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Notes to self

Globetrotting writer Gaby Doman reflects on the everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman

Tabloid on Saturday

I had a first date the other night (obviously it went nowhere because, like all the other boys I meet, he already had two other girlfriends!), and we went through the whole “getting to know each other” chitchat one does on a date. We discussed interests (apparently my enthusiasm for weight lifting is “scary”, which I find hilarious), our families and what our dreams were. Actually, he told me what his dream was. Because when the question was directed at me, I honestly couldn’t think of one.

I always thought I was very ambitious and had big dreams, but now that I try and recall them, I can’t think of any huge ones. I used to want to set up a women’s magazine that was a bit less fluffy than the usual titles. And I also wanted to write a book. But now the thought of setting up a magazine just sounds like a lot of work, and I’m pretty sure that’s not what I want for the biggest moment of my life. The book idea is still appealing, but I think I want a bigger life goal than that. I don’t think I’d feel like I’d made it to have a book published.

Otherwise, my goals are quite humble. I like the idea of learning Thai, marrying a Thai man and being financially independent. I would like to not have to think too much about the prices of things and to be able to holiday every couple of months. I’d like to travel a lot. But none of those are particularly huge dreams, such as setting up a business or travelling six continents on a bicycle or something. I think a dream should be something you can tick off when you’ve done it, whereas something vague, such as “travel a lot” can never really be ticked off.

Since he asked me that question, I’ve had the song “you’ve got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” in my head. It’s very irritating and a bit depressing. I want to have a dream come true.

I was surprised that I don’t have a dream. One of the things that most irritated me about my ex was that he didn’t have ambition or drive. I find both of those things hugely attractive. One of my friends in Thailand is a Cambodian guy who came from a poor farming family. He came to Thailand not speaking any Thai or English, now he is fluent in both. In fact, you would think he’d lived in England.

He also taught himself to break dance and DJ and now that’s how he makes a living. He’s still not done; his ambition and determination is limitless and it’s very attractive indeed.

So now I’m racking my brains for a dream. My brain can’t even seem to conjure up something adequately big enough for a life goal, though. But now I feel as though it’s essential in order to have some focus in my life. I think I’ve got too distracted with dating. Bagging a husband certainly isn’t the kind of dream I ever thought I would be pursuing.

I think I’m going to begin by writing a “30 before 30” list, of things I want to do before I reach that landmark birthday in 13 months. Maybe that will help me decide what’s important to me and give me some exciting ideas to help shape a bigger dream. I don’t want to be in the position of stuttering and looking confused when people ask me what I want from life, again.

The shame! My super ambitious 13-year-old self would have been horrified. Watch this space; my new goal is to think up a wildly ambitious dream.