Sunday, 22 August 2010

Dreams, redux - warning, long!

I did Lottie Love's D is for Dreams challenge about 10 days ago. It seemed to spark my subconscious into actually thinking about the bigger life questions, because I want to revisit that challenge.

First though, I know two bloggers doing the "101 things in 1001 days" challenge: Skippy & Minirhi and Rachel is doing 30 Things Before I'm 30. I have my own list of 30 before I'm 30 - the idea of doing a new thing every 10 days for three years just seemed overwhelming, given my impending move to London to become a student!

My 30 before I'm 30 list
1) Visit Egypt again - Nile, Pyramids, Cairo, Aswan etc. Possibly a dawn hike around St Catherine's Monastery.
2) Visit Jordan (Completed: October 2010)
3) Visit Israel, especially Jerusalem (Completed: April 2011)
4) Hike the Inca Trail
5) Visit Venice before it sinks (New Year 2010)
6) Hike the Two Moors Way (Complete: July 2010)
7) Hike/cycle another long distance path (Coast to Coast? LEJOG? Appalachian Trail?)
8) Visit my relatives in the Orkneys (Booked for September Summer 2011)

Learning things
9) Learn Arabic, at least to basic conversation level (In progress: Oct 2010 - May 2011)
10) Get my Master's degree (In progress: LSE 2010-11)
11) Learn archery (starting summer 2010 - basic qualification done)
12) Get my Mountain Leader (Summer) Award (2010-2012)
13) Take singing/banjo/guitar lessons
14) Record singing/banjo/guitar/piano
15) Learn one dance style (In progress: Lindy Hop & Charleston aka Swing Dancing)

Making things
16) Make a corset
17) Knit myself socks from 4-ply yarn (In progress: Dec 2010)
18) Find my "style" (House of Colour day, summer 2010)
19) Make more clothes than I buy
20) Do another year of "Homemade Christmas gifts"

Charity/ethical things
21) Volunteer overseas for 2-4 weeks
22) Become an Army/Sea cadet Instructor
23) Volunteer in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter over Christmas (complete 2010)
24) Extend fairtrade / organic / happy meat shopping ethics beyond groceries
25) Stop sending Xmas cards (apart from close family) in favour of charity donations

Other things
26) Go to a professional opera production (2010/11)
27) Go to a professional ballet production (2010/11)
28) Run a 10k race or do a Sprint Triatholon
29) Buy a house
30) Plant a vegetable garden

On a related theme, I have a list of things I'd like to accomplish while I'm at LSE. Some are duplicated of the above, but some are new. This list will probably grow before it starts to shrink!

Things to do at LSE
1) Graduate. Duh. Perhaps this should read "Graduate well". I'm not going to put myself under pressure to get a Distinction since I've finally learned that Academic Achievement Is Not The Be All And End All.
2) Learn Arabic
3) Intern in politics or a think tank
4) Audition for a choir...and ideally join!
5) Have an article published, eg in The World Today

Finally, my subconscious presented me with a life-long dream: I've had variants of this for several years, and some elements have persisted for over a decade. I have no idea how this would work out in practice, given my current circumstances. However, Lottie's challenge was to dream regardless, and maybe the universe will arrange things in such a way you can spot the opportunities to make it happen.

My life at some indeterminate point in the future...
...looks very little like my life at present or even in the foreseeable future. I want to have experienced (not just seen) much more of the world. I love learning about other cultures and history, and standing in the wilderness with a vista, and no signs of human activity. That's pretty much (one of) my idea(s) of bliss. However, I've also learned that however much I love to travel, I need somewhere to call home, somewhere I have roots in both physical and social senses.

Thus, I need to combine the wilderness with a place I can truly call home. Apart from one 4.5 year period, the longest I have lived anywhere in the last 14 years is 18 months, and while I'm very practised at boxing up my life and moving it, I'd really like to not have to do it too many more times. What I see as my dream future then, is this:

I have a smallholding, which is self-sufficient year-round for vegetables, any fruit the UK can grow, meat & eggs. There is a small amount extra which I preserve or sell. The smallholding takes in visitors of several types. There's a camping barn & field, and probably a bunk-house. In the term-time, school groups come to work the soil, tend the animals and learn basic cooking with ingredients they have picked themselves. In the holidays, families and groups of friends come and stay for holidays. There's a space which can be used to run yoga, photography, music and other "retreat" style workshops. I have two adopted* children and a stable relationship with a significant other. I have time to raise the children, and be active in local & charitable organisations. I grew up in a village with a real community feel, a summer fete, a maypole festival and all the other trappings of a quintessential English village: I'm determined to find a corner of England where those traditions live on, and make my home there.

*I really can't envisage the whole pregnant-and-baby stage. I've tried, and my mind insists that The Dream starts when they're at least toddling. I've given up arguing with it on this point.


  1. Hello! I'm back and it is lovely to 'meet' you on here. Thank you so much for taking part in Finishing School and writing such amazing posts. I have really enjoyed them.

    You have a lot of exciting plans ahead it seems.We have a lot of things in common it would seem :-) Two things I can recommend. When you go to London search our a West Coast Swing class. There are classes all over London with West Coast Swing UK or UK West Coast Swing. It is the best form of dance - I love it and such a great thing to do for fitness and a fabulous social life.

    Secondly, on the dance thing again I highly recommend you go and see one of the Mathew Bournes Ballets. They are very different to a traditional ballet but so beautiful and not at all dull - very, very watchable.

    Good Luck in London. It's a wonderful city to live in. We were there for three years and I loved every minute. One day we intend to live there again.

    Lottie -x-

  2. What a wonderful list. I'm sure you'll enjoy all of these experiences.

  3. I can't believe I missed this post. Great list! :) How long do you have to get through them all...? (I realise I have no idea if you're older or younger than me)

    I'm entertained that everyone always assumes my list has 30 things on it. I didn't count them: I just wrote down the things that seemed to matter. I don't think it's 30!

    Also, I feel the same way about pregnancy - as much as I love children, I simply can't imagine putting my body through that, and there are more than enough people in the world already. If I ever decide I need to be a parent, I would much rather adopt.

  4. @Lottie - have been in touch with Cat, and am going to the workshop on Saturday by way of intro to WCS. It's not quite Jive, but there's yet time.

    @Rachel - I've got 2 and a half years. It should just about be doable... I used 30 things as a target, there are more things I want to do that aren't on the list but I like the roundness of 30-before-30.

    I'm glad you get the whole adopt-not-pregnant thing: not many people do.