Well, technically it was a rainbow cape, a pair of plastic princess heels, and a missing front tooth.
For the majority of my childhood, that was my chosen outfit to wear over the solid layer of dirt that I had collected from fighting the dragons off from my castle - a castle that closely resembled the playhouse in the backyard.
I took my rainbow cape everywhere.
Sometimes it was a beautiful ballgown as I danced with a prince, sometimes it helped me fly over the mountains so I could see the sea, sometimes it was simply a new hairstyle because I was feeling sassy. No matter what my cape’s function for the day was, the common thread in whatever my imagination had turned the cape in to was that it always made me invincible. I mean come on, it was a rainbow cape, how could I not be invincible wearing it?
The point of the rainbow cape is it gave me the freedom to dream.
If I was wearing my cape I could be anything I wanted. It didn’t matter how crazy or outlandish my imagination became, I was invincible. If I could dream it, I could do it.
Now it wasn’t just the cape that allowed me to dream of becoming the world’s first ballerina-painter-popstar-president, it was my parents too. They knew that as soon as that cape went on, they were entering a world constructed by the random assortment of crazy ideas running through my mind that day. My parents believed in my worlds, despite how impossible those worlds were, because they understood that those worlds were real to me. My parents fed my imagination, and in supporting it they established in me the idea that I could do the impossible as long as I put my mind to it.
When I first decided to pursue this lifestyle of living on the road, I felt like my four year old self all over again, tying my rainbow cape around my neck and hunting down my parents to explain in great detail what their role in my imaginary world was for the day.
Mom, you get to be queen today and Dad you can be king, and I’m going to be the digital nomad, ok?
And once again, my parents met me with full support. But this time they knew that I was no longer a four year old conquering dragons, but a young and determined woman fully capable of making her dream a reality.
Many years have passed since I last dawned my rainbow cape to fight the dragons, but that freedom to dream the impossible has stuck with me. Although the dreams have changed from things like becoming the supreme queen of the forest fairies to owning my own business and traveling the world, my dreams still appear to many as impossible to achieve.
And I’d have to agree, the idea that I can run my own business right out of undergrad while traveling the world sounds impossible.
It’s the kind of life that only exists in the imagination of a four year old, right? I mean, there’s no way I can make enough money to survive, or stay safe as a solo female traveler, or even work remotely in different timezones, right?? That sounds just plain impossible!