Whose Dream Are You Living?

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

Whose Dream Are You Living? Sunrise over Naragansett Bay Newport Rhode Island USA
.                                           . Whose Dream Are You Living?


Thanks to Eric Fulton (@MrEricFulton)  [Co founder of Poplar Travels, luxury travel enthusiast, and adrenaline addict. Sharing unique travel experiences ] for providing the inspiration for today’s post.

I sent a note today to blogging pals James and Terri Vance, who together write the insanely entertaining Gallivance blog through which they share their worldly travels with all and sundry who join the conversation.

My note was seeking their input in answer to today’s question.  I am looking to share a variety of perspectives. Thoughts around the idea of  “The Adventure Filled Life… What Does It Mean To Be “Living The Dream“?”

As I told James and Terri, I plan to contribute discoveries and experiences from my 10 years of solo travel while living abroad.

Photo of a tourist taking a photo of us
Solo Travel Is The Life… For Him

I often hear solo-travel described as the dream of many a traveler- exploring the vast unknown, unfettered and unhindered.

It turns out to be so for my 63 year old brother. John is loving his lifestyle- a dream long desired and recently achieved. I am happy that he sounds so happy whenever he calls and checks in. The dream of traveling the world freely, and alone, once thought to be only for backpacking college students, is becoming a viable dream lifestyle for many retirees and internet entrepreneurs.

Oddly enough, after traveling and living abroad for 10 years, visiting more than 20 countries, only then did I realize that it wasn’t my dream- rather, I was living someone else’s dream.

How did I miss that? How did I not know myself, or, had I just changed as I got older?

And that’s the whole point. Discovering options that fit.

The discussion I’d like to have is not so much solo-travel vs full-time couple travel, or travel at all for that matter.  I want to share ideas around how we go about realizing “our dreams”: discovering what our dreams actually are, developing and setting a plan in motion, and finally learning to be be happy, whatever our dreams may be.

[Speaking of being happy…I sometimes want to ask my friends, when they complain endlessly about life, “Whose dream are you living, anyway?” If you don’t like your life, what are you doing about it?]

So, now you know the reason for the title here today. It’s about discovering what makes a “dream lifestyle” that truly fits us and what it takes to make that lifestyle a real and fulfilling lifestyle.

Here are a few blogs and a variety of lifestyle dreams, to get your started:

Curious Rambler – Margo Lestz  –

An American abroad (with her husband Jeff) in Nice, France, Margo spends time also studying Italian. Who said American’s are provincial? They even let her write a book on “French Holidays & Traditions”…  Oh, that was tricky! I had to watch my space bar there… I did say abroad- as one word, just checking!)

“Margo went to Florence, Italy to study art history and fell in love with that city and with Europe in general. She decided that one day she would like to live in Europe. She and her husband, Jeff, started travelling to Europe often and found that they felt very much at home there. In 2003 they had the opportunity to move to England…” and the rest is history in the making.

http://www.parttimetraveler.com/harder-face-fear-regret/ – Anne Lowery

“I spent five years in a job that I didn’t love, because I listened to what everyone else thought instead of what I knew…since then have traveled to sixteen countries and simultaneously turned my life upside down.  Suddenly, I  became single and searching for a new career, new city, new friends.  All at once.  It’s really scary, but incredibly empowering.”


“And finally, on my trip to Ostia Antica I discovered the first of the Vance family line, Reclinus Maximus. Now I know where I get it.”


“Did we check out of the work force too soon? Will we be able to stay thinking, intelligent people without a schedule given to us by some outside force? Were we ever THAT intelligent? We did retire in the midst of economic crisis, so there’s room for discussion here.”

I am devoting the next year or two or ten to retirement quests. If you have a retirement question you want someone to find out before you take the plunge into that unknown, send it. I have some of my own. Mostly, how to have no job, but plenty fun.

Just what we need. A diverse starting point for this chat.

So tell me, what does your dream life look like?  Start the discussion for us- leave your comments below on your ideal retirement dream, or how you achieved it already!

Add your lifestyle/travel/retirement blog in the comment box and tell us how you made it happen or what problems you’ve had to overcome. Come on now,  the world is waiting to know!


Collage of photos from beach to snow- showing a variety of locations to retire

.                  .    Where Will Your Dreams Take You?


 Photos in this blog post are my own.
Top:  Naragannsett Bay, Newport Rhode Island USA, from Goat Island
Collage, clockwise from top left: Kodiak Alaska USA;  Llfranc Harbor, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain; Red Boat, Naragannsett Bay, Newport Rhode Island USA, from Goat Island;
Snow Alexandria Virginia USA; Bell tower at St. Joan the Abottess, Ripoll, Catalonia, Spain


  1. James Vance
    January 6, 2015

    Thanks so much for the kind words Jonelle, and for the link to our blog. This is a great idea for a series. There are lots of people (boomers and non-boomers) who will benefit from the information. Best of luck with the series. ~James @gallivance.net

    • jlhilleary
      January 6, 2015

      Great! So glad you think so. I have to say, you and Terri are really trailblazers when it comes to showing others how this kind of life can be a reality. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that it was not all that common to ditch a full-time career to travel independently when you two first made the jump. (Is that about right?)

      I think some of your insights (lessons learned) could guide others to see a way to making better plans for a long term retirement that is more fulfilling.

      Any comments you’d like to add or any of your bio background that you’re ok with my quoting, would be appreciated. It will be interesting to see what our other contacts add to the mix as well! Looking forward to a fun discussion at the very least! Best to you both this year!

  2. Thanks to Jonelle at whattheworldtaughtme.com | Marsha's Bungalow
    January 6, 2015

    […] her questions. If you are a baby-boomer thinking about retirement, you are probably thinking about these issues […]

  3. Susan Vasquez
    January 6, 2015

    Hi Jonelle – Love this article. Thanks so much for including me. I found the questions you sent very compelling, and have posted a response on my blog: http://marshasbungalow.com/
    Hope they help and that we continue this conversation.
    Best Wishes – Susan (Marsha at the bungalow)

    • jlhilleary
      January 8, 2015

      Thanks again for your input. I think this will be a uniquely interesting post coming up… waiting for one more of our contacts to weigh in and we’ll be ready to go!

  4. Lily Lau
    January 7, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this post, made me reflect quite a long time…

    • Jonelle Hilleary
      January 7, 2015

      Lily, thank you so much for letting me know that this post resonated with you. I’m glad that you had some things to consider as a result. You ‘ll probably really like the next post that’s coming together with the input from several others. I hope you’ll let me know what you think again, and share your ideas. Thanks so much!


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