Photo by renedepaula
Do you have too many interests and not enough time?
Here's a quick way to try out your secret dreams, create some new ideas and sow the seeds of your next adventure - all without leaving your desk.
Today I used it to feed my "travel jones" during lunch: I went to Brazil.
Here's my Lunch Break Dream Launch process:
1. Choose the first interest that pops into your head
Start the process with any dream you have - world travel, music, woodworking. Think quickly and capture the first things that come to mind.
Then write down what your dream is - it's fine to be vague, high-level and even a little crazy at this point. You might want to go to every country in the world or play clarinet at Carnegie Hall or learn how to call square dances. The only requirement is to actually write the idea down.
Then, spend 10 minutes on Google searching for the main words in your dream - for example, "world travel", "clarinet", "square dancing".
2. Get more specific to get more creative
As you get results back, follow your instincts and click on any site that draws your attention. For example, if you like movies and travel, you might do a search and remember that you've always wanted to go to the Cannes Film Festival.
Then do a search on that more specific version of your dream. Look for the details you would need to make a good plan.
Maybe Cannes is too far off for now. But find out when it is. (It's in May and the weather is lovely - I checked).
Maybe you don't have the money to pay for a fancy hotel on the Cote d'Azur or to rent a yacht in the harbor. So search some travel sites to see if there are creative ways to get there - Can you volunteer? Can you offer to lead a tour group? Can you get a pass from a small film production company?
As you begin to dig for details, you'll start to broaden the list of ways you can experience your dreams.
3. When you get stuck, blow it up
If you get stuck or bored, take a different direction.
You could see what other film festivals are going on - there are several in the US. Find one near a city where you have a friend or relative (= free place to stay).
Or think about the "pieces" of your dream. When you think about "Film Festivals", what does that bring to mind?
Is part of it seeing interesting movies? Then find out what is showing at your local Art Theatre or University. Leave work on time one day this week and catch the 7pm show.
Is part of it sharing your perspective? Write a review of the movie.
Is part of it the thrill of interacting with other film buffs? Send a note to the film's director with your feedback.
4. Tangents can become your new path in life
Traveling to South America is on my list of dreams, so today I searched for cities in Brazil and Argentina. While looking for cheap ways to travel, I stumbled across a website called "couchsurfing.org" with a list of people who would let me crash at their houses for free. I searched not just in Brazil, but also in California (where I'm headed on a business trip soon). Then I went to Orbitz and researched flight schedules and costs.
With each new piece of information, I'm building on a plan that can someday soon get me to South America. And I know I'll be able to do it while managing my household budget and my other responsibilities.
See how it goes?
5. What's in it for you
Now, I may not take this particular trip to Brazil. And that's perfectly fine. Even if I never make it there, my Lunch Break Dream Launch has given me some powerful benefits:
I spent time on me. I got to do something just for fun and I broke up the monotony of a regular day.
I focused my brain on what matters to me. Even when I stopped doing the search, there was part of my mind that was still thinking and scheming and planning.
I motivated myself to keep going. Now that I've started planning, I am looking forward to my next 15 minute break where I can find out more and take the next steps.
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