How did “I Believe That Dreams Can Come True” begin?
Both of us used to work in the broadcast media industry (Tay as a Producer/Director; Val as an Actor and Producer/Director). We came together, invested all of our resources including savings, time, and a lot of heart to set up a film production company, thinking we could lead more fulfilled lives by telling the stories we want to tell – stories of love, life and hope. Long story short, we ended up badly bruised and sorely broken – in our pockets, in our hearts and in our souls.
Out of defiant impulse… or impulsive defiance, we took the money for next month’s rent and went on a backpacking trip to Taiwan. It was on this trip that we met “Luo Papa” by chance, and his story of how he’d been literally living his dreams his entire life brought us a painful reminder, “What’s my dream?” You can read his story here.
The night before we left Luo Papa’s home-stay, Val volunteered to accompany him as he chases his “final dream” of cycling around Taiwan to all the 237 train stations for a photo memento. At that moment, Val did not even know how to cycle! In fact, she was terrified of the bicycle.
However, Luo Papa’s story struck a chord deep within our hearts… the kind that just won’t go away. So we took the leap of faith, sold everything we owned (which wasn’t a lot), raised funds, sought donations/sponsorships and before we knew it, everything fell into place and we left Singapore 30 March 2010 to begin this journey.
How did you make the decision to just go for it?
One night, we were sitting outside a café, mulling over the “HOWs” of this journey – how are we going to get bicycles, how are we going to raise enough money to get everything we need, how are we going to find places to stay on this journey, how are we going to sustain ourselves without working, how are we going to even begin???
Tay bombarded Val with endless questions. The only answer Val could come up with was, “I don’t know.” Then Val took out a coin and said, “Why don’t we flip a coin?”
How many of us have been in the same situation – left the decision to a flip of the coin? And for those of us who actually did flip the coin, how many times did we flip it? 😉 Until we get the side we wanted in the first place, isn’t it?
That night, we kept the coin and made a decision by listening; listening to what chord that had never stopped vibrating within our hearts from the moment we made our promise to Luo Papa.
What happened to Luo Papa?
At the very very beginning, we had honestly believed that we were going to fulfil Luo Papa’s dream together with him. 5 days into the cycling journey with him, his mother passed on and we had to abort the “original plan”. You may read more about it here.
What inspired you to conduct sharing sessions in schools, public spaces, cultural centres etc.?
We were very fortunate to learn very early in our journey, that our mission is not to go and fulfil other people’s dreams per say; our mission is to share our experiences and inspire others to take on their own journeys, towards their own dreams.
View some of our sharing session videos:
In that same episode, we learnt that the journey is the destination itself, and that we are not the ones travelling the journey. In fact, the journey is the one taking us to where we need to be.
Up till today, we still feel that the most difficult part of our journey was in making the decision – that very first step. After that, everything simply fell into place.
We don’t mean that everyday has been a Sunday. As in, there are times when the road seems to never end, drivers are simply blind to cyclists, we don’t know where we’d be staying for the night, our film footage disappears from our online cloud storage, we’re always hard up on cash to afford extra hard disks or anything else for that matter, a camera drops into the sea, reporters who ask us really condescending questions, and the sheer amount of work we’ve taken on – travelling, meeting people, and then connecting with their hearts, documenting their stories, sharing their stories on our website, having “live” sharing sessions in public spaces and schools… all the while being inspiring.
Despite all of that, there wasn’t a single time when the journey simply unfolded. We couldn’t cross the huge mountains in Mexico to get to the next town – someone came along and bought us bus tickets. We couldn’t reach the host that was supposed to host us – someone else came along and brought us home. We didn’t have enough money for groceries – someone came along, brought us home and fed us for 3 meals a day, 2 months in a row. Do you believe in angels and miracles? We do.
Yet, we’d never had the privilege to experience any of these, if we’ve never made that decision, that leap of faith in the first place. Sometimes we do wish that we’d more time and space and resources to sleep, to meditate, to do yoga, to cook (who doesn’t?). But on this journey, we’ve come to learn that we always always always get what we need, at the exact time we need it; everything happens for a reason; and all we do is to practise gratitude and keep going!
Despite Without A Cent/Funding & Finances/How do you live?
It was a conscious decision to come onto this journey, to go around the world, to inspire dreams, DESPITE without a cent. Too many people give themselves the excuse of having “no money, or not enough money” to pursue their dreams. Is that true? We decided to find out.
We did the SOPs – sold off everything we had, held fundraising events, did crazy things like attempt to cycle for 24 hours in order to get the resources we need to leave. By 30 March 2010, we left Singapore with ~USD3000; and with everything else we ever needed.
View our fund-raising videos:
Every single item we have with us on this journey – bicycles, backpacks, computers, cameras, clothes, socks, shoes, including our underwear (don’t tell our mums), was either a gift, a sponsorship, or a donation.
Every single night on this journey, a stranger, a Couchsurfer, a hotel owner; basically, the Universe opens its doors for us – to host us, to nourish us, to help us get to the next point.
By now, we’ve learnt to live in gratitude, with gratitude; and recognize that on top of collecting dreams, we are also collecting humanity. If you would like to share your abundance and help us go further, please consider making a donation here.
What’s the next big dream?
This journey was “planned” for 5 years. Many people like to ask us, “What do you plan to do 5 years later, when you’re done with this project?” The truth is, we don’t even know where we’d be, what we’d be doing 5 days from now. 🙂
Nonetheless, Tay sometimes likes to collect stories and lessons that she could share with her students in the media school she hopes to open… sometime in the future.
At the same time, Val is working on collecting life experiences of her own and of the people we’ve met, and when the opportunity comes for her to realise her dream of being the Oscar and Cannes awards winning film actress she wants to be, she knows she’s prepared.
For speaking engagements or media inquiries, please contact us here.