In Coelho's The Alchemist, Santiago's first dream is to travel. How does he accomplish this?  

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is interesting how Santiago finds his way to travel. First, his father wants him to be a priest and go to a seminary. The desire to travel is great with Santiago, but he doesn't have money; therefore, he becomes a shepherd. He figures that shepherds make an honorable living and they get to travel around with their flock. This is great for someone who does not want to feel trapped behind a desk or locked inside a cold building every day. But the sheep have their limitations. For example, sheep do travel around the countryside, but they do not go abroad. Santiago's first chosen career only helped him to travel around his own country. 

When he meets the King of Salem, however, he is taught how to fulfill his personal legend--that is, by following omens and listening to one's heart. It is only after Santiago commits himself to following his Personal Legend that he travels. The first omen he must recognize and follow is the dream that shows him he will find his treasure at the Egyptian pyramids. Once Melchizedek points him in the right direction, Santiago travels from Spain to Tarifa, Tanger, across the African desert, to Faiyum (the oasis), and eventually to Egypt. The best explanation of his travels and how he found his way is in the epilogue, which says the following:

"He thought of the many roads he had traveled, and of the strange way God had chosen to show him his treasure. If he hadn't believed in the significance of recurrent dreams, he would not have met the Gypsy woman, the king, the thief, or. . . 'Well, it's a long list. But the path was written in the omens, and there was no way I could go wrong,' he said to himself" (165).

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The Alchemist

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