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VOL. 131 | NO. 45 | Thursday, March 03, 2016

Wiedower

Lance Wiedower

Slow Down To Dream

By LANCE WIEDOWER

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I decided to dream this week. That’s not to say I never daydream about things, but I’m a planner at heart, always thinking about the practical side to every decision.

But I woke up last Sunday and one of those daydreams I used to have often in a younger, simpler age hit me. I’m reading “Wild,” the fascinating book by Cheryl Strayed about her journey walking much of the Pacific Coast Trail.

I have zero interest to even dream about making that trek. But it sparked an idea I’ve long dreamed about, possibly since the first time I heard Nat King Cole croon those words to “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Could I get my kicks on Route 66? The 2,400-mile journey travels from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean, passing through St. Louis, just a few hours north.

Allow for just a moment the opportunity to dream about possibilities. It’s something I did on this Sunday morning; it’s something I never do. But what’s wrong with dreaming sometimes? Maybe I could make the drive west, possibly just a portion of it.

Travel dreams come in every shape, budget and style. There is no right or wrong answer, either.

Dream of your feet buried in the sand of the Florida Gulf Coast? Wonderful. Maybe it’s trout fishing on a peaceful Ozark Mountain stream in Arkansas. It doesn’t have to be rafting the Grand Canyon or walking the steps of the Great Wall of China.

Doling out advice based on a “top 10 travel trends” list is fine, I guess, but without dreams why even bother with those listicles?

Travel stories often get bogged down in the “top 10 beaches,” “five ways to experience Europe on a budget” or “three national parks to see now.” Too often these stories show the perceived perfect vacation without the acknowledgement of it costing three months’ pay.

An expensive travel experience is OK, but it should be your experience, not one a glossy magazine says you should dream about while you slave away at work week after week.

The very nature of a dream is the suspension of reality, but it should be your dream that is suspending your reality.

So for a moment allow yourself to suspend reality. Personal finances are a part of that reality, so also forget about financial limitations.

This isn’t about providing inspiration to travel or giving practical advice for making a dream trip happen. It’s just reinforcement that dreams are OK. In fact, they’re necessary.

Think back, for a moment, to childhood, college or maybe those first moments when the youngest child finally left home. Was there a place you wanted to visit more than all others?

Mine is traveling Route 66. It’s simple enough to border just on the edge of reality, especially with affordable gas prices. But is spending two weeks in a car traveling half of the continental United States a real dream?

For me it is. I can think of nothing better than seeing the beauty of this country roll by as I travel the Mother Road.

Will it happen? Who knows, but it’s a dream that I’m allowing myself to consider. Take a moment to think about what dreams possibly could become reality.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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