Have you ever – lived your dream?

Wow! Where does the time go? So much for all my promises and intentions to post more regularly on this blog! But I have been putting the time to good use – I promise!

Paris at last - realisation of the first dream!

Paris at last – realisation of the first dream!

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Time does fly by so fast and before we know it, we have put our teens well behind us, some have reared families, some have carved out great careers. But do you ever stop and think about what you would really LOVE to do with your time?

Do you have a dream that you work on in your mind, but it well….. never seems to be quite the right time? Are you sure about that? 🙂 Or is this an excuse not to put the effort in and make the dream into reality?

I will have to raise my hand and ‘fess up to having had an ‘excuse’ for many years not to pursue two of my dreams. I have always wanted to go to France and be fluent in French. I was lucky to have got a bit of a taste of the language at school, then it slid into the background for many decades. Then family responsibilities interfered and the cost of the trip was a consideration …..

Sunshine, bicycles, lots of time to speak French with the locals :-)

Sunshine, bicycles, lots of time to speak French with the locals 🙂

When we finally decided to cycle in France in 2009, it was a realisation of my first dream and a major step towards the second. I will never forget the feeling of thrilled anticipation as my plane landed in Paris that first trip. I had spent some months ‘brushing up’ on the few rusty bits of French I still remembered, but I had still not ever really spoken to someone in French! By the end of the trip, I was no longer too shy to use the language, but I realised I had quite a job ahead of me to become fluent!


Chateaux – something we do not get in Australia!

I had no idea why France was such an attractive place to me, or why my desire (of all the languages to choose from) to learn only French. Then last year while in South Africa, I found out why. Meeting up with long lost relatives, we all went to visit (for the first time ever) the grave of my great grandfather.

Researching the story of this man’s life was a delight. Born near Calais in France, he had a French mother and a Scottish father. His father died when he was very young, so the French influence in his life was considerable. We don’t know a great deal about him, but we do know that he spend his childhood in France and was fluent in French. He and his English wife moved to South Africa in the early 1900s.

So it has to be genetic, doesn’t it? Not only that, but my second cousin (same great grandfather!) also has a great passion for all things French. And we had not ever met or spoken to each other before my trip to South Africa! She has been to France many times and returns often. I am convinced she and I each have a dominant ‘French-gene’.

Heaven is - waiting for a train at French station!

Heaven is – waiting for a train at French station!

So, my new year’s resolution this year, was to get serious about developing my capability to speak French. And that is what I have been doing. With all the new apps and online tools that are around now, it has been a lot easier to study than ever before. Who knows, one day I may be able to make a pilgrimage to the place where my G-Grandfather was born and grew up, and may find some descendants of his mother’s family still in the area. What a thrill, to be able to speak to them with using reasonably good French!

So what about you? What are you going to do (today) to start realising your dreams?

This entry was posted in Europe & UK, France, Have you ever..., Musings, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Have you ever – lived your dream?

  1. thatemily says:

    Great post! I’m just as bad in terms of keeping my blog up to date! My dream is to work as a writer abroad! A long way off I fear haha


    • Madoqua says:

      Being a writer abroad sounds wonderful! With all the new ebook tools that are around now, perhaps you could take the first step and start writing a book?


  2. This all sound so exciting. Researching and finding roots and relatives sounds like a made-for-TV adventure in itself. I’ve always had a fascination with Spain, even when I was a small town kid who knew nothing about the world. Funny how all that happens, isn’t it?


    • Madoqua says:

      It is strange how a fascination can be so important and can become an obsession later in life!
      The family story really is an amazing one. The family went 5 or 6 separate ways in the 1930s and lost contact with each other. Our line knew so little about everyone else. I had been searching for family information for years, and a chance search turned up a family tree which looked very interesting. I contacted the owner and since then so much has happened. The extended family are all now back in touch (except for one brother who went back to England). Ironically, I grew up in the same city and went to the same school as some of my second cousins, but I had no idea who they were!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isn’t life amazing. I remember you writing about meeting some of your relations. I have a cousin in Germany who researched our family tree. I could never have done it from here and I have had little contact with many members. My father had 13 brothers and sisters but I never knew any or them because after the WWII, my parents had to decide where to start over: in Canada or Australia. They wrote letters to family for years. I only met a few aunts and uncles on my mother’s side after they came to Canada in the ’70s.


        • Madoqua says:

          Wow, you will have a lot of relatives ‘out there’ somewhere! I am very interested in my family tree, and am working on it when I can. It gets quite complex when over 3 generations branches have spread far and wide!
          This line was of particular interest as there were rumours of a French connection, but my mother did not know any more than that, and neither did her only sibling. We did not even know my Gt Grandfather’s name. There had been a family ‘falling out’, and my Mom can never recall his name ever being mentioned or him being spoken of. How sad.


  3. scrapydotwo says:

    This is wonderful. Shows what can be done with a bit of will power.Hope the opportunity to visit France will come sooner than you think


  4. rosemarykneipp says:

    Thank you for sharing your dream! I was lucky to be able to follow mine at the age of 22 when I left Australia to live and work in France. Forty years later, I am still living that dream and loving it! My children, on the other hand, are following another dream – one lving and working in Berlin but aiming at New York, and the other living and working in New York but planning other places in the future such as Hong Kong and Italy. I have another dream though – to spend several months in Italy after I retire so that I can become more fluent in Italian.
    I hope all your dreams are fulfilled. If you ever make it to the Loire Valley, let me know and we’ll catch up. My French husband and I are also keen cyclists.


    • Madoqua says:

      Rosemary, thank you for your lovely response. What a wonderful story and I will certainly look you up when I get back to the Loire Valley. Our first cyclo-tour took us along that beautiful route – unforgettable!
      How marvellous to have been living your dream for so long…


  5. joanfrankham says:

    Sounds like a great holiday. I loved Paris the few times I was there.


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