For every wanderlust person out there, there is a place they wish to visit more than any other. The “one day I’ll go there” place. It’s ok if you never go to a lot of cities and countries, but that one you must absolutely go at some point. It’s fundamental, if nothing else, because it’s a dream.
For me, that place was Disney World, in Orlando. Sometimes when I was a child and I thought my problems were very serious and unsolvable, I would watch some random Disney movie (in VHS format, that’s how old I am) and wait for the credits to roll. When they ended, there would be this promotional video talking about all the parks in Orlando. I remember as if it had happened yesterday: my heart accelerated and a feeling of complete wonder engulfed me. It seemed like the most wonderful place in the whole world, where dreams came true – even at that age, I had a lot of them.
I never got to go because the money was never enough and, after a few years, I decided that I was too old for Disney parks anyway. I replaced the dream, took out Disney and put in its place other cities, other countries. But in the secret space where dreams that are too big never die, I still hoped.
In 2013, my boss at the time decided to send me to a press trip (when you travel for journalistic reasons) to… Disney parks, in Orlando. All paid, all inclusive. From the moment I knew, I got into this dazzled-frantic-panicked-excited-and-slightly-bipolar state that almost made me go crazy with anticipation. I felt like a child again, trembling all over with the prospect of the trip. But the importance of what was happening only dawned on me when I went to Magic Kingdom.
As I was approaching the castle, a show begun. Time seemed to slow down while I watched the Disney princesses dancing with their respective princes, the life-long known songs blasting through the hidden speakers. It was beautiful. Then Minnie said: “Believe in your dreams because they do come true.”
After everything I had been through, everything I lived, all the time I had passed in front of the TV watching those promotional videos over and over again, dreaming and wishing – I actually wished upon a star more than once during those young and innocent years to go to Disney World. And I was finally there, and Minnie was saying that dreams come true to the crowd, to ME, as if she knew about everything.
I broke down. I literally broke down. I started to cry so hard, I couldn’t even see what was happening at the stage anymore. I had to sit because my legs shook too hard. I felt so happy, so absolutely happy. I went through such a mix of emotions that even now I can’t quite find all the words to describe it perfectly. But even in the middle of such intense feelings, I could hear the universal truth shouted out loud in my heart, over and over like a mantra: Dreams do come true.
That unshakeable certainty hit me while I was crying and never lost its strength since then. I can say without a doubt that this was one of the most important and supreme moments of my entire life. You can’t know that because words never tell how they were written, but I am crying again while I write, just remembering what I lived – that’s the level of emotional impact linked to those crucial minutes. The whole trip was amazing and unforgettable, but this instant, wow, it wins easily over all the others.
Now, in case you’re a little prejudiced with all things Disney-related, it’s good that you know that I’m not saying that if you go there and see the same show you’ll be affected the same way I was. It happened there for me because my dream was there – yours can be in any other place in the planet. It could be Paris. It could be Guatemala. It could be Hong Kong.
What I am trying to say is that travel dreams are never irrelevant. They are the most important wish that we have and making them come true is as essential, I believe, as loving someone. If my life-long dream had been to see, I don’t know, Bolivia, and I had traveled to Disney, I would have been impressed with the whole park, but not nearly as much touched by it as I was.
All of this to say that if you have a place you wish to visit more than any other, a place that you have been dreaming about for decades, then go. Don’t dismiss it as something you can do “someday”. Create a savings account, make a crowdfunding campaign. Whatever works. But don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. And don’t let anyone see it as irrelevant or unimportant. It’s yours and it’s worthy of respect – it’s worthy of your trouble to accomplish it. That’s something that I learned that day: that it is essential to make your dreams come true.
Because when you do, boy… You have the most magical moments of your life (no pun intended).
Thank you, Disney World, for giving me that.