I bought an airplane ticket to Ireland today.
I am a “big ideas” kind of girl. When something grabs my fancy, I am all over it, but as they say,the devil is in the details which often prove uninteresting or unrealistic. So, when I told my family a year ago that I wanted to go to Ireland this fall, they smiled politely and moved the conversation onto more plausible things. Besides, a trip abroad to Ireland was clearly out of reach to someone of my limited income—the almost 3 week trip, even on a budget, would cost nearly a quarter of what I earned last year. But I wanted it. I wanted it badly.
Awhile ago I took a job at a bookstore. One day, after I exclaimed how much I loved travel books my soon-to-be-friend Amanda asked, “Well, where are you going to go, then?”. What a stunning question to ask a single mom who was barely past the reaches of desperate poverty. I thought about it for the two years I worked there. Where would I go if I could? Mexico was cheap and close, but I had already been. Italy and Greece were dream destinations, but I couldn’t imagine a way to afford to travel there the way I’d want to. But Ireland — a place that felt like my spiritual home and somewhere I’d dreamed of since childhood — seemed “working class” enough for me to find true budget options.
Two years later, with a hefty income tax return in hand, affording to go was a sure thing. I talked to my co-workers about it, looked up bed and breakfasts, bought maps and guidebooks and dreamed. I told everyone I was going, even when I was going, but I didn’t buy my tickets.
I left the bookstore for a better paying job and my coworkers surprised me with a parting gift: green flowers and a beautiful box carved in Celtic designs filled with money for my trip—one I had yet to even make solid plans for. I was deeply touched by their belief in my dream and their support, but I worried over what would happen if I didn’t actually go. Would people be disappointed in me? Would I seem unrealistic or flakey for not following through? What had I been thinking to even imagine I could do such a thing? I kept the box on my dresser where I could look at it every day. And I though I transferred all the money I had to my boyfriend to hold for me so that I couldn’t “accidentally” spend it, I still didn’t buy my ticket.
I was scared to actually take the next step and commit to what I wanted. I questioned whether I deserved it. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop…the thing that would happened that would prove that I couldn’t and shouldn’t go. It seemed irresponsible to do something so fun—I should spent the money on debt or put it is savings. I wavered. I was pulled between the potential for failure and the chance of success. But I looked at the box on my dresser every day, thinking about the things people wished for me and what they believed was possible.
Before he left town, my friend Ed had dinner with my boyfriend and I, and over a bottle of wine (or two-or was it one for each of us?) he decided to join us on the mythical trip to Ireland.His life had recently taken a beating and he was in need of good things and a change of scene. When I met Ed, I felt like I had just found a piece of myself I didn’t know I was missing. A rare few people have his level-headed, trustworthy and thorough understanding of who I am and I trust him implicitly. He kept asking about dates and tickets and one day I got a text…”Okay love, I have a request and it is going to cause you some stress, but it will be the best thing in the world.” The next text was his ticket confirmation to Ireland. Three full weeks. He was pushing me into a response.
I was stuck now. Not only was I obligated out of friendship to not back down, I was pretty sure that even if my finances completely fell through, he would drag me along anyhow. He understood my wanting and like my bookstore friends, he believed in my dream. I was the only one in the way.
I still didn’t buy the damn ticket.
I did take baby steps—I checked airfares so that I knew what route, departure time and airlines I wanted to take. I wrote it on the calendar at work and waited for my boss to tell me “no” even though it was part of the conversation we’d had when I signed my contract. I asked Neil again and again if he was sure he wanted to go. I waited and waited for something to happen that would tell me no. And nothing did.
It is hard to want something—I mean to really want something enough to dream it into existence. Some people would say that you earn it, or work hard for what you want, but for me, achieving anything starts in the act of manifestation. In knowing to my core that whatever I wish is what I deserve, believing it possible, then trusting that I have already made it happen. Achieving dreams isn’t all about money in the bank or the work put in, it is about believing that it CAN happen and that it should. That I deserve whatever it is I want or need and that everything is going to line up in order for me to accomplish it. This isn’t to say I can be lazy and just get on an airplane,flying off with no money in my pocket (although I do know people this works for!). Part of knowing I deserve what I am doing is treating my dream with the self-care of thorough preparation. And as my bookstore friends and Ed have shown me, a few friends that believe in me lighten the load too!
What finally shifted in me that allowed for me to sit down and buy the ticket? After a particularly challenging day with fibromyalgia, I finally decided, what the hell, life is short. I want to go and all this nonsense about whether I could make it happen was just handing over the controls of my life too…who? Who was in control if not me? Will I become a victim of what-ifs and chances not taken or will I take a risk that could change my life?
So, today I sit with a plane ticket to Dublin for an almost three-week trip this fall. I have a lot of saving to do before then. I will have to cut a lot of corners to flush out my trip fund depleted by the need for a new computer. And I need to figure out how many shoes to take when I “pack light”. But I made it this far—the rest should be easy.
I sure am looking forward to writing in a pub while I listen to fiddles and drink my Guinness. Now if only I could apply this manifesting thing to achieving a livable income off writing…..