Travelling gives an incredible feeling of freedom. Few responsibilities, no routine, seeing hundreds of new places, meeting people from around the world… It’s like putting on a pair of beautiful wide wings. Freedom in its pure form.
Quite idyllic, but also unlikely to happen when the daily work, school and family duties kick in. Or is it? Maybe in fact freedom is achievable in every situation of every day. Because freedom (or one aspect of) doesn’t matter on the place where we are; it is a state of mind (I’ll come back to physical freedom shortly). So what if the answer to everyday freedom only relied on our personal definition of the word?
I asked people of all cultures during my trip what freedom meant to them. To a Tibetan monk, it was the absence of fear. To a Nepali trekking guide, it was being given all the living rights an honest man should be allowed to. To me, freedom is about being able to make decisions for myself and assuming the consequences. It’s also having the liberty to craft my own life the way I want it by choosing how I react to situations, what I want to fulfill, how I’m going to do it, who I will surround myself with, what attitudes and behaviours I will agree and disagree with and what values I will follow. In other words, it’s about having choices.
It’d be quite foolish of me not to acknowledge that this discussion on freedom is ‘easy’ to have for those with the knowledge to make choices and the environment to help flourish them. Poor people in countries I have visited may not be given such opportunity. Their physical freedom may be limited. For them, it’s a matter of having food to eat, a roof over their head and, hopefully, the chance to send the kids to school. It’s a very different reality which is good to remind ourselves of at times. It might help us add a touch of gratitude and generosity to our ‘free’ life.
Now tell me, what is your definition of freedom? And most important, do you feel free?