Year II: My definition of Freedom

Year Two; The Big Trip.  Australia!

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After a strange year in Vancouver, sitting around and being homesick it was time for us to jet off on the big adventure.  This was what I was waiting for. Australia! Freedom!  Real traveling!  Now I will tell you a little about myself, I’m a planner.  I plan everything.  I make lists, even my lists have lists. I try to think of every small detail. I make step-by-step instructions for myself and everyone around me just so I know that everything will go according to “the plan”.  If things start straying from the plan I freak out inside and get all anxious and sweaty.  It’s not a nice way to live, and it’s for sure not nice to hang out with someone like that.  I was going to have to drop this habit fast if I was going to become a backpacker and live the free life.  So I started with this, when someone asked me “where are you going?” I answered “Australia”, when they said “what are you going to do there?” I shrugged and told them “I donno”.  If they asked me “where are you going to stay?” “We’ll figure it out when we get there” was what they heard.  And I meant it, all of it.  I had no clue what I was getting into, I didn’t look into hotels, hostels, vehicles, the cost of anything, the location of anything.  I didn’t have a must-see or must-do list. All I had was a one way ticket to a country on the other side of the planet, after that it was a blank slate of openness.  It took me a while to get past the anxiety of what I was (wasn’t) planning but eventually I got used to it, it felt GREAT!

The feeling of having no plan past the next ten minutes is the feeling of truly living in the present.  The past doesn’t matter because you’ve tied up all those loose ends before leaving.  The future doesn’t matter because it doesn’t even exist yet; nothing, there is nothing there to think about, to plan for, to get ready for.  No mortgage due next week, no important client to prepare for tomorrow, diner party to shop for after work, no birthday present to pickup/drop off this weekend, no overdue cellphone bill to worry about.  There is no thought wasted on what is coming past today.  Our biggest worry was, where are we going to sleep tonight, and that wasn’t a worry because it was summer and we had a tent.  That people, is what I would describe as total freedom.  We had a car, a tent, a camp stove and one of those Styrofoam coolers the grocery stores get their broccoli in (yes we grabbed a free one from behind a grocery store one hot day).  We were self-efficient and worry free.  We had tops $2000 in our accounts after 2 weeks and we didn’t care. We were high on freedom.

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Now you’re probably expecting to hear next about the bad day when we ran out of money or our car broke down or we got in a huge fight and the relationship fell apart and all our happiness and high-on-freedom days went flying out the window never to be seen again.  For some reason we are conditioned to expect that if we find something good we will lose it, that if good things happen, eventually bad things are sure to follow.  But that doesn’t need to be the way.  I’m not saying everyday was sunshine and double rainbows and we didn’t run out of money.  Our car broke down and our relationship even ended a few times.  But we didn’t give up, we knew what we had and we kept fighting to keep it.  That was the greatest part.  Every time life threw an unexpected turn in the road, we stuck to it and there was a great view around the corner.

To be continued…

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