The word “dream” can mean many things in English. While me and my friend were collecting dreams for the future, we came upon a group of other dream catchers.

Like many of my other Travel Memories on this site, this story takes place during a project called Unelmien tiellä (“On the Road of Dreams”) (see Travel Memory #3).

In that project, me and my friend Olli traveled around Europe for 20 days, asking 1000 people to write or draw their dreams for the future on postcards that we then published on our website.

Asking people to share their dreams in Copenhagen.

Two Meanings for Dreams

The project and our website was in Finnish, though the dreams were collected in English. This difference made us hit a minor language barrier. While Finnish language has two different words for different kinds of dreams, English has just one.

We were collecting the dreams for the future that one might have. The Finnish word for them is unelma. However the English word dream also means the kind of dreams you see at night. In Finnish we have a separate word (uni) for them.

But because English only had one word for the things, we had to avoid misunderstandings. So, every time we went to collect dreams, we explained that we were collecting dreams for the future and not dreams of the other kind.

Copenhagen, 2013

The Other Dream Catchers

A funny thing happened on the third or fourth day of our project. We started our trip by taking a ferry from Turku, Finland, to Stockholm, Sweden. We then took a night train to Copenhagen (and nearly lost all our cameras during that trip, but that’s another story).

We spent a few days in Copenhagen, collecting dream postcards from the people we met. As we had to also update our website and share the cards online, we spent a lot of time working at the Copenhagen Main Library. The library had several open cubicles with views to the stairways where we could focus on working.

The cubicles at the library in Copenhagen, Denmark.

By coincidence, we noticed that another cubicle had another group working. It was a group of young women, and just like us, they were there to collect other people’s dreams. However, they were collecting the other kinds of dreams!

While we asked people about their dreams for the future, they asked people about memorable dreams they had seen while sleeping.

I heard they collected the dreams for some art installation at a festival, though I don’t know the details. I participated by telling about dream I had on the first morning of my military service.