To have freedom, you must first free your mind.
If you tell me you don’t have freedom, I will tell you that is not true. To have freedom you must first determine what freedoms you want exactly then you need to set your mind free to achieve them. I often have talks with my father about how America is the land of the free. We are granted freedoms for simply being American. For his generation, this may very well have been true, but for many of the worlds population that is under 45 and much more well travelled, our ideas of freedom may be different. In my years of traveling I have really had a lot of time to sit and ponder about which freedoms are important to me. I have also had time to think about how I can realize those goals by setting my mind free and gently floating with the current of change rather than trying to fight my way upstream by holding my ideals so tightly that I can never truly have the freedoms that I wish to have in life. I am very fortunate to have the freedoms to move to an environment generally free of harm and considered safe. For many, this is not an option. This is something we as a whole can work on though, and due to education and the internet we are accomplishing progression some areas more than ever before.
So what do I really mean when I say I want to be free?
– I want to be free to create.
– I want to be free to control the things in my life that I can control, also known as my circle of influence.
-I want to be able to have friends by choice that lift me up as I equally lift them up, as well as friends that let me know when I am in the wrong.
-I want to avoid daily harm from others and generally feel safe wherever I live.
-I want to earn an honest salary for the hours of work I put in at the job of my choice that allow me the basics of life such as housing, food, and enough extra to enjoy the world we live in.
-I want to be able to openly date my partner of choice.
-I want to be free to continue my personal education by reading, online courses, and from others.
In short, I want to be able to choose my friends, my job, be creative, and do this in a safe environment where my future partner and I can live in peace and harmony all the while continually furthering my personal education on the topics of my choice. Do I want to carry a gun? No, because I have no use for a gun and this is in contradiction to living in a “safe” place. Do I need freedom of speech? After living in Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Thailand, and China where there is very little freedom of speech, I find that I do quite fine without voicing my opinion to the general public on a large scale. The message I do tend to push towards all of humanity is a much more positive message that doesn’t require a large freedom attached to it. There are always people willing to speak about the hot topics of government and religion if you are so inclined to do so, too. In addition, sometimes it is easier to make change from within. Start with a small group of individuals that believe in the same things you do and spread the word from there. Surround yourself with people that believe in the same messages that you do and you will slowly begin to grow your circle of influence. So, it’s not to say that I don’t still talk about these topics, but rather much of those topics don’t matter to me. Religion? Believe what you want, but don’t try to get me to believe in your ideologies. I will respect that and just the same I will not push you to believe what I believe. Politics? The different parties are one of the same. I live my life outside of the governmental system of every country. Maybe in the future if I live in America again you can all join my Church of Dustin. I won’t even make you tithe. So the freedoms that I seek can actually be found in many countries around the world. Depending on what freedoms you want, you have to find a way to make them work within the system to benefit from them.
Really breaking down your freedoms to very specific measurable goals reminds me of a situation I found myself in when I was teaching in Dubai in 2013. Dubai is a land of excess and this also holds true for the vehicles they drive. I had a student pull over in their 2013 luxury car to stop and say bye to me before they left campus. He said, “Oh Dustin, why do you drive such an old truck, what year is that anyway?” I laughed and told him that my requirements to finding happiness for my vehicle in Dubai were that it must have air conditioning, tinted windows, bass, 4 wheel drive, a V8 (since gas was so incredibly cheap), and it can’t be too expensive knowing I will lose about 40% on the resale when I leave in a year or two. I explained that I found all these requirements in a 1994 Chevy Blazer! The icing on the cake was that it only cost me just over one months paycheck. I asked the student what he wanted in a car. He said it needed to be new, and with this one big requirement he ended up with a huge debt that will last many years. The same thing goes for freedoms. If you simply say you want freedom, but aren’t specific with which freedoms, then you may never leave your current city because you are afraid that anywhere outside of your comfort zone may have less freedoms, which in fact may not be true. Unless you are specific with what freedoms you want then you are less willing to realize how many options you have in maintaining your freedoms but improving your overall lifestyle.
Once you have decided on the kind of lifestyle you want and what freedoms you need to achieve that, you will then need to set your mind free. What I mean is that there are many locations worldwide that can give you access to the freedoms that you so enjoy, but also may give you other freedoms that you never knew you would enjoy unless they had been given to you by living in another country. I have found that in any country that I live my general freedoms are still there. If you want to drink a beer with your friends while your road tripping down the coast as your friend drives, by all means you can do it in Mexico. You didn’t finish that beer at the bar but you feel like you want to go check out the bar down the street? Just walk down there and finish your beer along the way in Thailand. You don’t need to quickly down it before you walk down the street. If you decide to stumble across the road not in the crosswalk though you may risk a fine of $6USD, which is a bit lower than the comparative rate for j-walking in Hawaii, USA, which will empty your wallet $90USD. Not to say that the only extra freedoms you gain in other countries are vice related by all means, but those just happen to be extra freedoms that many foreigners traveling abroad make good use of.
Some freedoms that people want in return for a good life are safety for themselves and their family. On a larger global scale this can be one of the most difficult freedoms to attain for many families that are in war torn countries. Due to the corrupt visa restrictions for many countries in the world it is often difficult for some people to escape their own devastated countries to move on to a safer country.
Just look at the difference from the most powerful to the least powerful passports.
There is literally no reason why any human being should be so greatly restricted from accessing the rest of our beautiful world simply due to the country they happen to be born in. If their past shows a history of wrongdoings then by all means they should be restricted, of course!
In the end though, there are still ways to reach your goals in life that will maintain your freedoms, or give you even more, that you wish to have. Some ways may be to marry into another culture, have a child in another country that instantly gets citizenship (USA), pay someone for marriage in another country, illegally enter another country, or work in another country. Some of these methods will be considered immoral by some and often for those in dire need of a better living condition these methods will be seen as an opportunity, immoral or not. Again, this idea goes back to freeing your mind. Once you understand exactly what freedoms you want then you can decide on what steps necessary to take to achieve those goals in many different countries. For many of us, like myself, our freedoms that we use on a daily basis are quite achievable in many countries. I can change the scenery from the crystal green beach to the steep snow covered mountains, or from the full moon over the empty desert to the hot springs coming out near the active volcano, but my freedoms will not change.
What are your freedoms that you cherish the most? Do you cherish them because they give you a better lifestyle overall, or are you simply holding on to a freedom just to be able to claim you have it, although really it doesn’t give much value added to your life? Could you actually gain more freedoms by having a clearer vision of which freedoms you want to maintain, even if it is in another country? Just some things to think about.
If you are interested in realizing your freedoms and using them to create purpose in your life, you may consider reading my other blog:
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