I was twelve years old when I first read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. It was possibly the first science fiction book I read. I didn’t even know at the time that it was science fiction. The book did something that no book had done before with that much impact. It took me on a journey, and left me with longing to return.
Since then, I have always wanted to go on a submarine.
It’s been a while since I was twelve, but that desire to go on a submarine never quite left me. In 2010, I finally managed to fulfill my desire, by going on a Yellow Submarine in Tenerife. Even though I knew the whole under-the-sea set up was arranged for tourists, I loved every minute of it. I loved diving under the ocean. My dream had sort of come true, but not quite. Because I wanted to go on a “proper” submarine. I wanted to go on a Navy Submarine. I didn’t give up on that, but I didn’t really expect it to come true either.
Fast forward to last week. I was on a business trip, driving from Connecticut to Rhode Island with Max, who is a colleague and a good friend. On the way, we saw a sign for the US Submarine Museum. Just at that time, I was talking to Max about how much I wanted to go on a submarine, and that what I really wanted was to go on Nautilus.
He asked: Nautilus? As in Jules Verne? Does that exist?
My answer: It does in my head.
This is the kind of answer that does not surprise people who know me. So the conversation ended, and I didn’t think anything of it. When I read the sign for the submarine museum, in my head, I pictured a museum with historical pictures or some bits and bobs from old submarines. I didn’t really think about going there. I didn’t even think I would ever see it again. We carried on driving to Rhode Island, went to the meeting.
But on our drive back to Connecticut, Max asked if I wanted to stop at the submarine museum. If he hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have thought about it. If he hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have said anything. If he hadn’t asked, I would have missed out on what was quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event.
So we took a detour.
There was the museum, which actually turned out to be very interesting. But more importantly, because of Memorial Day coming up, there was an event going on. Visitors were able to go on an actual Navy Submarine, and it was no other than USS Nautilus.
Until that moment, I didn’t even know that US Navy had submarines named Nautilus.
Until that moment, I didn’t actually expect to be able to go on a submarine named Nautilus.
I can’t explain what it felt like to walk around the cramped quarters, see the engine room, and have my picture taken next to Jules Verne’s plaque, all the while feeling this strange feeling – a mixture of elation and astonishment – that such an old dream came true. It was a child’s dream that I dreamt.
How often, do childhood dreams come true?
Or is it that we give up on them too soon?
How does this story of a science fiction book, of a submarine, and of a childhood dream relate to journaling? It doesn’t relate to journaling. It relates to life – and life relates to journaling.
What are your old dreams?
How many are you holding onto?
How many dreams you have given up on because they were too unrealistic, or too childish? The next time you feel that way, I want you to remember this story. Because if I can go on a submarine called Nautilus, you can also go wherever you want.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Journal about your dreams. List them. Old, forgotten ones. Childish ones. New ones. Scary ones. All of them. Give yourself permission to remember your dreams, and keep on dreaming. Because everything begins with a dream. Once you have a dream, you can figure out how to make it happen. And sometimes, universe might just surprise you by handing them to you.