Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Following Our Dreams

Last month my 28 year old brother, Ryan, (that's him on the left) set sail on a 31 foot sailboat, bound for Australia. He and two friends were fulfilling a crazy dream concocted on the way home from another wild adventure in Costa Rica. His newest adventure made me ponder again on the purpose of life and about what an education really is. Unschooling is becoming a common term in the homeschool world and is gaining some degree of acceptance, but what about "unschooling" as an adult?
Ryan has traveled on five continents. He has done humanitarian work in Thailand and Uganda; ridden the railways of Europe; hiked the mountains of Peru and filmed a documentary in Panama. As he travels he devours stacks of books and meets people from all over the world. Quite honestly I vacillate between raging jealousy, wishing I too had the freedom to live such a life, and self-righteous indignation about the need for him to grow up and settle down. But this latest adventure capitalized on all my fears, not only for his future but for his safety. Neither he nor his companions are experienced sailors and their boat has been patched together and overhauled as cheaply as possible.
Our family expressed our fears but then we and his girlfriend rallied behind him and his dream. We listened to his plans, bought him gear and prayed for his safety. We had to trust in all the wisdom he's gained ever the years and try to believe that he would be ok. The week he started out we all watched his progress, via a satellite dot, with anxious hearts. Then 7 days into the journey we received word that he had decided to come home. Somewhere in the dark hours of the night he came to realize that not all dreams are fulfilled on wild journeys, sometimes our fondest dreams lie closer to the ones we love. In his returning home I feel a sense of triumph, victory in the idea that when we are brave enough to live our dreams and learn all we can along the road, we also gain the wisdom to make the hard choices, even if that means letting some dreams go.

1 comment:

  1. The Enchantress is 36 feet. 31 would just be crazy. This is really well written. I'm still coming to terms with coming home and I'm sure there will be moments of jealousy every time I check up on Mike and Shawn via the blog, but I feel like I made the right decision. I'm sure there are plenty of adventures and learning experiences still to come.