Happiness is Making Dreams Come True
Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path. ~ Phillip Sweet
I’m weird, that is a fact that anyone who knows me, or anyone who regularly reads this blog will not likely dispute. Now I don’t see that as bad thing, or a negative descriptor, so maybe using the word unique would be better, but I’m kind of partial to weird. The ways in which I’m weird are pretty much innumerable, but what is apparent to anyone who knows me well is that I don’t do ordinary or normal, they bore me.
One place this really shows up is in the way I view work and retirement. I spent a long time in college, far longer than most. Then, after my 19 years in college, I started working at a college, of course. However, having started a bit later, having a lot of student loans, $140,000 to be precise, and leaving college with another $60,000 in short-term debt, my prospects didn’t look great in 2002 when I took my first full-time career position. Now, let’s be clear, I’d been working full-time for years while I was in college, but in 2002 I took my first career position in higher education.
Given these realities, the idea that I would work until I was 60 or 62 and pull some standard retirement and then go travel and do the things I dream about, seemed an unlikely scenario at that time. So I needed a new plan, the one I came up with was to start taking mini-retirements. That’s one name for them, I also call them runaways, others call them sabbaticals, or really long vacations, walkabouts or more negatively small mid-life crises. Starting at 40 I didn’t actually take the time but planned a series of events and invited 40 people to attend them including my first trip to Burning Man. It was at 45 that I really put my plan into action, I took 9 months off and I spent time hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park, cycling in Western Ireland, hiked the Great Glen Way and then did a 22 day trek in the high passes of the Himalayas to go to Basecamp on Mount Everest.
My first mini-retirement was quite a success, I met some amazing people, went to some unbelievable places, wrote a book (that will likely never see the light of day) and the time off led to the creation of the Ministry of Happiness.
Of course, since my first mini-retirement had gone so well, the next one, especially since I was turning 50 this time, had to out do the first one. First off, I decided I needed to take a longer vacation, I had planned on a year. Second, I wanted a challenge, something that would utterly and completely stretch me and challenge me both physically and mentally. I decided on attempting a thru-hike of the 2189 mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine on the east coast of America. My plan was to do as much of the trail as possible, and no matter how far I got, to write a book about my time on the trail. As regular readers, or those who have bought my book, Appalachian Trail Happiness know, I made it 1000 miles before an injury stopped my hike. But the additional time I had allowed me to do some other things, I swam with manta rays in Hawaii, whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium and took a trip to Churchill Canada to photograph polar bears.My time off went magnificently well, I spent money more slowly than anticipated and eventually ended up taking almost two full years off.
Making dreams come true – Seven hikes on seven continents
So I’ve been planning my next mini-retirement. Not that I’ve been idle in between, I did a trip to Jordan last December and a nice hike into Havasupai Falls in the April. But I’ve been steadily planning for my next big adventure. The overall plan is all about making dreams come true and I have always dreamed about having visited all seven continents. So for my next adventure I’m going to complete that list of seven continents. I have not been to Africa, Australia or Antarctica so why not go do a hike on each of those continents. Then, like they say, go big or go home, why not go do a hike on all seven. So that’s my dream and my plan, to do seven hikes on seven continents.
North America – 500 more miles
South America – Machu Pichu
Europe – In Scotland, the West Highland and Great Glen Ways
Asia – Base Camp at Mount Everest
Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro
Australia – The Overland Track in Tasmania
Antarctica – Any footsteps on Antarctica I’m calling a hike!
This weekend I finally mapped out the logistics for all seven hikes as far as timing is concerned and it looks like I can accomplish all seven in about seven months. I will of course also be writing a book about my experiences. My plans also include looking for some corporate sponsorship and/or doing a jKickstarter or Go Fund Me campaign.
So my friends, I’m starting to look forward to my next adventure. I’ve always been someone with a lot of fantasies and dreams, and I’ve always believed in making my dreams come true. So I’ve got a lot to get done before I can take off again and it’s time to get planning, working and getting ready. But don’t let me be alone in this my friends. What are your dreams? What are you doing to make them come true? You can make them come true, it just takes passion, planning and time and you have all of them. So go out and make your dreams come true and have many happy days and a happy life my friends. ~ Rev Kane
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