Mythology and literature have frequently told tales of people who went on a journey and in the process discovered more about themselves. Some of these stories, such as Homer’s Odyssey (written in the 9th century BC) and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (from the 14th century), remain staples in literature classes. What these early writers show us is still true today: travel opens us to new insights as well as new experiences.
A newer story that uses this device is the lovely little book by Paulo Coehlo called The Alchemist. This popular favorite chronicles the adventures of Santiago, a young Andalusan shepherd who leaves home only to encounter obstacles, dangers and a fair share of mystical experiences. It’s one of the more poetic modern tales about the importance of following the dreams of your heart.
As in all stories of courage, we are reminded here that the road to our dreams is not without pitfalls. I carry around with me Coehlo’s insightful words about that truth. “Too often we decide to follow a path that is not really our own, one that others have set for us,” he writes. “We forget that whichever way we go, the price is the same: in both cases, we will pass through both difficult and happy moments. But when we are living our dream, the difficulties we encounter make sense.”
If you haven’t met The Alchemist yet, add it to your reading list and you may just find your own commitment to your dreams growing stronger.