Hit The Road
Great trips begin with big dreams
Last weekend, my friend Lee and I were browsing the magazine aisle at Borders when I began flipping through one of those glossy, highbrow travel publications that feature only the most expensive vacation destinations.
"I hate those kinds of magazines," Lee said. "I'm never going to be able to afford to travel that way, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to spend that kind of money."
I didn't really argue; I could see his point. But I didn't tell him that I buy those magazines, cut out the pictures and put them in my "hopes and dreams" scrapbook, or that I believe that not allowing yourself to dream big means limiting yourself to nothing beyond the daily grind.
Ever since I was little, I've had an affinity for journals. To this day, my parents tease me about having been the only 8-year-old to have had two dozen journals, most of them a quarter-full, with lists of things like my favorite rides at Disneyland (Autopia was always No. 1).
My journals have since turned to scrapbooks, which I keep casually. The pages are covered with things that I would like to have one day: a big leather armchair, a room with bookshelves from floor to ceiling, a line of pretty (and expensive) dresses. Over the years my tastes have turned from wanting things to experiences, and the scrapbook has become covered by photographs of trains in Japan, the Andes Mountains, maple trees in Vermont, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and women dressed in colorful saris in India.
RECENTLY, I HEARD one of the teachers of that Oprah Winfrey-induced craze called "The Secret" talking about the importance of envisioning the things you want in order to achieve them. My friend Sahana recognizes this idea as "making your intentions clear to the universe" so that the universe, in return, can introduce these things to your life. Remember that saying, "Be careful what you wish for because it might come true"? Well, don't be too careful and don't limit yourself.
Of course, making it your intention to travel the world might take a long time to become reality. It took me years of reading about London, imagining the city and talking about it before I was finally able to walk its streets. It was the same with Paris. I remember trying to find the Eiffel Tower one day. My friends and I looked and looked, but couldn't find it. Finally, we stopped at a street corner and I turned around to ask one of my friends a question, and there it was.
This moment of actualization happens each time I travel to a new place, created from images I've tucked away in my mind throughout my life. Sometimes they're destinations that I've fantasized about a lot; other times, they're just places that I've thought about briefly. But with every new place, there is that moment of recognizing something from a daydream that took place long before, and with that comes a sense of fulfillment.
Joy Uyeno travels frequently throughout the year, and her column geared toward beginning travelers or youths experiencing their first extended stay abroad appears the second Sunday each month in the Star-Bulletin Travel section.