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For many, freedom is the ultimate goal in life. The highest aim.
The freedom to explore, to make our own choices, to push the boundaries. To be, who we know in our heart of hearts, we can be, if only the world would let us.
The remarkable thing is, we can all live a lot more free than we think.
Most of the factors that limit our freedom aren’t imposed by others like we love to think. They’re built by us. With dedication, commitment and some sacrifice, you’ll be surprised how liberated you can be.
Here are just a few ways you can start to live more freely, whether you’re at home or on the road.
Now you may or may not agree with me on this, but hear me out.
Of course you can travel and explore with your significant other–in fact traveling with someone you love can be a fantastic experience for the both of you–but when we're talking about maximizing freedom, being single is undeniably more liberating.
I don’t just mean that you’re free to be with other people (though I do mean that as well), but you’re also free to put your own goals and desires first. And if you think that you can go on a solo trip with maximum freedom while keeping your significant other back home, think again. I’ve met countless travelers who do this, and I promise you:
It hinders them. It holds them back.
It keeps you from dancing with someone new, from going out with new friends, from sharing a meal with an interesting stranger, from being intimate and open with others.
Your desire to keep your partner happy will become a wall you build around yourself, separating you from the heat of the moment. You have to keep your guard up at all times, always putting what they would want first, rather then what you would want.
In short, it limits your freedom.
Without commitment, you don’t have to compromise.
You don’t have to decide together where you should go, what you should do, or where you should eat. You can just go! No discussion, no collaboration, no limitations! The world is your oyster, and yours alone.
Have fewer possessions.
The less you have, the easier it is to travel. It’s really that simple.
If freedom is your goal, than the ability to up and relocate on a whim is undeniably desirable. The more you have, the more you have to take with you. The more space you will need for all your things.
Suddenly, you’re limited in your choices of where you can live; you need a house rather than an apartment, you need a garage for your two cars, a spare bedroom for your workout equipment, etc. Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t have some things, but you’d be surprised by how little you actually need, compared to things you just want.
I’ve been living out of nothing more than a backpack for the better part of 10 months now.
two pairs of shoes
a few other little things here and there.
And it’s all I need. With that, I can put my life on my shoulders and live where ever I want, with everything I need.
Don’t be a homeowner.
While there’s something to be said for being a traveling homeowner, if you want to live truly free, than you don’t need to own a home.
Though you could argue that renting out your home while you’re away is a great way to make residual income, it still leaves you tied to a certain place. Plus, have you ever been a landlord while away in another country? Have fun.
Additionally, owning a home incurs mortgage debt, which, while being a better long term investment than renting, still limits you financially. Living without the financial burden and the anchor of a house that you must care for, you can ensure that your body and mind are both where you are, not a million miles away.
Life is a journey and the journey itself is home.
When you have no home base, you have no reason to look back. You have nowhere to miss, no familiar house filled with creature comforts to long to return to. The world becomes your home.
While this nomadic existence may not be for everyone, if freedom is your ultimate goal, this is the price to pay. It’s easier than you think.
Have a transferable skill set.
The ability to work in different countries around the world is extremely valuable to anyone who wants to live free.
It’s quite remarkable how similar workforces around the globe can be. Coming from Canada to work in Australia was one of the easiest transitions I could have imagined. I found work as a bartender within the first week of looking, and a job so similar that I sometimes forget I’m not working in Canada.
Now, granted, Australia and Canada are about as similar as two countries across the world can be, and having the same language certainly simplifies things, but that doesn’t change the core principle. Have skills that are useful anywhere. This means jobs that are similar anywhere you go. Food service, retail, automotive repair, construction, web design, IT, aesthetics, etc.
Also, for many entry level jobs, people don’t tend to check international references, as it’s too much trouble. So I’m not saying to lie on your resume, but like…you don’t have to not not lie either (triple negatives don’t count as encouragement).
Work for yourself.
If all else fails, working for yourself can be a fantastic way to maximize your personal freedom, especially if your job is location-independent.
Most freelance work will fall into this category, or owning your own online business or blog (like this one!). While being a digital nomad is a tantalizing idea for those looking for location-independent work, never forget that it’s still work. A lot of work.
Being your own boss has its plus sides and its drawbacks. Turns out having a manager on your back to keep you busy really works! But if what you do is a passion, or something that you love, it doesn’t have to feel like a grind.
Creating your own e-commerce business, or doing freelance photography/videography, or web design can be some great ways to earn some money on the go.
Never forget the Dream.
Living as freely as possible is a wonder. It’s exciting, exhilarating and unpredictable. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
There will be days when suddenly living a simpler, more uniform existence seems quite tempting. Having a familiar home to return to every night, a consistent group of old friends to hang out with, family nearby, a consistent routine. It can sound pretty nice at times, especially after a long, hard day on the road.
But then you remember.
When you look up at a bird soaring across you sky you can share a knowing smile, sound in the knowledge that you know the feeling. When you step out into a new exciting place with the sun rising over a distant horizon, you can feel it in your blood. When you lie under unfamiliar stars and lose yourself in the vastness of it all, you can’t help but remember.
You have what you have always wanted.
So live, as free and as fully as you can.