Back in 2008 when I was living in a tiny apartment in Sydney, Australia, with my soon-to-be ex-wife, contemplating my life and the world around me, I ordered a book on Amazon that I had been meaning to read for a while called “How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World”, by Harry Browne.
For some time I had been obsessed with the idea of freedom, and always wanted to maximize my levels of it. However, I never “felt” free.
My first instinct was to blame the government. After all, the government represents the opposite of freedom! Just listen to Sammy Hagar!
2008 was the year I went from being interested in politics to interested in philosophy. It flipped my world around! I felt like I started using my brain for the first time…like, for real. A lot of my previous assumptions were challenged by some of the books I read, the podcasts I heard, and the movies I watched.
But I’ll get to those later.
For now, I want to focus on: What is freedom? How can we get more of it? How can we avoid feeling trapped, imprisoned, stuck, limited…or in other words, generally unhappy?
As defined by Google, which is of course all-knowing:
- The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
- Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
Let’s focus on #1 for now and I’ll get into despotic governments later. 🙂
Back to the Harry Browne book I mentioned. When I got it and started reading it, I could not put it down. I’m a slow reader but I flew through that book. Most of it was about ways in which we sabotage our own freedom, never mind what the government does! His point was that yes, government is oppressive and will try to limit your freedom at every turn, but, fighting government will also not give you more freedom, and in fact, in many cases, much less freedom!
We trap ourselves with our perceived “unchosen” obligations. It’s expected that you get married. But what if you don’t? It’s expected that you will have kids some day. But what if you don’t want kids? It’s expected that you go to college. College is expensive and many degrees get you nowhere.
Do you hate cleaning your house? Find a way to earn the extra $50/week it would take to get a maid.
Do you hate cold weather? Find a way to move to a warmer location.
Do you love to travel but feel limited by finances, or your job, or your family? Keep reading…this blog, or hit up Chris Guillebeau’s “Art of Non Conformity blog for tips on unconventional strategies for life, work, and travel.
We trap ourselves by the thoughts of “well it’s always been this way so it will always be this way”.
These are just a few ideas from the book. We can also be limited by our peer group. Our relationships. Our communication. Even our stuff can limit our freedom!
In this blog, I plan to focus on these topics and more specifically how I act, speak, and think as I want without restraint, whether I’m traveling the globe or living a low-key life in San Diego, California.