I recently read Brad and Sheena van Orden’s 927 Days of Summer, a travelogue of their experience driving around the world in a VW Vanagon. It is a chronicle full of adventures and stories. One of which occurs early in the book and relates their meeting Hairi, Nora, and their two sons, a family who lives in a tent on a secluded beach along Malaysia’s East Coast. At one point, Hairi shares this story:
One day he rowed a borrowed boat out to a yacht anchored in the bay. A Scottish man, the owner of the yacht, invited the Malaysian to come aboard. Hairi asks the Scot “how one man can come here on a boat when it is so far away?”
The man tells Hairi, “It is my dream. Anyone can have their dreams come true if they try.”
“He tell me to write them on a list,” Hairi says to the Van Ordens. “He tell me to write down one-hundred dreams and study them everyday so they can come true.”
The humble Malaysian goes home and does this.
His first dream was to have a boat of his own. Since he and his wife have little money, he finds a boat with a hole in it. He didn’t know how to do fiberglass repair but he learned. “Now I have a boat!”
His next dream was to be a diver. It’s very expensive to learn so he got a job at a nearby resort. It turned out that the resort offered diving classes to employees at a greatly reduced rate. He learns to dive. The resort then offers him a position to take guests diving.
One of his greatest dreams was to one day touch a battleship. “Since I was a boy in school I like these big battleships. But the closest battleship is in Hawaii. How do I do it?”
Well, through the resort, Hairi procured a job with a cruise line, one that went to Hawaii. While in port in Honolulu, during one of his breaks from work (yep, you guessed it) Hairi walked up to one of the battleships and pressed his hand to its side…
I used to have a hundred dreams. I didn’t make a list, though, and I didn’t put a sincere effort in attaining them. Since reading of Hairi, a man whose wealth comes not from money or lavish material gain but from the pursuit of his dreams by honest, useful means (as opposed to doing something illegal or ethically nefarious), I have made a list of my own.
There are not a hundred dreams on my list, however. Only 16. This may be because late in life I’ve come to desire less or my priorities have changed. Or maybe, now late in life, I know I don’t have the time I used to pursue as much. Either way, I have a list of dreams. 16 of them.
I won’t share them all, but here are some of the highlights:
- Write a Best-Selling novel.
- See one of my books made into a movie/series.
- Pay off our mortgage.
- Hike to the cliffside monastery Paro Taktsang in Bhutan.
- Learn to play a song on the guitar and sing along.
- Have a conversation with someone in their native language.
- Hug at least one of my grandchildren.
Two things to keep in mind (I tell myself): With dreams, it is not a matter of if they come true, but when. And with all things, it is not the destination, but the journey.