When I returned from my travels at the end of March several of my dreams began lining up. I felt an intense desire to realize these dreams, like my travels had fueled them, and returning home meant that it was time to act. Something about coming home solidified my need to search for the car that I’ve always wanted to drive. My Dream Car had barreled to the forefront of my mind and wasn’t driving away unnoticed.
Part of this was influenced by the sheer amount of space we enjoy here in the West (I mean the West as in west of the Mississippi River). Growing up in the mountains and deserts we always had a four-wheel drive car. Those cars weren’t used so much for fourwheeling (although we did a little, we mostly mountain biked on that stuff), they were used to drive up Vail Pass in the winter or out dirt roads to go camping in Yellowcat and up in the San Juans. A four wheel drive car meant access to places you can’t do when the roads are bad, and it meant that we weren’t restricted to the path that everyone else took.
I also realized that a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot of lately is really rather true and perhaps it needs to be taken, dare I say, more seriously? You Only Live Once. Carpe Diem. Memento Mori.
I will only live once. The more I explore the world and get to know myself the stronger I feel that I have one life to live and I better do it justice. Working toward my dreams with frameworks like the Life List is a great start. Reading books, being outdoors and improving my communication skills are other ways I’m trying to do this. And being conscientious of how I spend time and money is another way to get the most into my time.
So after researching here and there about what to look for and what to avoid, I found my Dream Car on Craigslist an hour south of Austin. I shared some of my most pressing dreams with Ryan in an effort to expose more of myself and my plans for the future and to convince him to share in my dream too, and either because I’m incredibly convincing or it’s just a really good dream, he decided then and there to share it with me. I’m learning that an incredible thing happens when you share your dreams: the universe conspires to make them your reality.
We went to test drive our first Land Cruiser, set on not buying it because you’re not supposed to buy the first one you see, right? It was on it’s second owner who had driven it for the last 15 years and put a new engine in it sixty thousand miles ago. It has 245,000 total miles on it. The air conditioning and heater don’t work and it has a little bit of rust around the wheel wells and the wondow tinting is a mess. It’s brown, and my Dream Car definitely wasn’t brown. We negotiated the price with patience and teamwork. Then I drove it home.
It’s the perfect dream car because it isn’t perfect. It’s our next project.
We bought it because of what it will give us access to, and how it will draw our future selves. New roads, new adventures, new campgrounds, new perspective. Slowing down. Conscious commuting. A carrier for the canoe. Big enough to call home base.
The French philosopher and poet Gaston Bachelard makes a great point about the intersection of dreams and projects in his book The Poetics of Space:
If these dreams are realized, they no longer belong in the domain of this study, but in that of the psychology of projects. However, for me, a project is short-range oneirism and while it gives free play to the mind, the soul does not find in it its vital expression.
I don’t belive that I can truly posess my Dream Car. Once the object I think of as Dream Car is aquired, it falls out of the realm of dreams and into the realm of reality. And dreams cannot be aquired like cars can. The Dream lives on in my heart and in my plans, and this truck is a proxy, a symbol of those dreams. A reminder to myself to keep dreaming, to chase them, to live them. The dream is very much alive.
This dream took root in the middle of my travels in March, and although I had begun formulating plans long ago, everything sped up while I was moving through Mumbai. While traveling I began paying special attention to how people moved through the crowded city streets, their modes of transportation and their subtle steps through space. Where were all these people going? Why? Do they work like me, run errands like me? Why did they choose the method they were using to get there? Do they have choices when it comes to their movement? Do all of these people think about this? Do they think about it like I do?
And in pondering these thoughts in my passenger seat of the nice, comfortable, air conditioned car maneuvering almost imperceptibly through some twenty million faces by a driver, I realized something so simple it may come across as obtuse.
I realized I am very lucky.
I work hard. I have a good job that affords me enough to pay my bills and set some aside. I play hard too. I live in a nice neighborhood in a cool town and I get to breathe plenty of fresh air, move freely in lots of personal space, I have access to many of the outdoor recreations I love, and I have the leasure to spend my spare time doing what I want. I don’t have to scrape for food, work three jobs or spend hours every day commuting. I’m in debt but I have a great education to show for it. Who I marry won’t directly impact my family’s worth and I am not limited by my caste. I am free to wear what I want, drink at bars with my friends, and it is safe here to travel by myself, without a male escort. I can afford my dream car. I can drive myself anywhere I want to go. This is how I am lucky.