Dead tomorrow. Dream today

Published: 20 November, 2011 02:54 IST | Lhendup G Bhutia |

A 30 year-old South Korean arrives in Mumbai this week to ask you what your dream is. Dream Panorama, a year-long project that's taken Suyoung Kim across the world, will see its real end 10 years later when she returns to the city to find out if you managed to realise it

A 30 year-old South Korean arrives in Mumbai this week to ask you what your dream is. Dream Panorama, a year-long project that's taken Suyoung Kim across the world, will see its real end 10 years later when she returns to the city to find out if you managed to realise it

When the South Korean-born Suyoung Kim arrives in the city this week after spending over a month in Goa where she immersed herself in yoga, she will head straight from one dream to another. Here in Mumbai, Kim has plans to live in a rented apartment, take daily dance classes, hang out at caf �s in Colaba -- all to land a role in a Bollywood film. 

Badeaa, 77, who lives in a refugee camp in Palestine wants to return to
her house which falls in an area that is now occupied by Israel

But till the end of this year -- the time she has given herself to find a role -- she will nurse a pet project on the side. Every day, she will seek out a Mumbaikar, and ask them a simple question; one that has taken her to different parts of the world -- What's your dream?

Paolo deFalco, a 43 year-old Italian chemical engineer wants to fall in
love with a woman 20 years younger than him

Thirty year-old Kim is on a year-long road trip that she calls Dream Panorama. The project requires her to travel across countries interviewing people from various ethnicities and walks of lives, documenting data on their dreams.

Javad Rezaei, a 40 year-old Iranian cobbler, who now lives in Afghanistan,
dreams of getting his injured right hand treated. His hand was injured
in a bomb explosion

She began her journey in London in June 2011, and wants to wind it up next May in Seoul, in all hoping to interview 365 people -- one person a day. Kim will then revisit the same places, retrace her route and meet those same faces 10 years later to see if their dreams have been realised. The stories currently find space on her website (, and if all goes well, she'd like to turn it into a book, and travelling exhibition.

Till November 13, Kim had already interviewed 161 people of 48 nationalities, ranging from coconut sellers and hot air balloon pilots to wine tasters and belly dancers. Their dreams ranged from wanting to marry a woman 20 years younger to owning a Palestinian passport some day.

The best-selling author (Write Your Dreams, Write Your Future) who received a grant of US$ 90,000 from Johnnie Walker's Keep Walking Fund for Dream Panorama, is undertaking the mission to inspire people to follow their dreams. "Everyone has dreams but often they believe they can't fulfill them because they are married or don't have the money and time. Some say they don't know what their dreams are.

I thought, I can't be a solution for everyone, but I can be the inspiration. I am one person leading one life but I can show so many more -- there are seven billion people in the world, seven billion lives," she says over the phone from Mandrem in Goa.

Kim has more than just a keen interest in helping others realise their dreams. The daughter of a construction labourer, she had a difficult childhood plagued by poverty. Kim dropped out of school at 15 and ran away from home. But she managed to complete her education and, despite opposition from a traditional family that wanted her to get married to a factory worker, Kima became a journalist, and later bagged a job at with investment giant Goldman Sachs.

Her world came crashing down, when at 24, she was diagnosed with cancer. Following her recovery, Kim knew she wanted something more. "People say they have a dream, but my question is, what do you really want? Because you could die tomorrow." Kim quit her job, jotted down a list of 73 dreams she wanted to realise, and set off to complete her first dream: move to London. Her list has now expanded to 83.

While Kim says it is difficult to choose her favourite stories, some meetings have moved her more than others. In Palestine, she met 77 year-old Badeaa who was stationed in a refugee camp. The area where the septuagenarian once lived is now under Israeli occupation. "She has been living in the camp since 1998. When she ran away, she locked her house and fled thinking she would be away for a few days at most. Now it's been years, and she still holds the key to her house. Her dream is to return home before she dies."

Recently, Kim interviewed Nilesh, a 27 year-old coconut seller from Goa, who has a simple goal -- to own a shop of his own. "The local press there reported on my project and printed his picture. You should have seen how excited he was!"

Kim, who travelled to Mumbai last year, says she chose the city because it has a zest for life. "I am especially interested in looking at people, who perform various jobs in the Bollywood industry -- the foreigner extra, the guy who delivers tea, the spot boy. I am sure they have big dreams."

Contact Suyoung Kim on or

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