Thoughts before the Big Adventure

It’s the night before our Big Adventure and it feels like Christmas Eve, and also like we’re about to jump into the absolute unknown. Wow.

I remember a conversation Dan and I had a few months ago. We quiz each other, every now and then, on our dreams, on where we’re going, on what we see and want to see. It was during one of those chats that we dreamed – a crazy kind of no-ceiling, no-limits, no reality check kind of dreaming – about going to India. We were interested in the culture, we said. I’d always been intrigued. How much of an experience must it be, for all the senses? We would go with the aim of doing some kind of charity work when we went as well, we said.

We moved on and I giggled as I said I’d love to hand-letter commission pieces for people someday. A creative outlet. Something fun. I love words that carry meaning and I like things that look nice. A combination of the two.

And now, here we are. We ended up Skyping Richard, who was heading out to visit a charity he directs in Tamil Nadu, and he was looking for a writer to go with him. And then we talked about taking some photos. And then maybe video content. Telling stories. And then we were booking flights and applying for visas and being stabbed in the arm with vaccines we couldn’t (still can’t) pronounce.

We realised we needed to raise funds to cover some of our costs and our little lettering business was born, and then it grew into a wild, fun, surprising toddler that united us and which has taken on a life of its own (on that note: thank you. It’s been incredible and we so value your custom and generosity. And it doesn’t end with our India trip: we have plans to grow Brown Paper Packages when we get back.)

This is an incredible adventure to be on as newlyweds. Marriage is finding someone to be on the Journey with, committing to be with them on that journey…and then doing a whole lot of journeying, together. And through that journey, we get to know each other more. We get to know ourselves more. We dream and grow and rejoice and mourn and explore. And it’s such an honour to do that with someone – in more abstract ways but also in these very real ways, to get to explore a new country with Dan, to work on a project together, to start a business with him, to find new skills and interests in each other and in ourselves and in our togetherness.

And it makes me think that there is something about dreaming. There’s something about speaking those dreams, naming them – to someone, or to yourself.

6 summers ago I made a list of things I would do with my last student summer: learn to enjoy running, get some driving lessons, research Wilberforce and slavery. A few weeks later I sat, bare feet swinging over a computer chair, eyes fixed on the screen as Rob Morris told the internet, but me in particular, the story of the little girl who had been trafficked but whose gaze pierced the glass with fight in her eyes. Wilberforce’s story caused a domino chain to fall until I found about about modern day slavery and I’ve not been the same since. I dreamed then of freedom, I said then that I would do what I could to bring about change, and my path of activism which led to No More Traffik began.

It’s so humbling that we can have dreams. That we are born dreamers. That along our journey, we get to dream. And that we get to speak those dreams out…sometimes into being. And even if our dreams simply act as signposts along the way, let’s dream. Dreaming and exploring and adventuring is beauty. It’s part of the grace of life. It takes courage, sometimes. It shapes us. Dreaming reflects the fact there is more than what we see now, that there is more to us than what we know, that there is a reason for hope.

I love dreams. I love that sometimes, we see them come into existence (“be careful what you wish for”?) I love that little dreams – I love that they matter, somehow. I love big dreams, too.

My dream is to live with life that reflects my belief that each human being has infinite, innate and ineffaceable worth. THAT is the thread that I want to be most vivid in my tapestry. My dream is to create things that remind or restore that worth – charity and campaigns and community, written words that honour and spoken words that embolden, space that frees and images that capture and culture that respects the value of all.

What are your dreams?

Write them down. Let them grow. Name them out loud. Whisper them in the dark. Paint them in bright colours. Let hope rise.

I hope, whatever they are dear friend, that you see your dreams come to life in front of your very eyes. I hope they get bigger. I hope they get wilder. I hope they take you on adventures. I hope they are for you, but I hope they are for others, too.

We’re off on our adventure, on our dream. You can follow our journey through pictures on Instagram. We’ll share thoughts and videos and stories when we get back.

One thought on “Thoughts before the Big Adventure

  1. I really enjoyed reading this Gemma. What an adventure you’re on! Am looking forward to reading about your trip here when you return. Safe travels x

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