Don’t Just Dream It – Make It Happen

Before we get to where we are now, I’m going to take us back to where the adventure all began for me. Before I moved to Sweden, before Kevin became my handsome husband, I turned a dream into a plane ticket and set off to Europe all by my lonesome for a two month adventure.


Just me and my backpack, enjoying a beautiful day in Interlaken, Switzerland

When I tell people from home about my eight week solo backpacking trip around Europe, the reaction I often get is, “That’s amazing! I wish I could do something like that!” The same response came when we were telling people about our move to Sweden. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that you CAN do something like that. But you have to do it!

Traveling to Europe had been a dream of mine for years. I ooohed and aaahed over friends’ travel photos, I watched travel TV shows, and read books set all over the continent. I had traveled as far south as Guatemala and Honduras, and as far north as Alaska, but Europe was always out of reach. So I saved my pennies and vacation time and kept my eyes peeled for the perfect travel partner.

Then came that fateful day in May 2009. I had been working for a nonprofit company, and as the economy dried up, so did the donations that kept us running. Hard times call for desperate measures, and my position was eliminated in the second round of company-wide layoffs.

With no job and the end of my apartment lease quickly approaching, it was time to make decisions. Instead of looking at these issues as problems, I turned it around and decided they were opportunities. These were the excuses (AKA responsibilities) that had been holding me back from making my big, exciting dream happen, and now they were out of the way. Travel buddy or no, it was time to see the world!

Yes, it was terrifying at times to know I was spending almost all of my money without a solid plan for making more. And sure, traveling alone wasn’t always easy. But man-oh-man was it worth it. I came home stronger, more independent, and with a fierce determination to make Europe my home.

So make a list of your biggest dreams. Write down all the things that are amazing that you would love to see yourself doing. Go ahead, do it. (A mental list will do.)

OK, now answer me this: why aren’t you doing those things? I’m sure you have a perfectly legitimate excuse for most of them, which is fine. No hate, no stress. But what are you doing to make those dreams happen in the future?

The lesson here? Dreams don’t just happen. You have to do your part, make the leap, and go for it. So get started!

celebrate apartment sweden

Signed the papers and it’s time to celebrate – we have an apartment in Sweden!

3 Comments on “Don’t Just Dream It – Make It Happen

  1. ummmm, so how did I never know the story of you backpacking Europe all by yourself?!? excited to keep up with your travels on the blog! yay!

    • Yeah, girl! It was a couple years before I met your lovely self, but definitely the most exciting two months of my life… TILL NOW! Thanks for reading!

  2. Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story. One of my dreams it is to teach abroad but since I’m not an English native speaker I find it very hard, a couple of weeks ago I’ve heard about a Mexican teacher who us currently working in Sweden as a Spanish teacher so I thought that could be an option.
    I graduated as preschool teacher so I do have a teaching license.
    I will try to do as much as I can to make it happen.

    Gracias 💓

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