not trying to choose between what I am prioritizing. It’s all contributing to the same dream. I’m letting go of all the extraneous dreams.


Old dreams, new dreams

And guess what? This doesn’t mean you can’t revisit these dreams in the future. Maybe in another season, the alignment or opportunities will be more favorable. Maybe you will even stumble onto an old dream in a new unexpected way. Just don’t let the dream hold you hostage from living your most beautiful moment right now.  


Travel the world and your life with intention. Don’t drag around a huge roller bag of dreams that aren’t in alignment with who you are and what you need right now. 


Throw out your dreams. You have permission to quit. 


Grab a new carry-on and pack it with new dreams. 

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