Last updated on December 19th, 2019 at 06:29 pm
This past weekend, I made my first trip to the Grand Canyon. It took me six months of living nearby to finally visit this famous place. Even though world travel is part of my big dream, I brushed off visiting the National park because I didn’t think it was a big deal. It’s a canyon.
Plenty of other people I know have been to the Grand Canyon, and while they liked it, they didn’t manage to convince me it was worth the trip. They complained mostly of the crowds, the parking and the cost of staying in the park.
So much for listening to what other people have to say … because I now love the Grand Canyon.
It’s billions of years in the making spread out of 1.2 million acres of perfectly painted peaks, valleys, plateaus and buttes which provide plenty of room for contemplating its creation–yours, too.
With so much room to breath, awe, and dream, I got to thinking how my weekend of camping, hiking, and sightseeing at this natural wonder of the world is similar to my bigger world travel dream overall.
Hiking the floor of the Grand Canyon is not for the faint of heart.
You. Will. Sweat.
Kill your knees.
Get nauseous from the altitude.
Want to quit.
But if you can plan for it and pace yourself, you’re in for an unexpected time of your life.
Going After a Big Dream is Like Hiking the Grand Canyon
1. Dream Big Dreams
You have to make your dreams big enough to stay motivated enough to focus on making them come true. If you never aim for the moon, you never land among the stars, or worse, you never attempt your world’s greatest travel adventures.
Just remember, there’s no failing in travel dreaming, just detours, which can turn out to be the best part of traveling and seeing the new.
2. Have a Dream Map
You need to plot out a plan of where you want to end up both in travel and in life and especially if you’re going to make your dreams come true. Without an idea to form a plan, you’ll never take the first real step towards accomplishing your big dream. There are many routes to choose from, and distraction will win if you don’t pick a specific course to begin your journey.
Know your starting point and pick the end destination. The journey in-between can –and will–change. Nonetheless, having your dream map will keep you sane.
3. Choose Your Dream View
“Choose your view” is posted on signs all over the Grand Canyon. In this vast nature’s playground, you have many choices, but if you don’t choose them, you will miss the viewing experience.
It’s impossible to stop at all of the viewpoints offered, so pick what views call out to you to experience–and one’s you can achieve in the time you have available.
The view from the top of Mt. Everest is breathtaking, but I know I’ll never hike that trail; I’m not a world-class mountain climber. So I maximize my travel time with other views that are within my range to walk, but not so comfortable that I am not challenged by the experience.
4. Be Prepared for Your Dream Experiences
Walking around the Grand Canyon is no place to be reckless. Without adequate hydration, food, shade, and rest, you can find yourself being helicoptered out by a rescue team. It happens quite often to some of the fittest people who attempt to hike the canyon floor without proper knowledge and supplies.
Point being, danger awaits travelers who don’t wisely think about what they need before setting out. Travel can take us to challenging places. Read up on where you are going to be before arrival, use common sense, and have enough supplies on hand to sustain you.
Don’t quit your day job when you start your dream journey. Start small. Study others who have done what you want to create in your life. Listen to their cautionary tales. Have backup plans in place. Understand the setbacks that can happen and plan accordingly. Don’t take risks that will implode your life.
5. Enjoy Your Big Dream Journey
With all the danger/caution signs scattered along the paths in this spectacular national park, it’s also essential to look past them to see the splendid Grand Canyon views while keeping your safety in mind.
8WomenDream contributors write a lot about the “Your dream is what you make it” principle and to choose an attitude to roll with whatever happens when you are working on your big dream.
Do roadblocks appear? Ask yourself why. Are they keeping you safe? Warning you that you are headed in the wrong direction?
While frustration can set in when outcomes are not as you had hoped, take time to adjust your thinking and to enjoy the sights that now surround you.
If a hiking sign warns me to stay on the path due to certain danger, it does not stop me from taking in a natural beauty surrounding me. And I certainly don’t give up my hike, turn around and leave the Grand Canyon. How crazy would that be?
Be excited about the opportunity to adjust your dream plan and try a new approach. Don’t simply walk away from your big dream.
6. The Path to Take is Not often Clear
I must say the Grand Canyon trails are expertly maintained and marked. However, there are lots of other hidden trails that people hike that you will not find on a gift shop map. At some point in time, none of the main trails had names either, but someone had the vision to create them.
There will be times when your big dream might not have a clear path. Maybe no one ever traveled down that dream path before. Perhaps you are the one being called to blaze a new trail. You need to carve your way for your big dream journey.
I’ll leave you with the words of the psychiatrist and best-selling author, M. Scott Peck:
“Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another.
The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness. Abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and to begin to think multidimensional, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience — to appreciate the fact that life is complex.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.
For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. So if your goal is to avoid pain and escape suffering, I would not advise you to seek higher levels of consciousness or spiritual evolution.
First, you cannot achieve them without suffering, and second, insofar as you do achieve them, you are likely to be called on to serve in ways more painful to you, or at least demanding of you, than you can now imagine.”
Thus the dreamer’s journey.
Katie Eigel is a freelance writer and social media strategist specializing in travel adventure stories. Katie currently works with best-selling authors, fortune 500 companies, and start-up entrepreneurs to strategize how to amplify their brands online and offline. The 8WD project will tell you that Katie’s 8WD travel stories profoundly changed people’s views of what it means to live your travel dreams.
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