Saturday 21 April 2018

How I fulfilled my real childhood dream – in India

I've made countless new friends, restarted friendships and grown so much closer to my entire family

Breifne is cycling the planet for Cycle Against Suicide
Breifne is cycling the planet for Cycle Against Suicide

Breifne Earley

Every child dreams of living like Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinkerbell. I was no different and when I saw tree houses pop up on an internet search for accommodation in Goa, India, it was never in doubt – I was going to have a Peter Pan experience, but without the tights and flying.

After travelling 170km and climbing twice the height of Carrauntoohil that day, it was after midnight when I reached Anjuna Beach, checked in and climbed up to the tree house. I was asleep almost before my head hit the pillow.

I woke to an amazing scene. The gap through the trees directly from my lofted accommodation exposed the ocean and beach, coming alive with tourists getting some sun, and locals trying to make a few rupees by selling drinks, food and the usual tat you find at most tourist hotspots.

For 8am on a random Tuesday, I couldn't help but smile to myself and think of the last few years and the massive changes in my life.

Less than four years ago, any Tuesday had the same routine. I wouldn't be awake until well after nine, after hitting the snooze button more often than I'd care to keep track of.

I'd get out of bed and drive the 5km to work for a 10am start, counting down the hours until I was finished, at which time I'd clock off, go home, eat a takeaway, watch nonsense TV or movies and finally, in the early morning, sleep before repeating this routine.

I'd been finding almost every moment of work soul-destroying. Not because of the work – I loved the work and most of my colleagues – but the environment was so negative I found it had eaten my enthusiasm bit by bit until I'd become a shell.

As a result of this I had cut myself off from everyone in my life. Family, friends, partners were non-existent. Within a few years, I'd alienated them and cut myself off from everyone who cared about me.

To wake up now in a tree house on the shores of the Indian Ocean, having fulfilled a childhood dream, was a world away from where I was those years ago, literally, but more importantly mentally – on my own in a foreign country with a strange language and customs.

Of course I have moments of loneliness, but I need only glance at my phone to see my social media notifications and text messages from family, friends and strangers inspired by my journey.

I've made countless new friends, restarted friendships and grown so much closer to my entire family.

The beauty of the path I've taken is that there is nothing particularly special about what I've done.

I wrote a list of what I'd like to be, and then drew up a list of tasks I needed to do to become that person. It wasn't that difficult. In fact it's extremely easy, you just need to go back and remember what the inner Peter or Wendy would have wanted, make a list and focus on only that.

Partners, kids and mortgages aren't reasons to forgo dreams, but just considerations or obstacles to be negotiated to make them a reality.

Every situation is changeable, every obstacle or bump can be overcome. Identifying the problem and a suitable way to effect that change is the hardest part.

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