What Happens When Your Once-in-a-Lifetime Dream is Over?

Friday, December 02, 2011

Path to Happiness

"Are we where we want to be and doing what we want to do?"

A month after coming back home from our 6-month trip around Asia, I bought Paulo Coelho's new book called Aleph. The book invites you to consider the meaning of your personal journey and asks the question above. I thought it was a bit presumptuous for a little book to tackle the issues I've been constantly dealing with since my return.

During the 3rd session of our Travel Talk + Photography exhibit, one person asked what our plans were now that we're back. And just like that, I was suddenly forced to face the question that I've been dreading most. I drew a blank. I literally had no answer for her.

I froze.

If you would have asked me this question at the start of the trip, I would have easily said India! After having heard Lois gush about how she fell in love with India, I wanted to experience everything for myself. I've always been intrigued and inexplicably drawn towards this country. So, if you would have asked me in March, I would have said I'd spend 2 months backpacking India.
If you asked me about my future plans back in May, I would have given you a different answer. Surprise, surprise!

During this month, we arrived in the little Thai town of Chiang Mai. Spending 2 weeks instead of the 3 days originally planned made me realize that I could live here temporarily to rest and recuperate (physically and financially) before moving on to my next destination. I also met another Filipino, Ralph, who could offer me a job. By June, I was sure that I won't be going back to the Philippines at the end of the trip but would go straight to Chiang Mai instead.

Coelho says that life is the train and not the train station. It's now been 3 months since I've been back home and my answer to that question has changed several times more. This leads me think that my life is not just any ordinary train but the freakin' Shinkansen!

I've found out that when you've left everything behind, when nothing's tying you down, when you start from scratch - You realize that there are endless possibilities that lie before you. The fact that you can do anything and everything makes you reel a little bit sideways. Yet the big question still remains: "What do I really want to do?".

I'm almost done with Aleph yet I'm no closer to finding the answer to this than when I first started reading the book.

I've finally decided to trust and follow the signs. And at this moment, all signs point towards Singapore. My instincts and that small practical part of my brain say this is the best path to take. Or just the best path until I can top up my escape fund for the next Sole Sister adventure.  I'm just going to trust and let fate dictate the outcome of this adventure. I'm just going on this roller coaster ride that's called my life. But damn if I won't be doing it with my eyes wide open, hands up in the air and enjoying every moment of it.

I don't know where this will lead or how it's going to end. I don't know where I'll be a year from now. I still have no answer to the BIG question. But maybe no one really does.

To be continued,
Sole Sister Chichi
"Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t." - Baz Luhrmann
*Photos (except main one) from We Heart It

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33 sole trails

  1. When my once-in-a-lifetime dream is over.... I just dream a new dream :) After our RTW, my next dream to fulfill would be doing a RTW with 2 kids. LOL. Seriously, good luck Chichi. My sister by the way just signed a contract this morning for a job in SG. I'll visit you guys there!

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  2. I remember when i arrived back here after staying for three months with my family in the UK. Biglang ayoko bumalik sa corporate especially when personal problems said hello when i arrived here. Until now, di pa ako nag-yes to any job opportunities kasi i know that i might move somewhere again. Singapore was an option din for me since some friends moved there. Yay. Torn between family and my career. Chos.

    I suggest go to Singapore! Andun naman si Ron to save your sanity hehe :D More travels and sana lovelife din for you, Chichi! :D

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  3. something tells me i'll also be looking towards Singapore when my travel time is up (fingers-crossed not in the near future). so i guess, i'll see you there. lol.

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  4. Tabula rasa - It's so wonderful to start off on a clean slate. Singapore sounds great ^.^

    And I agree with pinaytraveljunkie, when the dream ends, go back to sleep and dream again! LOL

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  5. Go lang Chichi! Wherever you end up going, whether for work or pleasure, I'm sure you'll have a blast!

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  6. basta kung saan ka masaya chichi, suportahan taka!
    i will be solesisters forever fan! woot woot!

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  7. when one dream became a reality, I just dream again for another one and hoping that like the first one it will be a reality too hehehe (its a cycle haha)

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  8. Grasya | grasya.comDecember 3, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    you've come a long way chichi.. im sure where ever the future will be, it will be the best for you. seize the day always ^_^

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  9. That's perfect Gaye, meet up sa SG with Ronita! Im thinking of this as just a short transit until the next big dream ;)

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  10. PTD kicking in right Mica? En route lang to just until I can save enough for the next long-term trip. This time, why not make it 1 year or more dba?

    Hahahaha I've had more than enough of the love life stuff to keep me from sanity ;)

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  11. Unforch, my travel time came up Paul. SG ang sagot sa travel pangangailangan natin! See you there, later rather than sooner. Safe and super fun travel ahead!

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  12. Oh Im sleepwalking now just until I get to dream again ;)

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  13. Oh that's the ultimate plan Lecky! 

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  14. I do my best to ride this rollercoaster with arms raised and shouting all the way Nina! I think that's the key to it ;)

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  15. Love love the nickname, would love it even more if we can put the name and face to the nick! Thanks for the support ;p

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  16. Exactly Jerome! If you can make 1 dream into a reality, who's to say you can do it several times over?

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  17. I trust in that Grace. I've always trusted and it led me to where I needed to be. Im sure this time won't be any different.

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  18. James told me about your plan last time we met. Actually, been thinking of working in SG since last year since some of my closest friend works there at yung feeling na panic mode na ako kase tumatanda na. Kaya nga I planned the SG trip last summer to check how it works there. Unfortunately, my trip gave me a bad sign. lol  2nd half  nxt year might try it again kapag fail yung plan C ko.  SG would be my plan D. hihi 
    Excited for you Chichi! :)  You're such a positive soul, I'm sure you'll make it big and find the answer to that epic question. Life is too short to dream small! Kaya gora lang ng gora! Ipon muna, tas travel uli. ;) Aja! *powerhug*

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  19. You must know who I am! :)December 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    We still have it in our head and heart, mon cherrie amor! Palau!! India, Nepali, Tibet!! And many more to come! xx

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  20. I also don't know what I want. I went to SG to look for a job and waited for the job for so long just to find out that I wanna go back to the Philippines. After 2 weeks of working in SG, I quit.  And now, I'm confused if I made the right decision. Maybe I really don't know what I want. I just can relate to this post.  Anyway, goodluck to you. 

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  21. "There is no Path to Happiness, Happiness is the Path" - thanks for sharing, I looove this! I shall repost! :) I can relate to what you wrote  because it took a while for me to figure out what I want, like 10 years ata and I constantly change my mind so who knows what I'll want in the next few days. haha! 

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  22. i think thats beautiful about life, we never really know what will happen next(not something to be scared about... well a little scare should do us well once in a while i guess). or atleast some people(like us) let things be, its more exciting like that.

    i just dropped what i thought was a dream job... technically last day of work bukas...
    some people would say i failed, again(3months lang ako sa work). id say i lived(living..gang bukas haha) the dream. and to have lived a dream will never be a failure. 
    -npkdefensive ko dun ah..ok i failed.haha

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  23. singapore lah!:) Dyan din ako punta hopefully next year need to save money for future travels and for the family as well. Anyhoo..goodluck!

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  24. OMG!!! Congrats for winning the Best Travel Blog award from the Phil. Blog Awards!!! ^_^ - Lecky

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  25. That's exactly the plan Gael, save up and then travel. Here's to dreaming big and following our own path. 

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  26. Oh you know it Harry-keens! I foreseee that you and I shall be meeting at some intersection of our lives and travels. Definitely China, India, Nepal, Tibet and Palau. Why don't we add SoAm to the list?;)

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  27. Even though some can accuse us of not really knowing what we want, no one can accuse us of being cowards in trying to find out what it is we really want. Just like what you did in SG Gracey. The great thing is whenever we think we made the wrong decision, we can always make it right.

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  28. I truly believe in what the Buddha said. Our happiness is the path we make and not some path set out by others for us. If that path is one filled with u-turns and backtracks, then it's fine because it's the path you chose. 

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  29. It's one big adventure right Ayan? Kudos to you for leaving because you know you're not happy. Most people would be scared into staying in one place because it sees easiest. 

    You're not being defensive at all Ayan. You're making people (including me) rethink the path they are on. 

    ...to have lived a dream will never be a failure. No truer words have been said.

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  30. Looks like our paths will cross then Killer! Good luck to both of us ;)

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  31. hi chi chi - have u been here in SG? ... 

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