In Dream Chaser Interviews

Have you ever dreamed of moving to far off place and reinventing your life? That’s exactly what Liliana Leon did after a job layoff and broken relationship left her down on her luck. Read on for Liliana’s inspiring story…

Liliana LeonQ: Tell us about yourself. What’s your dream and how are you working towards it?
LL: My name is Liliana Leon and I’m a twenty-two year-old student from Orange County, California. My mother and father are both from Mexico and they came to the United States at a very young age with very little education or money. They didn’t know anybody and didn’t have jobs. They didn’t even know a word of English. Nevertheless, they progressed little by little and no matter what the circumstances were, they always provided for my brother, two sisters and me and kept us safe, healthy and happy.

My childhood was a very special part of my life because I remember it being very cheerful and sweet. We were always surrounded by family members: uncles, aunts and lots and lots of cousins. I think the best part about my childhood was that I remember being very free-spirited. I chased chickens all over my grandparents’ farm in Mexico, loved to wear my older sisters’ clothes and shoes, and I got in trouble the most out of all my siblings. I was definitely the wild child in my family.

My dream is to become both a Journalist and an Architectural Designer in New York City. I want to build in very poor countries, providing homes for people that can’t afford them and creating schools for children who have never had an education. I also aspire to be a Journalist; it’s an incredible passion of mine. It makes me happy and I would love to provide daily inspiration and motivation to others through my writing.

For a long time, this dream of mine has been just that…a dream. Last month, however, I took the first step in making that dream a reality by moving to New York City. I plan to complete all of my education in New York and eventually get my Master’s in Architecture and Writing from Columbia University. Before I made such a decision I had to do some researching to what I needed to move to New York, I found this blog about how to move to nyc, and I never looked back. It gave me some important information and I will keep this with me during my move. I also asked my friend for advice on where I should live, as I didn’t know if it would best to find a family home or to find a nyc apartment that I could rent until I had more time in my schedule to look for a house that we could live in permanently. I will have to do some more research into this area before deciding on what is best for me.

Q: Describe a gray time in your life. How did you overcome it?
LL: A few months back I found myself at the most intense breaking point of my life. I had been grappling with the challenges of my parents’ divorce, I was trying to solve the problems in my own relationship, I’d just been laid off from my job and, without income, found myself moving back to my parents’ house unable to live on my own any longer.

I spent the next two months at home feeling the deepest despair. There came a point when I knew I had to get away. I was completely aware that somewhere in the middle of all this mess I had lost a big part of myself, but I was more determined than ever to gain back what I had lost… even if it meant traveling across the country to find it. So I did just that. I booked a flight to a place I had always longed to visit: New York City. Once there, I felt refreshed, energized and blissful. I emerged with new dreams and goals and I visualized my life right there in the city, living as I had imagined. And for the first time in a very long time I felt a spark of happiness.

I knew from that moment on that I had to make it back to New York City, only this time to stay. I went back home and within two months made my flight arrangements, packed twenty-two years of my life into two suitcases and waved good-bye to my past and emerged into something new.

Q: What challenges and fears have stood between you and your dreams? How did you overcome them?
LL: When I finally knew that I was really moving to New York, I realized that it was going to be much more than just a move, and I accepted the fact that it was going to be the most challenging and difficult thing I’d ever try to accomplish. Relocating itself is difficult enough and I had to find a relocation company to move all my stuff and then found Cars Relo who moved my car for me as well. But what was most daunting is that even when I had done all that, I would be alone, completely on my own, far away from home, and I would have to create my new life from scratch. I knew I was risking time, money, failure and many other things, but I wanted to do it in order to go after the most meaningful dream in my life. As motivated as I was, it was very difficult to maintain that spirit because I was also faced with a lot what ifs. People would ask, what if you don’t like it? What if you fail? What if something happens to you? What if…what if …what if?

At first this bothered me, realizing how other people can have an effect on what you want to accomplish. However, I realized that the only thoughts I had to listen to were my own. I knew there was no other person out there that could understand my feelings and my reasons for craving change.

Another big challenge was dealing with the emotional impact on my family. Even though they had encouraged and motivated me to take on this great journey, I could see it in their faces and expressions how much my decision had impacted them, which made it so much more difficult for me to leave. It was a very emotional stage for all of us and what kept me going knowing that, no matter what happened, I could always go back home and be greeted with the same excitement and love.

Q: What inspires you to keep moving forward when the going gets tough?
LL: My greatest inspiration comes from my mother and father who have worked very hard all their lives. It is because of them that I value every opportunity that I get and with every goal that I accomplish, I always thank them for helping me to take risks and grow as a person.

My older brother, Ish, who was also a father figure to me and my sisters, is another one of my greatest inspirations. Nothing was ever easy for him; he had to create his own opportunities while trying to set a good example for us. His persistence and hard work is something that I’ve always admired.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone else who is struggling to move beyond the gray and follow a dream, what would it be?
LL: Love yourself unconditionally and fully. Love yourself enough to listen to your thoughts and emotions, and whatever they ask of you. They’re bugging you for a reason. If you are in a stressful situation, talk about it, write about it, share it with someone; you shouldn’t go through your problems alone. Chase after your dream and let it take you everywhere; let it be an adventure and an unforgettable experience. We all deserve to be happy, we all deserve happy endings, and we all deserve a chance to accomplish whatever dream we may have. Nothing is impossible.

To read more about Liliana Leon visit her blog, Risks, Romance and Red Lipstick.

Are you actively pursuing or living a dream? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Please e-mail me at: Erika (dot) Liodice (at sign) hotmail (dot) com.

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  • Heidi

    one of the most inspirational things I have ever read. Lili, I love you, and proud of you!

  • Henry

    goooo lili!

  • Jenny

    Hey LILI =)
    I read your little interview… Your a great writer! All of the things you said were true and there were some sentences/quotes/phrases?…that made go “ahhh true poetry” =)

    keep it up lily

  • Nancy O.

    So weird how i came across this,definately can see a lot of growth as a person from her, something like the girl next door who doesn’t fit the mold and a great inspiration to us Mexicans. good luck Lily wish you the best.

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