Have You a Dream Deferred? is the title of an essay by Bob Greenleaf. In it, he addresses the opportunities and challenges of turning dreams into reality.

I thought of this today as I hurriedly began to pack for my upcoming road trip.

For years now, I have dreamt of making two significant road trips. One such dream has been to drive from Indianapolis to Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), then travel on to Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada) by air. The other trip that I have wanted to make has involved driving along Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica—which once ran some 2,300 miles from the Windy City to the Pacific Ocean. I use the past tense because, despite its remarkable role in the westward migration, Route 66 was officially decommissioned in 1984 and most of the signage for it was taken down. Today, about 85% of it remains in use—mostly as a two-lane highway which often runs parallel to major Interstate highways such as I-55 and I-40.

I have begun each New Year thinking that this is the year that I should make one or the other of these dream-trips happen. And, each year has ended without my having done either one. The reasons are familiar to many of us: Too many work commitments; not enough time; it’s difficult to be away from home for that length of time. Added to those reasons: My commitment to my work in servant-leadership has always taken precedence. Put it another way: Work has always trumped fun. It has simply seemed too frivolous for me to take the weeks that are necessary to do either of these trips in the way that I wanted to do them.

Sometime last year, I began to think about these and other matters and I started to ask myself: What will it take to make this dream a reality? I realized that my own tipping point might reside in my taking my passion for writing about servant-leadership and weaving it into the desire to make the Route 66 trip. As soon as that thought came to me I began to see the possibility for combining my interests in servant-leadership with my dream to drive Route 66. I saw it not only as a means to an end, but as something that was likely to be a deeper and more meaningful experience for me.

Next, I looked at my 2010 calendar and concluded that the month of January was going to be the best time to do it, though not the ideal weather for such a trip. Still, having put this dream off for years, I was now eager to make it happen. And so, this Route 66/Servant-Leadership Journey has come into being.

I have relatively modest goals in mind: enjoy the drive, be open to the experience, and write a bit each evening about my trip and about servant-leadership. I am also launching a blog on the Spears Center website (www.spearscenter.org) where I can post these thoughts for anyone who may be interested in reading them.

Like me, you may have your own dreams that you have deferred. You may also be feeling that time is passing more quickly, and wonder whether you may risk not realizing those dreams. If so, perhaps some of these postings will be of interest to you.

The road beckons.

--Larry Spears [Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010]