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5 Kind of Easy Steps to Following a Dream

A Ten Minute Read

DCIM102GOPRO

“It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?” ~ Jim Carrey, Actor

     #1-Find that Dream:

Deep inside of us all is a pesky annoying little dream which we dismiss on a daily basis. We dismiss it, because we think that it is just that, an annoying little dream. We don’t take it seriously. We think it is not worth much of anything. At some point, for some reason, that dream came to light in the back of our minds. But, the stigma surrounding the thought of a dream, kept it there.

Looking deep inside all of us there is something which is calling us or has already called and been answered. Maybe you are already chasing that dream. For many though, that dream will never be realized, because the person didn’t take the first step to even admitting they had a dream at all. Life gets busy. It becomes complicated by relationships, expectations, the need to make money and survive. We have these expectations and these boxes which confine us to a certain degree. We think we are limited by our options by an age and forget those dreams.

Instead, I want to encourage you to limitless. Don’t box yourself in. Don’t shake those dreams off to another day. Take some time to think about what you truly want from this life. What you are able to give back and where you would be the happiest. When you are at your best, the people around you will be the same. With a little searching, you can find your dream.

They are inside us all, whether we already have realized it or not. That’s the first step, if you haven’t already done so, do a little searching.

     #2-Share that Dream:

After that pesky dream has been acknowledged, it is time to start sharing it. Whether that be annoying people online about said dream or telling random strangers. Sometimes, it is easiest to tell someone about these types of things who you have never met before. Some of the first people I told about my dream to cycle the world, were people I had only met for a few moments. It was a truly liberating feeling, expressing my ideas for the first time. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe again. No one laughed at me, because it was clear I was sharing something important. When someone is genuine, we as humans usually take the time to listen. Whether any of these people truly thought I would follow through, I have no idea.

Once you feel you are truly ready to break the news with your inner circle, I recommend by sharing it with close family and friends. This is like pulling off a band aid over a patch of hair. Just come at it with all of your conviction and strength, knowing that it is the right thing to do. I assure you, the feeling will be much more gratifying when it is all over. You will feel a huge sigh of relief and your inner self with thank you for letting it all out. Don’t be hurt if everyone is not 100% on board at the beginning. You cannot expect them all to be. As long as they hear you and mildly understand what you are saying, that is half the battle.

After this, the ball will start rolling. Whether the people you love simply ignore your words, berate you, quietly listened or completely agree with your plan of action, you will have come through one of the highest hurdles. Sharing that dream is one of the hardest parts, trust me. This step is necessary, because by announcing it to many people, you are tied to your dream in many ways. If they heard you, they won’t forget what you said. They will remind you and hopefully help push your forward. It is important to share those dreams.

“The percentage you’re paying is too high priced,

While you’re living beyond all your means,

And the man in the suit has just bought a new car,

From the profit he’s made on your dreams.”

~ Steve Winwood, Musician/Songwriter

     #3-Build that Dream:

Now that you have shared your dream with your little section of the world, it is time to build that dream. This is one of the most exciting parts. Working towards something that you would like to change in your life or a new path to follow. Honestly, a dream can be anything. It can be making a commitment to lose 50 pounds. Maybe you would like to completely switch career paths at the age of forty-five and go back to school. It could be getting out of an unhealthy relationship. Maybe it is coming to terms with your sexuality. Maybe you would just like to be a little more compassionate. Maybe you have always wanted to sky dive. Maybe you always wanted to travel Europe. All of these things take some sort of courage to start.

Whatever your dream, big or small, it takes a bit of time to build. Successful dreams, do not happen overnight. Professional athletes, musicians and artists, mostly did not arrive after one day of work. They too all had a dream and had to work towards something they believed in. Most people who follow a dream, especially if it is outside of their comfort zone, had to sacrifice. Sometimes they had to sacrifice a good many things. Whether that be time spent away from home, giving up a bit of comfort or investing hard earned savings into something you have truly believe in. The larger picture will become much more clear as you near that starting point.

Trust me, some of the hardest moments in my life were in the building stages of a dream. That waiting, that work, that not knowing if it is truly a good idea, or you will be successful at all can be difficult. But, a little belief and hard work go a long way during this transition period. Build that dream one day at a time.

DCIM102GOPRO

     #4-Start that Dream:

You can do all of the building you want, but you need to pull the trigger and make that change. Dreams are like losing a bunch of weight. It is not a one-day deal; it is a whole lifestyle change. Crash course diets do not work over time, because they are miserable and unsustainable. You’ll eventually give up, if you do not enjoy something. What you are looking for with a truly life altering dream is building yourself up to the point where it is a lifestyle change. It is a change in mindset and internal goal setting. It is strange to me that many of us give up weight loss plans that we hate, but not jobs or partners that we hate. I don’t really see the difference. If it bothers you that much, make a change.

We are all at different stages in our lives, so a person who is seventy may have completely different life goals and dreams, compared to someone that is twenty. For someone much older it may be going back to complete some unfinished business and for the twenty something, it may be taking that initial leap into the unknown. Whatever age you may be, I want to remind you that it is never too late to start. You are never too boxed in.

Throughout my travels around the world, I met some of the most inspiring people, doing amazing things. Some of them were living their dreams under the most difficult of circumstances. I could see the passion in their eyes. In many cases, the idea of age is only an idea, category and number you put yourself into. The idea that we are all classed equally by our biology is a mistake. From the people I have met, I can honestly tell you that you are never too old to make a change.

It all starts with a single day. Light that dream.

     #5-Live that Dream:

Now, the most exciting part of the whole experience. Actually living the dream on a day-to-day basis. The waking up and knowing what you are about to do that day, is exactly what you would like to be doing or a path you would like to be headed down. You are firing on all cylinders, engaged and awake. You are not walking asleep through life, but living in the moment as it should be lived. You are losing the weight, you are entering new relationships, traveling Europe or even cycling the world.

All of these things started with a dream. A choice to make a change. We only get one life. There is only one of us. Why stay weighted under the prescribed notions of society when there is so much possibility out there? Throughout our years as citizens of the earth, we are influenced by a larger body of direction. A direction that keeps the wheels spinning, so to speak. We are conditioned by culture, media, religion and circumstance throughout our lives. However, I believe now more than ever, we are at a time in history where exploration, dream building and opportunity are more possible than ever. We have every chance and ability to access new sustainable horizons, if we do it in the appropriate way.

Living the dream is the best part. To embrace a new happiness with a plan to be the person we always knew we could be. To leave that comfort zone and try something new. To accept happiness and change. Dreams are forever. It is not one single act, but a new direction of thought. If you do not continually dream to make change in your world, your new vision will become stale. All choices have a meaning, as do all dreams and our present state. Always move forward. Look around you, educate yourself and read between the lines.

Living a dream is the culmination of years of neglect to our inner selves. It is like saying sorry and truly meaning it. The act of living that apology.

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*If you are looking for more information on how to build you dream, take that trip you always wanted or hear a little bit more, please feel free to email me anytime at markquattrocchi@hotmail.com

**You can check out my cycling video around the world for a bit more motivation below.

 

Human Boundaries: Biking Nicaragua with Free the Children

A 14 Minute Readimage

To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task” ~ Sophocles, Greek Tragedian

The human experience. One of the greatest gifts one could ever be privileged to. We have the potential to break personal boundaries and share with the world our individual powers, strengths and failures. Being accepting of our weakest points only makes us stronger. Keeping up appearances is destined to end poorly. Unwrapped, this is who we are. Approaching our flaws and growing from them makes us allow us to be who we really are. Embrace those weak points, by making them strong.

I’ve had thousands of hours to contemplate the human experience. What does it mean to be human? With the media in our faces and online glamour profiles we have become closer connected but increasingly disconnected from ourselves. We want to create the best image of ourselves. Online we can represent ourselves in business, personal and social forms. This connection has sometimes made us shallow and vain. In the last few years, a new dream has been born without definition or shape. It is frustrating and the world is trying to keep up in a race with no finish line.

Before, the road to ‘happiness’ was more defined. Family, kids, house, car and job. At least there was a goal, however somewhat materialistic, to work towards. We are more free to choose now than ever. Life shouldn’t be lost to hours on your phone or a checklist of gains. It is a beautiful experience, you just need to look up and look around. That is the main issue. There is no guide book. And there never should be. There is no definitive right or wrong way. Each individual should have the power to be their own person. To live their own life. That is why I cycle for education. Because it gives hope to those who otherwise do not have the same choices or options as I did growing up.

This brings me back to the human experience. It is just that. Life should be about each other. Helping others achieve their goals. Sharing in the achievements and bettering the lives of our fellow people. Whether they be right next door or on the other side of the world. We are all players in a spinning, living, natural world. We have the power to make a difference in our personal and broader world. We should leave a legacy that is real. Choose bright human futures, over decaying plastic superficiality. Life is the book we are all destined to write.

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I was very excited to be in Nicaragua. The land of beautiful lakes and soaring volcanoes. It was the thirty-third country on my round the world tour. The terrain became instantly very flat, I had a pretty good tailwind and it was much cheaper than Costa Rica. I also had a lot to look forward to in the coming days. I would be meeting up with the people at the Free the Children community of El Trapiche as well as the Me to We team in Nicaragua. However, first I had to get there.

I got off to an early start from the hole in the wall where I slept the night before. The wind was generally on my side and I passed through a windmill farm along Lake Nicaragua. It is a massive lake that apparently has predicable winds year round blowing off of it. By the time I reached Rivas I was starving. I even met a French couple as well as a Slovenian cycle tourist on the way. I ate a massive and cheap breakfast. One of the best breakfasts I had in a while. Basically rice and beans mixed called Gallo Pinto, served with fresh salty cheese, eggs and tortillas. You can see the recipe for Gallo Pinto HERE.

I had only planned to make it to Rivas that day as I wanted to go see the volcano that sits within Lake Nicaragua. However, it was Good Friday and was told there were no boats running that day. While I thought about what to do I found a Burger King with internet and drank unlimited sprite. I decided to just make a break for the historical town of Granada where I was to meet my host, Camilo, the following day.

It was Holy Week so many people were on holiday, making the road extra busy. I hunkered down and made it into Granada at the end of a nice downhill. I found a cheap place on the outskirts of town and a got some dinner before bed. Exhausted after another long day, but feeling good about Nicaragua so far.

“I am still profoundly troubled by the war in Nicaragua. The United States launched a covert war against another nation in violation of international law, a war that was wrong and immoral.” ~ Bianca Jagger, Nicaraguan Human Rights Activist

The following afternoon I met Camilo for lunch and got settled in downtown Granada with his help. It was nice to see a friendly face and actually just do something normal for once, like meet someone for lunch. I was more excited than he knew about simply meeting for lunch. Almost all of my meals are alone or rushed at the end of a long day. It was nice to chat over good food with a friendly face. Not often is there someone waiting to meet me.

I explored around historical Granada for the rest of the day and the following morning. Camilo arranged for me to join a Me to We group from Winnipeg for a tour of the city and to visit ‘Café de las Sonrisas’. I met a nice guy named Joe, with the organization, and we headed to the café together. There we listened to Antonio’s inspirational story of how he came to Nicaragua and started a café where all of the employees are deaf. He also has a workshop that only employs people with handicaps to make hammocks for sale. He is an truly passionate and talented individual who is currently making a huge difference in the lives of people who would otherwise have few options for employment. Nicaragua would be a very hard place to live with any sort of disability and he gives people bright futures. Together they are making a massive hammock out of old plastic bags, which you can see below. He is also a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.

After lunch the group asked me to speak about my ride around the world. Antonio was a hard act to follow, but they were a great audience with a number of questions. The students had some time to do a bit of exploring around Granada at the end of the afternoon and then we said our goodbyes. I never know who I am going to meet on this trip. That’s what is always exciting.

The lake is known to have been controlled by pirates as early as 1665 when Henry Morgan led six shallow draft canoes up the San Juan for an attack on Granada.” You can also read more about piracy on Lake Nicaragua and the real Captain Morgan HERE.

The next day I took my time cycling to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. On the way I took a break at the historical Masaya market and walked about for a while. When I reach the city ‘Where the streets have no name,’ I navigated my way to where Camilo had nicely arranged for me to stay. The streets actually have no names in Managua, making finding anything a bit difficult unless you live there. I went with Camilo that evening to meet another Me to We group and to hear him speak passionately about the history of Nicaragua and the work of Free the Children. You can read a brief account of the complex and interesting history of Nicaragua by CLICKING HERE.

Early the next morning was the big day. Up at 5:30am, I had a quick breakfast and set out towards the Free the Children community of El Trapiche. It was a direct 25 kilometre climb up to where I would meet a group of boys from the community. We would then cycle the rest of the way to El Trapiche together. I was very excited and spun my pedals in low gear all the way to the top of the pass. It took almost three hours of slow climbing, but I finally made it with the boys waiting to shoot down the dusty road to El Trapiche. There is a drought in Nicaragua at the time, so things were even more dry and dusty. This made for quite the fantastic downhill bike ride.

It was a dream come true to cycle with these kids to their school. We laughed together as we rode down the crazy road and talked about what music they liked. They were divided among their taste of Justin Beiber. I can understand the division. The youngest of the group was the strongest of us all it seemed. On a few very steep hills we all had to get off and push as he climbed on up. The one boy told me that they ride the road once a week to go to the highschool on the weekend. Two things that are a testament to the reality of life in rural Nicaragua.

We arrived thirsty, hungry and a little dusty. After a some food and a water break I shared my journey with the people in the community through the help of Camilo translating. It was so nice to hear their questions and reactions to what I have and hoped to accomplish with my trip. The one man said that to them I am a hero. I almost welled up when I heard this. In my day-to-day existence, my trip seems incredibly normal to me at this point. Navigating countries, finding places to sleep and embracing different cultures is essentially what I do. I have come to understand that I am good at what I do and am still able to have a lot of fun while doing it. An experience I wish all of the world could have.

Later that morning I helped with digging the new playground for the school with a Me to We group from Canada and the United States. It was fun getting to know the students, facilitators and teachers. After lunch I shared my journey to the group. We discussed my route, struggles I have faced, the change that they all can make in the world and following dreams. I call it ‘Finding Your Bike Ride’. In that very moment they were in the process of youth helping youth. For many young people, I think the experiences they have through Free the Children truly set in after they get home and return to the privileged reality of Canada. They see the reverse culture shock of the differences between societies. They see the power they have to actually make a change. To put a smile on a face and brighten the world for others is actually a very real possibly.

I was welcomed that night to meet Camilo’s lovely family and joined in for dinner after a full day. After the experiences we shared, I am proud to call him my friend. I am always blown away by the wonderful and passionate people Free the Children have on their team. I said my farewells and was off riding towards the colonial city of León the following morning.

I road past windy lakes and more stunning volcanoes. Nicaragua is one of those countries I would like to return to and explore more. The people are very friendly and are excited to share their home with the world. Arriving in León I found a hostel to park my bike and explored a bit of the city. At one of the focal points during the 1979 revolution, León represents more than just colonial fingerprints. People fought from street to street in a struggle to regain control of their freedoms. As you walk about you feel that there is more in the air than old churches and historic buildings. The revolution is in the eyes of the population. A lot has changed in Nicaragua in the last few years. I hope to return one day and see the continued progress and improvement of the daily lives of the people. Education, will be at the heart of this positive growth.

When I arrived at the border town of Somotillo some five kilometers away from Honduras, I checked into a rundown little guesthouse. As luck would have it I found a retired cycling couple from the United States there. Mike and Linda were headed south. We chatted that night over some dinner about our rides and routes ahead. Unexpectedly they even paid for my dinner. They said it was their contribution to my nice charity work. You can read about Linda and Mike’s journey at GONE 4 A Ride. Their trip is nearing the two year mark and they hope it will last another eight as they make their way around the world.

The following morning I was off fairly early and pedaled onto Honduras and the next chapter of my Central American adventure. After Nicaragua I was filled up with emotion and good vibes. I felt like I was really making a difference. That my ride was touching the lives of more people than I ever thought possible. The dream of changing the lives of individuals as I went and they changing mine in return, has been a continuous aspect of my journey. The power of the individual never ceases to amaze me. I felt like the wheels on my bike were rolling on more than just kilometres. I was being pushed by the hope and strength of the people. This is the human experience that drives me forward.

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*At the moment we are moving our way towards the goal for the schoolhouse in Shuid, Ecuador. Please keep the people of Ecuador in your thoughts as they recover from the most recent devasting earthquake. As far as I have heard everyone in the Free the Children communities are doing okay as well as staff and Me to We volunteers. Only $4,000 to go to reach our goal after a kind sponsorship from Tom & Pat Morell. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

**It has now been a year since the passing of my cousin Jamie Quattrocchi. He was tragically swept away by a rogue wave while sightseeing with his girlfriend Brittany at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia last April. Thanks to the hard work of my Aunt Caroline, Uncle Jim, Brittany and support of the community as a whole back home, improvements have been made to safety at Peggy’s Cove. We all miss you Jamie and think of you often. You can read the article on improvements by CLICKING HERE.

***I am making my way through the hills of Mexico at the moment. It is a beautiful country with great food and a lot to take in each day. This week I reached a huge milestone at over 30,000km cycled since starting my journey. With home on the horizon I will be moving more quickly than usual, but still stopping to take in that which surrounds me. Thanks for reading!

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Adopt-A-Village Initiative ~ Free the Children

A Video on the Beauty of Nicaragua ~ A Must Watch!

Bruce Springsteen ~ Streets of Philadephia (For Antonio)

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