“Don’t let your dreams be dreams,”

January 6, 2008
By Brittany Blakely, Louisville, KY

Standing 430 feet above sea level, the sun in my eyes and wind in my hair, looking at one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen, it hit me.
My favorite quote, “Don’t let your dreams be dreams,” is actually part of a song by Jack Johnson. This quote is one of the greatest pieces of advice one can receive in life. It has encouraged me to work hard for what I want and never give up.

If asked where I would go if given the chance to go anywhere in the world, I would always respond “Australia.” Having seen beautiful pictures of the Sydney Harbour and hearing about the beauty and history of the country, Australia appealed to me as an interesting place. Of course, I never expected to actually go there, at least not until I was older, wiser, and wealthier. But one day I received a surprise in the mail: a letter from People to People Student Ambassadors Program inviting me to travel to New Zealand and Australia on a twenty-day trip. Of course I was overwhelmed with joy, thinking my trip to Australia had come sooner than expected. However, my parents didn’t quite agree.

After weeks of pleading and negotiating, my parents allowed me to apply. I obviously had months of hard work ahead of me, trying to raise the $7000 the trip would cost. I suffered many denials, after asking for small donations from about thirty companies and only having about five of them respond. All in all, I fundraised only about $2000, but my parents agreed to pay the rest, knowing how hard I had worked.

As my departure date approached, I realized I was actually going to Australia and New Zealand! It seemed I would be ecstatic, but part of me was scared. I was about to leave the country for the first time with twenty other kids I barely knew. I would board a total of nine planes over a course of twenty days, and I had never even flown once before. Was this really my dream?

I spent three weeks across the world, meeting new people, learning about new places and new cultures, trying new foods. I made new friends and stayed with a new family for two nights. After returning home, I was of course thrilled to be reunited with my family, but also disappointed to end the most amazing experience of my life. It was while I was standing 430 feet above sea level, the sun in my eyes and wind in my hair, on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge that it hit me. This was my dream. But now it was reality.

From this unbelievable experience the quote “don’t let your dreams be dreams” came alive for me. The best part of achieving my dream was creating new ones, which I will work hard through all the hardships to achieve as soon as possible because I will no longer let my dreams be dreams.

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