So, what happens when your dreams come true? Aren’t dreams supposed to be just that – dreams? They’re not for living and fulfilling, or so we’re sometimes led to believe. And if somehow all of the lucky stars align, you save all your pennies and focus enough so that they do come true, is there really a ‘and they lived happily ever after’? Can you ‘live the dream’ or does life cease and all excitement evaporate once that dream has been lived out?
For those of you who regularly follow this blog (and, probably even if you’ve only ever visited once or twice) you’ll know that I have been obsessed with San Francisco. Yes, the city in California, America. I spent hours reading blog posts and reviews about anything to do with San Fran. I’d sigh wistfully at pictures on Pinterest. I’d tear out articles from magazines and add ‘must-dos’ to scraps of paper in my handbag. It’s fair to say that I had more than a fair share of wanderlust for San Francisco. It was my dream. My big, fat travel dream.
To be honest, I don’t know why as big cities aren’t usually at the top of my list. I prefer the less well-known stops or the second cities. For some reason though, San Francisco resonated with me so much. Just an utter of the words could bring me out in a smile. I created a dream version of San Francisco that I was ready to hop, skip and jump over to in a heartbeat’s notice. I mean I even told strangers that I’d happily move there even though I’d never been.
Last May I was ecstatic at having finally booked my flights over there for a trip in December, which coincided with a big milestone – my thirtieth birthday. In the months leading up to it my planning, prepping and researching notched up a level as I made The Ultimate San Fran Plan. I was determined to make the most of every single second and not miss out on a thing. I didn’t want to come home and have anyone tell me that I’d missed out on an amazing restaurant or quirky neighbourhood.
So having returned home just a few weeks ago, after a jam packed schedule it’s fair to say that it’s still sinking in. I can’t quite believe that I actually went there. I keep looking at my pic with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as evidence that it really did happen.
If I’m honest, San Francisco wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. Some bits were much, much better and some bits worse. For example, I had no idea how many homeless people there would be in San Francisco. Admittedly the walk from the subway stop to my first hotel was via the road that is famed for them, but I wasn’t prepared to see people with serious mental issues having full blown conversations with imaginary people. At first it was entertaining to hear such funny conversations about the most random things, but very quickly it became very saddening. It also made me very grateful to be able to not only have a beautiful home to call my own, but enough fortune to then be able to travel.
Equally, San Francisco embodies the free spirited vibe that I thought it would do. It has a hippy, laid back attitude that definitely makes it stands out from other cities. On the day of Santa Con (a day where lots of locals dress as Santa) I saw a naked man just walking down one of the busiest streets in the city with just a tiny shimmer of tinsel wrapping his, erm, package. Then there was the time I popped into a small boutique and commented on how lovely a tester pot of face cream was. Before I knew it the owner had given it to me, waving away the $30 price tag like it was no big deal.
I’ll be sharing lots of recommendations, reviews and tips for things to see and do in San Francisco, where to stay and lots more in the next coming weeks (you can see them here), but in terms of my travel dreams, what now? I’d spent so long visualising the trip and fantasising about what it’d be like, that I forgot to think about life after San Francisco. I guess the same happened after my round-the-world trip.
We, or at least I spose I, put our heart and soul into our travel dreams, so much so that there’s no room to contemplate the end of the trip, or even the aftermath. Why bother wasting time on the after when there’s time for excitement and anticipation? And who knows what will happen during the trip? Being the big dreamer that I am, I often like to think that maybe some life-changing moment will happen during the epic adventure and everything will all become clear. However, the reality is that life isn’t as simple as that. Life itself is an adventure, or something cheesy like that. And, I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for as I pretty much have everything I could want and get to spend it with my favourite people.
Having returned home, I guess this post is a note to self (and possibly you), that life after travel dreams is just the part of an amazing journey. Onwards and upwards to lots more travel dreams. Who knows – possibly even back to San Francisco…X
What are your travel dreams? Have you been able to live out any of them?