The musings of a wanderer......

Thoughts on Dreams

I was recently asked “what is your dream?” And it really got me thinking. My initial gut response was to answer “to meet an amazing partner and be a mother,” but that felt like a bit of a heavy response to the wide eyed teenager who was asking. So instead I paused and took a second before responding “well actually, I’m kinda already living my dream.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, living in Saudi is more of a nightmare type of dream than one where I’m skipping through a field of flowers while the wind blows through my hair and the smell of lavender lingers in the air. But what I really meant was that I’m not much of an “in 10 years I’ll do this…..” type of person. I’m more of the school of thought that if I want to do something or I have a dream and I’m healthy and able, I’ll do it now. That probably comes off as cheeky and filled with privilege, and some of you reading this are probably thinking “must be nice to have those type of options.” For me though,  it all comes down to choices. Originally, I came to Saudi Arabia with bucket loads of debt based off of years of frivolous materialistic living. I’ve lived on my own since I was 18. I had student loans from nursing school and a propensity towards new flashy cars and I lived off the thrill of putting things on a credit card where they would stay until future Kristine finally had to deal with them. And deal with them I did. It came down to either filing for bankruptcy or moving to Saudi Arabia to sort out my finances.  I chose to move to Saudi to sort things out. This probably was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was able to eventually become debt free, I learned a huge life lesson, and I currently get super stressed if I don’t pay my credit card off immediately. As many of you probably know, that type of financial stress weighs you down and can feel near impossible to pull yourself out of. But it was my choices that got my into that whole mess and it would be my choices that got me out of it.

My own personal choices allow me to travel wherever I would like. I do spend a decent amount of money on travel, but I rarely shop. I don’t buy fancy shoes or designer clothes. But those choices that allow me to travel also mean I don’t have a home base, and I have essentially nothing to my name except a storage unit that I dread eventually having to deal with. I literally have none of the possessions society believes a woman in her late 30’s should. No car. No house or apartment. No husband. No children. Some of these I am ok with, some of them I long for, but just aren’t a possibility right now. This nomadic lifestyle and independence that I love and have chosen are often incompatible with the side of me that would like to have a home base and someone to come home to. I choose to live in Saudi even though I’m sure this has put a strain on many of my relationships and possibly contributed to the reason for my perpetual singleness. That’s not to say that there aren’t dating options here, but most of the ones I’ve met haven’t been good, or like my most recent love disaster had me falling for a completely amazing but totally unavailable man. And now truth be told my heart just isn’t quite ready to meet someone new.

I guess the whole point of this post is that it’s good to have dreams, but for me living a full life is essentially a way of living your dreams as best you can in the now. I don’t really have much control over when I meet Mr Right, and while I could pursue having a baby alone right now I’m just not in that head space. But I can control whether I want to learn a second language, bicycle in the vineyards in France, or go on an African safari. I can choose these things by choosing not to pay for cable TV, or have a collection of purses, or put off buying a new iPhone. I tend to view things in terms of well that such and such thing is a plane ticket, and I’m way less inclined to spend my money on it. The other reason I don’t put off doing things is that as a nurse I often see people who have saved or worked hard their entire lives with plans to start living when they retire, or to take that dream trip in 5 years time. Then they or their partner’s health fails and they don’t get that chance. Instead I prefer to live my life in the present, basing my decisions off the here and now since tomorrow is never a guarantee. I’m reminded of this every time I fly as that’s the only real time I truly contemplate death. My fear of flying results in me spending a large portion of the flight convinced engine one is likely going to fail. When this happens I remind myself even if I were to die today I’ve lived a life. I haven’t just merely existed. I’ve done almost everything I’ve wanted to in my life up until this point. At least the things I have control of anyways.

So let me ask you….“what is your dream?”


  1. Bisa

    I agree with you Kristine. Unfortunately, it took me getting sick to come to that conclusion that I was living my dream. I haven’t been to every country I’ve wanted to visit but I have had some really great experiences so far. And I am happy about that.

    • kristinewanders

      Bisa- I know you get this and I think it’s so important to do things while we can instead of putting them off (as best we can.) Because at any moment we can all be one Dr’s visit away from a totally different life. You have accomplished a ton, and I hope our paths cross again! I really want to go to Holbox but there’s no vacation time available over that week. I do hope Sarah does another Bali retreat- or one someplace new as I would love to attend, but my dance skills are a bit of a hotmess. xxx Kristine

      • Bisa

        Yes, I hope our paths cross again. I’d love to go to Bali again. I do a little dancing around the house sometimes. Lol
        I’ll be on your side of the world in October. I’m going to India and Dubai.
        I’m stretching my vacation days to go to Mexico this time. ?

        • kristinewanders

          Bisa!! Have you been to India? Where are you going? When it gets closer to your trip I’ll give you recommendations on Dubai!

          • Bisa

            It’s my first time going to India. Another first is I’m going with a group. But it’s a photography tour group, so it’s ok. 😉

            We’re going to Delhi • Agra • Jaipur • Pushkar • Jodhpur.
            I was looking for some post on Dubai on your site. I would love some suggestions. Right now I just have a plane ticket. lol

            I’ll send when I start planning.

  2. Debbie McGuffin

    I guess I am living the dream. I always wanted to travel. I had the kids and the job so didn’t. Then the kids grew up and one moved to Australia the other to Japan. Then I was in a work related accident that ended my career.
    So I sold everything and now I live on a small pension and travel. I house and pet sit when ever I can so I don’t pay for a place to stay. I just finished the Camino from France to Santiago Spain. I’m currently in the UK doing a few house sits. Who knows where I will go next.
    Life is not how I thought it would be, sometimes it’s better. Since I have no expenses and no home to go back to. I can go anywhere. Freedom is nice. I love your adventures and hope to go see the places you’ve seen.

    • kristinewanders

      Debbie- It sure sounds like you are living the dream. The Camino is literally one of the top 3 best things I’ve done in my life. I finished in October and since then not a day has gone by where I haven’t thought of doing anther. Hopefully next spring I’ll walk again- just waiting for a foot injury to fully heal up. I’ve looked into doing house sits also- sounds like an amazing experience! Keep on with your adventures! Kristine

  3. Jerry

    You are totally spot on Kristine – it is so easy to go through life putting things off until all that’s lefts are regrets. My wife and I did not take that path. When we met in 1980 we decided to focus on an interesting life, rather than a materialistic one. It is so important to follow your passion, and material things can be gone in a heartbeat. We didn’t lose the house in the Great Fire of Canberra, but the fact that so many of our neighbours did, re-affirmed the way we viewed our material culture. We both realised that actually, we could walk away from it all. We both invested in education and skills-building – following our passions. And as you say, by not focussing on fancy cars or satellite TV or a suburban mansion, we have both pursued our interests to the fullest – including travel to the extent we could afford. Material things wear and break or can be destroyed or taken away, but education and experiences are with you for a lifetime. 🙂

    • kristinewanders

      Jerry I know you and Sharon get this for sure! I love the phrase I collect memories not things. So true. Because when I’m 80 I’m not going to care that I had the latest technology, I’ll be living off a lifetime of adventurous memories which will be far more valuable! When’s the next walk? Kristine

  4. Hesthi

    I resign from my office two months ago. Resign as a health programe development team. Its my bos’s dream isn’t mine. I decided to go to Saudi Arabia, from Indonesia move there looking for a job as a nurse. Become the real me and maybe start to learn how to be a good nurse go to some countries. Learn the difference perspective about my industry, nursing.

    We often become somewhat lost, so venture, but it will be the real you, may find nervouse but eventually be breaver you.

    I have started, so i cant go back no matter what will happen i’ii just go on. It almost like a car race, noone who watch a car race to see who win. They watch a car race to see who crashed and flame. I’ve already light the fire. So I will


  5. Mart

    I feel like Saudi is a pause in the pursuit of my dreams. A necessary pause. A few years of financial replenishment. My dream is just to continue a full time surfing life with my family. I was living it, but the money ran out. However, at least I’ve made the most out of my two Saudi seasons, learnt a lot about myself and rediscovered a love for seeing new places.

    Kristine, love your most recent blogposts. I hate flying too and I imagine dying in every spot of turbulence. Your Ethiopia trip sounded challenging, especially the flight. And I enjoyed your run down of the highs and lows of nursing life in KSA. Look forward to your next post!

    • kristinewanders

      Mart, thank you for your kind words about my blog. Love your photography- you take amazing pictures. I’m going to have to read up on surfing in Saudi!!

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