By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times
One of the favorite questions asked by journalists is always preceded by an affirmation:
“You have everything you want. I wonder if you still have dreams?”
In the first place, although I have the most important things in life (health, faith, the love of my wife, work that I love), writing is always a challenge. One has to look at one’s own life without fear, and reveal everything that is found there. Secondly, just like everybody else, there are many things that I would like to do that I still have not done, although I have seen many of my dreams come true (the most recent were to attend a World Cup, which happened in Germany, and to travel the 9,208 kilometers of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which I did in 2006).
Thinking about unfulfilled wishes, I published a blog with my own list, and asked people to write their famous “New Year resolutions” that end up being postponed. So far I have received a total of 278 lists (whoever is in MySpace can view the blog and the lists in question). If I could guess a general average, most of the unfulfilled desires are “to travel” and “to learn a foreign language.”
I think that my readers react in the very same way that I do: as we write, we realize why we still have not fulfilled those dreams. Here is my list:
A] learn to dance well. I have enough free time to take dancing classes, but I am so timid that I keep putting it off.
B] play the guitar. I know the chords that I learned so many years ago, but I am still not disciplined enough to improve on that.
C] spend three months in a monastery, detached from the world. I even have an invitation from an abbot in Melk in Austria. My reason for postponing: I am more addicted to the internet than I admit.
D] go on a safari in Africa. A politically incorrect desire. I have a friend who is a hunter (Juan Montadas), who tells me that the excursion is simpler than we imagine. The reason for delaying the dream: none at all, yet I keep putting it off.
E] sponsor a talented boxer. I love boxing (another politically incorrect desire). I find it a true dialogue of bodies, where violence (like in rugby, which I also like) is not exactly what you think. The reason for postponing: I have visited some boxing clubs in different places across the world, and although I knew that the sport is very manipulated by the various associations, I am afraid that this would take up more time than I can dedicate to the matter.
F] have dinner with Nelson Mandela. I tried this once, but did not succeed. Then I had the chance to meet him at a semi-private event, but I thought that it would be impossible to chat as freely I wanted.
G] enter orbit and circle the planet. My wife shares the same desire. The Russians do this, but I have not bothered to find out all the details. The reason for delaying: I think it is really fear, in addition to the very high price – something around US$20 million. On the other hand, Richard Branson (the owner of Virgin) is developing a project to make orbital flights cheaper, so maybe I’ll wait a while.
H] fly on a supersonic military plane (as a passenger, of course). The reason for putting it off: lack of contacts in the area. However, on publishing my blog, I received TWO invitations! One from a Canadian Air Force pilot, the other from a lieutenant-colonel in the Spanish Air Force. Now we are making arrangements to make this dream come true. If this happens, I promise to reveal all the details in this column.
© Translated by James Mulholland
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