Is Life a Dream, or a Dream Life?

A question from a friendly reader across the pond, in Yorkshire. “I read with interest your blog about the postwar resurgence of ocean liners, and also the movie stars who were aboard. I believe most English movie stars at that time sailed with Cunard or P and O, am I right?”

Yes, that’s true. Most British celebrities and movie stars would often sail with Cunard, P and O, or Union Castle Line (which did the route to Africa). Americans and several European stars seemed to prefer the vessel I worked on, Holland America Line’s “Nieuw Amsterdam”, partly because she had air-conditioning, unique in those days. 

Some sailed with the renowned Ile de France”.

Now we’ve touched once again the subject of post-war Transatlantic crossings by the ocean liners, and re-introduction of 5-star service, let me say a few more words on the topic.
We all have our own life experiences. Except today people are experiencing things “more similarly”, for example, through the saturation of media, we all get showered with the same water. Witness people in subway or buses, all reading the same newspapers. They arrive at work, having formed “opinions” from this “wisdom-source”.
How do we fit in with this assault of confused minds? How do we make sense, or order out of the chaos caused by endless sources of information coming our way (including this blog, ho-ho!) When we travel, we hopefully set out to see and experience different things, but upon our return, do we digest or distill these experiences into seeing things differently?”
During our travels many well-known people, celebrities and members of high society came our way. But several were a bore! Why is this? Smugness? Narcissism? “Blind and deaf” to the world beyond themselves? Who knows, but can be dull.
Often the most interesting people are ‘unsuspecting’ adventurers, humble but proud. When they return home, these individuals see the world differently, with ‘fresher eyes’ than when they left home. These are the same kinds of people who often end up “leaving this world a little bit better than they found it” as the Circumnavigator’s Club motto says.
What makes my own life so diverse is that it all seems to fall into place, in a sense ‘predestined’. Maybe all our lives are, who knows? And it’s not always smelling the roses, but feeling the thorns once in awhile. Plenty of slips on the banana peel of Life. In my early boyhood in the Lowlands, we learned a song, called “Wij Reizen Om te Leren”.

Wij reizen om te leren,
Door heel het land,
En hebben als wij wederkeren
Ook meer verstand
“We travel because we wish to learn.
Then, upon return, we will have gathered more insight and knowledge.”
(An aside, yours truly learned five languages because of all my travels, and ‘being there’.) Returning to the title of today’s post and the subject of dreams and reality:
One blistery Toronto winter morning in 1973, I woke up with a clear dream of teaching Art on ships, later that dream became reality. (Caused indirectly by a rejection I’d received for a grant application.) There is a great difference between making a dream reality, (remember Danny Kaye in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?”), daydreaming or “self-talk”, where nothing happens. Alot of "baaaaaaaa", but no wool! If an around-the-world sailing is the ‘crown jewel of travel’, then to make a dream-come-true must be a ‘crown-jewel of life’s journey’. Happy trails, Henri