Why are we dreamers?

Everybody dreams of something, right?  I mean, no person goes through life without dreaming about the life he would have if he just does whatever it is he dreams about.  None of us can say we haven’t had dreams.  Some are pursued, some are not.

I like to think of myself as a “doer” instead of a dreamer.  However, I must admit that I dream of many things.  A lot of the things I dream of are thing I will never do.  So, how can I be a doer?  Well, I can’t say for certain, but I feel like I pursue my dreams a lot more than the average person.  For example, out of 100 things I dream of, I probably do 70 of them, I guess.  I would bet that most people are lucky if they try to accomplish 10 of 100 dreams.

I remember in the mid 90’s through the end of the 1990’s, I dreamed and dreamed of moving to the Philippines and living in Mindanao.  I was obsessed by it.  Every day, I thought about what it would be like to live here.  Every day I made plans.  In 1996 or 1997 Feyma and I put our house up for sale, and our plan was to move here as soon as our house sold.  Well, we left our house on the market for almost a year, and it never sold.  The market was soft, I guess.   Maybe it just wasn’t mean to be at that time.  I kept dreaming, though.

In 1998, I got a really good promotion on my job, and Feyma and I decided that it was a sign that we were not meant to move to the Philippines.  We re-evaluated our position and decided that we would stay in the USA for about 10 more years.  We accepted it, and my dream was kind of on hold at that point.  Well, we did decide to take a vacation to the Philippines in 1999.  I was only able to come for 2 weeks due to the demands of my job, but Feyma and the kids stayed a month.  When we were both home, we talked, and we both said the same thing – “we really have to move to the Philippines.”

Then something happened – we found out that Feyma was pregnant!  This was totally unplanned, and unexpected since Feyma was using birth control pills at the time.  But, we decided that we still wanted to push forward with our plans to move.  We would try to sell our house after Feyma had the baby in March or April 2000.


Then, in early March 2000, before we put our house up for sale, somebody walked up to our front door, rang the doorbell and when we opened the door the guy said “My Mom used to own this land years ago.  I want to buy your house, are you willing to sell it?”   Well!  Come on in and let’s talk about it!  He made an offer, and it was significantly more than we had planned to sell for, so the deal was struck.  He even allowed us to stay in the house, rent-free, until 1 month after the baby was born.

That’s how it all happened that we moved here.  For me, it was a sign that the time had come, and we were basically meant to move at that time.  We didn’t even have to try.

But, you know what?  I was scared to death!  Feyma was scared to death too.  Suddenly moving halfway around the world was no longer a dream, it was quickly becoming reality.  We had so many things to accomplish, including having a baby!  Could we do it?  Did we even want to do it?  Moving to the Philippines was a huge thing.  Were we ready? Were our kids ready?  All of these questions clouded our minds.  But, we had been pursuing this dream for a long time, and we pushed through with it.  In retrospect, it was a great even in my life, and one that I don’t regret.

Over the coming days, I am going to write about other dreams that I hear from ex-pats here.  Some are totally unrealistic, some are doable, but never happen.

How about you?  What are your dreams?  Do you think you will ever make them happen?

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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  1. don merfeld says

    my dream also is to move to the pi. I talk about it all the time and Im scaring the wits out of my wife with this subject. She is now used to life here in the us and all the little creature comforts. She loves to jump in the car and go shopping at a moments notice. She has been here for about 14 years and has a good job. I will be ready to retire in less than six years. Well bob what do you think? hahahaha

  2. says

    Hi Don – I was in your shoes about 9 or 10 years ago. Feyma had been in the States for 10 years, and she didn't like the idea of moving back here. She was too used to the creature comforts that you mention your wife likes. But, I convinced her to give it a try, we made a commitment that we would try for 5 years no matter what, and we both love it here!

  3. says

    i'd love to hear more of this. bob. very interesting. re: my dream: i'd like to see/travel more of the world before i boomerang back to davao. im young, davao will always be there.

  4. ken says

    its in mans nature to explore new things, i have been to 32 of the united states and about 15 foriegn countries . i dreamed of moving to alaska and i finally did it in 1999 i have lived and worked above the arctic circle and many parts of alaska. my next dream is to move to davao and marry my fiancee, which i am planning to do in november of 2007….sometimes u have to follow that dream no matter what others think…. i am looking forward to exploring the philippines with my wife.

  5. Graham says

    Hi Bob
    Great post as normal, and as my time is coming to move there, I can understand why you were scared to death. You get full of doubts and start thinking what have I done, and what if it goes wrong. I'm sure one of your main worries was for your children as mine is for my son

  6. stebujiji says

    I have a dream of moving to Davao. My wife is originally from Davao and we just got back from a two week vacation there. While we were there we both talked about the idea of moving back and starting businesses. I read the post you had about teaching English to Koreans. I was a military linguist, specializing in Korean. I also have a Bachelor of Arts in Education. I spent six years teaching in Korea, eventually working at a Korean university. I really would like start a school for Koreans in Davao. I am currently an Academic Advisor at a small college in Minnesota. My problem is that since I work in the field of education, I don't have the requisite capital to start a business. My wife has a decent job and she's moving up quickly in her field. I feel like we're stuck and I'm not sure how to move forward. Given the opportunity, I think my wife and I could run a fantastic school and enhance the community in Davao. I am not sure how to be a "Doer" in this sense. Any ideas?

  7. says

    Hi Bob, as ususal a great thought provking post, I would like to join in you in saying that I am a doer not a dreamer, when I read your post, I saw so much of what I wanted to say, I also have made a plan of action, and I know there are many others, even close friends of mine right here in the same county that have that dream, as always, moving across the other side of the world, to live permanently takes planning, for some its easy, for others it takes lots of planning and things have to fall into place before they can comtemplate such a move.

    You have always said Bob, that the Philippines is great when you are on vacation but not the same when you decide to live there, how did you achieve this, as you said, you made plans, you thought about it every day, and you adjusted your plans as time went by, I likened your story to that of a sail ship, (Scott will like this one) a sail shop sets off on a course, with the winds of change it gets blown off, but always steers back on course as time progresses, Im not sure what the nautical term is, Scott will put me right on that.

    But it goes to show that eventually with enough enthusiasm and patience, you reach your original destination, why do i say I am not a dreamer, but more of a 'doer' well I have already been following the same course as you Bob, I put my plans into action nearly 2 years ago, firstly I sat down with my wife and we talked and talked for days about what we wanted to do, then we drafted our plans and made a 5 year plan, then I said to my wife, to achieve our 5 year objective, we must break it down into defining moments, in other words, major goals that have to be achieved before we can establish ourselves.

    We discussed matters such as Income, accomadation, they seemed to be the most important, as we dont have children, we dont really have to discuss how it would effec them, whichever order we put the plans into, or the goals we needed to achieve, we thought we should establish a base, i.e. a home, 2 years ago, we finally got married, we had to go through the normal headaches of getting my wife into the UK, that took some time due to my past life, divorce and other financial matters, but finally, we did it, then we had to move to a better appartment and furnish it, my wife arrived in UK in September of 2005, by April of 2006, we had saved enough to move and furnish a new appartment, that to us was our 1st goal, by end of April 2006, we had achieved a major but small peice of the jigsaw puzzle.

    As anyone of you know who writes on Bobs Blog, to live in Western countries and to save money is not always that easy, sacrifices have to be made, and the cost of living is so much greater than the Philippines, every penny or cent we had spare, we put away to meet our goals.

    In June of 2006, we made a goal that by March of 2007 we would have found a lot and started building a house, now its April of 2007, and suprise suprise our home is just about finished, with security walls, gates, we have purchased a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house, in nice surroundings, it wasnt easy, we have had stresses and strains along the way, people who promise to do things and then dont do it, documentation and paperwork, lots of long distance phone calls, it was one headache, but that goal has now been realized.

    So we have a home, the next stage is now working for the next 2-3 years to establish ourselves, with a sustainable income, we are looking at all sorts of ideas, part Philippines, and Part Uk, at present we hope by 2012, we will have left the UK for good, at present, there are so many factors we have to consider, my Goal is by 2012, I am where Bob is now, but at least I have proved I am a doer, not a dreamer, all I need now is to plan the work and work the plan, thanks for listening guys.

  8. says

    I think most people dream because they're not completely fulfilled by their current situation. Dreaming allows them to escape the humdrum or frustration of their current reality, into a place or situation that they've experience before or would like to experience for the first time.

    There's nothing wrong with dreaming. It keeps us alive and hopeful that someday…someday…we'll be able to fulfill those wishes that have gone unfulfilled for too long. The problem that most people have is getting too caught up with life and trying to keep up, and sometimes trying to beat, the Smiths and Joneses of this world. It's the not letting go of things that we've grown accustom to because we've been doing them too long. Whether it's a career, a house, cars, a relationship that has stagnated. and etc. There are many anchors in our life that we're not willing to let go and continue to just make us just frustrated dreamers.

    I'm sure we've all heard the old saying that "life is a bunch of little tradeoffs". That "we can't have our cake and eat it, too". There's a lot of truth to those sayings. Moving and living in the Philippines consist of many little tradeoffs. You literally have to give up the former lifestyle in order to acquire another. Those tradeoffs may sometimes seem like sacrifices; but you know what, when you look back and compare what you've left behind and what you've gained, you're really not that bad of. As Bob, mysefl, and others can probably attest to what I'm about to say…, it's a Dream Come True. Till next time….

  9. says

    Hi Macky – I can understand you on that. During my childhood I did a great deal of traveling and also moving to different places around the world. You and I are different in that respect. By the time I was in my 30's, I wanted to find the spot that was right for me and settle down. I was traveled out. I wanted to find "home," because I had no real home. You, on the other hand, grew up in one place that was and always will be considered "home". Now is your time to go out and explore.

    Hi Ken – I have always wanted to see Alaska, but have not made it there yet. I congratulate you on your wide travel in the USA. I have seen a lot of the USA, probably around the same number of states as you, maybe a little less. Travel is a wonderful thing. It is educational and enjoyable at the same time!

    Hi Graham – your feelings are spot on!

    Hi stebujiji – I feel that you are uniquely qualified to take advantage of all the Koreans coming to Davao to learn English! Since you can speak Korean, you have a leg up on the many people here who are trying to fill the niche of teaching English to the thousands of Koreans flocking here to learn! Come and do it! Start out small, teaching classes in your home. Then, rent a commercial space where you can handle more students. As you grow, keep moving up to a better location. You can do it cheap!

    Hi Peter – you are indeed a doer! You have your plan laid in place, and you are working on it. Being a doer doesn't mean everything happens in an instant, it only means that you eventually achieve the things that you dream of!

    Hi Julius – I agree, there is nothing wrong with dreaming. Even as a doer, it all starts out with a dream. Too many people, though, dream and dream but never make it happen.

  10. says

    Hi Graham, thanks for your comment, I do write from the heart wherever possible, and thank you Bob, yes I agree making plans and working those plans takes time and patience, and of course as always you are right, these things do not happen in an instant unless you have very deep pockets, I learned much of my goal making success funnily enough from an American, his name is Tom Hopkins, I think he still does public speaking, his office is in Scottsdale Arizona, When I started out in sales in 1983 one of the first people to inspire me was Tom Hopkins, I have read all his books, and I had the honour of seeing him live in Miami Florida in 1985, the main theme of his books and public speaking is that Success in life is the continuous achievement of small goals, I said earlier in my post, that the ultimate dream can be broken down into small achievable worthwile goals.

    For example, if you say I want to retire to the Philippines, Tom always teaches that this statement is too vague !, because if you try and work to a plan which says "I want to retire to the Philippines, you will never attain your dream, because the dream has not been properly quantified into the following:

    1. By what date do you want to retire ?
    2. How much Money do you need to achieve this?
    3. How much time and effort do you need to invest to achieve number 2.

    Tom teaches that the Statement should be something like this:

    "My dream is to retire in the Philippine Islands by 2015 and have an income of xxxx to live on."

    Because you have set a workable deadline, and you have stipulated your target earnings, you now have a set of mathematical values to work with.

    Once having made your statement bold and not vague, you can now work out your business plan in how you will achieve this, I dont know what some of you guys do for a living, its plain to see I am in Sales, the one thing that sales people all over the world have in common, is that they keep figures, salespeople have diaries, they can tell you, how many sales calls they have to make on the phone to achieve an appointment, they know how many appointments they need to make a presentation, they know how many presentations it takes to make a sale, they can tell you the average order value, and the average commission they are paid, they can tell you what is commonly called in the U.S.A. "The NUT".

    The Nut is the exact monthly figure that you need to live on to break even, without being in a loss making situation, so keeping accurate figures over a period of time gives you much valuable needed information on which to formulate your plans.

    Although retiring in the Philippines may seem a long way off, in my view, its never too early to start working towards achieving that aim, and in my view, it doesnt really matter how old you are, or what your financial position is, you can start now, by planning out the work, and then working the plan you have made.

    You can have a final plan, an annual plan, a monthly plan, or quarterly plan, the way I work is to make quaterly plans where I set minor goals, each quarter I aim to do xxx if I achieve it, I cross it off, and tick achieved, whilst I am working that quarters plan, I start formulating the next quarters goal, as they are all small goals, they are much easier to achieve, but the amazing thing is, all the small achieved goals actually start adding up, in time, you have achieved major goals, and when you look at what you have for your efforts, you will have a nice warm feeling inside, cos guess what, its your dream, its your plan, and you achieved it on your own.

    Great goal setters always know, that the higher you set your goals, the easier it is to acheive the ones you really need, because if you set lower targets, you never achieve them, but if you set higher targets to achieve those goals, then guess what, you always achieve them, because as Bob says, plans dont always come off straight away, but over time, if you are enthusiastic about something and want it badly enough, it will come off over time, the question is ? How badly do you want it ? hahahahahaha

    Thats the way I work, I would be interested to hear what other contributors do, or if they have anything to add.

    • peterjoy says


      there is more to life and just draming about a flipina just find one and full in love and that dream will be over mate all the best with it there are still a lot off good girls out there for good men to find ok but look out for the bad one for she is ou there to take u down ok so take good care…peter martin tassie

  11. Tony Grosse says

    hi bob, I guess admittedly I'd have to say that I have been more of a dreamer than a doer. My focus just has not been there. You would think that after chasing all these hype business ventures all these years I would wake up and smell the coffee. That say, "don't let anyone still your dream". So true isn't it? Procrastination I guess is all of our worst enemies. I guess I need to get off that thought that the road is smoothly paved and dollars for the picking.

  12. says

    Hi Tony – Most of us are dreamers to an extent. It can be productive too, for those who dream up ideas and then follow them. You don't need to stop dreaming, just take some action after the dream presents itself!

  13. Andres says

    Dreaming gets us out of bed to pursue the things we want out of life.  But dreaming often takes us out of reality where we should be enjoying the moment with a clear and present mind; Instead, we’re often stuck on reverse (dreaming about the past) or on fast forward (fantasizing about the future). 

  14. peterjoy says


    WE ALL HAVE A DREAM mate ok and like u i dream every day to move to be with my dear one and the home we have in the php i know one day that dream will come to be right but right now i cannot see it happen for a year or so yet but i dream and pray it will happen soon as i am misssing out on a lot in my famliy as the kids are geting older andi know thay would love to have dad there for them and i know most off all my wife love to have me home full time as i love it there where we have to home bob it is a lovley spot ok itis about 30 min from the shops and banks so we dont get no floods up there and it is safe too mate…….pete martin tassie

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