The seeds of yet another dream can be traced back to family summer vacations spent in the Canadian Rockies from age ten. Unconventional, we spent our summer vacations at youth hostels, which are inexpensive accommodations meant for backpackers and budget minded world travelers. In exchange for free lodging for the month, my parents would manage the day-to-day responsibilities much like a front desk hotel clerk. It was an easy job for one parent to do while the other took me and my two brothers out for day hikes and occasional overnight camping trips deep in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. What was so unique, these hostels were located in secluded picturesque locations with access to natural wonders of the world such as glaciers, waterfalls and canyons. When we weren’t hiking with a parent we would explore the area on our own going off trail. At the end of the day famished from so much fresh air and altitude we would return to the youth hostel as it opened for business and just in time for dinner.
The youth hostel concept is simple, men’s and women’s bunk rooms, bathrooms and a communal gathering area and kitchen. Conducive to conversation, strangers became friends over a meal while discussing their adventures. Hurrying back after spending the day out exploring I looked forward to seeing who’d show up. It was a smorgasbord of cultures. What stood out were the languages. I was in awe that people could understand one another speaking what sounded like gibberish to these ten year old virgin ears–German, French, Spanish and even Japanese–travelers from all over the world. These experiences planted the seed to the dream of someday living in another country and becoming fluent in the language.
The dream first saw the light of day after an obsession with learning French as a first year student at the University of Minnesota. Reading French magazines, books and watching countless French films including one of my favorites Francois Truffaut, I was determined to become fluent. I went so far as to rent films without subtitles forcing myself to understand. I even applied for and was accepted to a half year program in Montpelier in the south of France. A few months away from dream fruition, it was put on indefinite hold after being offered a full-time, well paying job in the printing industry. Sick of being a poor student, I put both the dream and university on the back burner and took the job. A story you can read about it in my soon-to-be published book, 10KLRS (Fall 2021).
Years later, tucked away in the recesses of my mind the dream returned in full force after deciding to finish out that undergraduate degree I had begun those many years ago. Now in my late 30s, rather than France and French it became Japan and Japanese after a trip there with a girlfriend while living in New York. Enamored with the country, culture and language, much like French those many years ago, I dove into learning Japanese during an intensive summer course at the University of Minnesota. It was during this time that Japan became the focus of the dream.
Holding on to a dream and expecting it to be something you envision not only causes suffering, but limits the experience. My expectations created a personal hell on earth.
Come on back for the never ending dream postings. Dream 3b and the continuing saga of Hell in the East.
Or if you want to get caught up check out the previous dream posts.