What Defines Your Freedom?
We all tend to have our own definition of freedom. I know I do, and I’ll tell you exactly what it is at the end of this article.
But a few years ago a person unsubscribed from our email list and left this comment, “If freedom means leaving my friends and community, I don’t want it.”
He must have been annoyed by the discussions of travel, living in a country where you weren’t born, and making friends in new places. But his comment did get me thinking.
Readers of a website like EscapeArtist have all kinds of ideas of what their own freedom might look like and what they value most. Any writer would be a fool to think he could know the elements of another person’s concept of life with more freedom.
Listening to many other expats over the years has taught me that every individual has his or her own priorities, values and circumstances that shape their ideal image of personal freedom.
On top of that, those elements are not static. They change at different times in our lives.
Freedom = Luxury and Indulgence
Many people choose to relocate to a different country because the cost of living can be dramatically lower. That means the same income can elevate your standard of living far above what it was back home.
And I’ve mentioned elsewhere that things like spa treatments, fantastic meals, and tropical surroundings can make a person on a pension feel like a millionaire.
There’s a sense of freedom that comes with that – a mastery of your circumstances that was rewarded with a nicer life for you and your partner.
Freedom = Simplicity and Intimacy
Sometimes we get pulled into a pretty frantic lifestyle. Time has to be rigorously scheduled, we take on a manner of living that requires multiple vehicles, a big house to maintain, dozens of recurring and relentless payments every month, and a constant eye on the calendar.
So when you switch gears to a life of walking slowly along a beach in your bare feet, listening – really listening – to the sounds of the ocean waves and the wind in the palm trees, and not being aware of what day of the week it is, it can feel like a freedom not felt since childhood.
There’s something almost primal in being immersed in nature that way. Bertrand Russell wrote about the ‘timelessness’ of those moments. I’m struck by that timeless feeling whenever I realize I’m seeing, hearing, or feeling something that would have been identical 1,000 years ago. It’s a functional time machine and an intimate connection to being alive.
Freedom = Travel and Recreation
When we lived in Belize we were surrounded by recreational opportunities that people built into their everyday lifestyle. Every month included a sunset sail on a catamaran with a half dozen friends, a trip to a different ancient Mayan ruin, a festival in a nearby town, snorkeling a different area of the barrier reef, and on and on.
Living in Europe offers a different flavor of adventure and exploration. The transportation infrastructure is the best in the world and the departure listings at a train station are a smorgasbord of wonderful options.
You can be in Amsterdam and see a train is leaving for Cologne, Germany in 20 minutes, buy a ticket from a machine on the platform, and a few minutes later be smoothly gliding at 200 mph toward your new experience of the magnificent Dom Cathedral and perhaps a Kölsch beer.
No advanced purchase, no security check, no pat-down, just jump on the train, put your luggage on a rack and take a roomy, comfortable seat where you watch Europe roll by your window while you have a nice meal.
When you’re doing these things you know you’re living ‘outside the box’ and you know you have more freedom than most people do.
Freedom = Likeminded Community
It’s probably because of humanity’s thousands of years of tribal adaptation, but many of us just feel happier when we know we are part of a like-minded community. There’s less tension, argumentation, and conflict. There’s more laughter and stories of shared experiences.
Expat enclaves tend to be happy places populated by people who deliberately shaped their lives in the direction they wanted. They like being where they are because they chose it.
They are welcoming to new expats. They want to be helpful. So it’s a positive, supportive environment and that can make a world of difference for a person who felt like he or she spent too many years living in a rat race environment of discord and conflict.
Feeling free from that conflict and discord is beyond price.
Freedom = Peace of Mind
The older we get, the more importance we assign to having peace of mind. Retirees today, in particular, have it much harder than retirees used to.
Financial markets are in turmoil, medical expenses are skyrocketing, and we can expect to live into our nineties. That’s not a recipe for peace of mind.
But expats have discovered several powerful countermeasures. They live in places where their money goes farther. They leverage medical tourism to vastly increase their choices and reduce costs. They run online side hustles that provide significant cash flow that can continue indefinitely. And they live among other people with similar circumstances and discuss these topics and stay informed.
So they sleep better at night. That’s a freedom millions of people will never know.
Freedom = Life on Your Terms
We conduct surveys on our website because I’m a huge believer in asking people what they think, instead of assuming what they think.
One of our questions is about how creating online income would change a client’s life. Recently we received this candid response: “[I could] escape the mundane, rat conveyor, swapping hours for dollars crap, answerable to numb nuts daily.”
That sounds like an exasperated but plainly eloquent cry of the heart to have freedom in the form of living on his own terms instead of on others’ terms.
For more than twenty years, technologies have existed that are liberating individuals to live on their own terms. In many cases, the keystone of that freedom is to have their own source of portable income that they own and control.
When portable income is combined with the willingness to become an expat, it unlocks every form of freedom I’ve mentioned in this article.
The 2020 pandemic has brought this into bold relief. Even major companies are announcing that there is no need for employees to come to a building to perform their work. Once you make that transition, it opens the door to work 5 miles from the office, or 5,000 miles.
In my life, I use a very specific definition of freedom. It’s the condition of having 100% control over my life and property. In a “free society” every individual would have that same control.
That condition does not exist yet anywhere and never has, but we’re moving toward it inch by inch – and it starts with individuals creating their own freedom one at a time.
Is this your time to create your own freedom?
Ready For Plan B?
Are you ready to live life on your own terms – create your own online income? Reach out to us at Safely Leave The Rat Race. We are committed to helping you get from whatever point you are right now – to the point of earning regular, predictable online income.
About The Author
Pete Sisco has been a successful online entrepreneur and author for over 20 years, building and operating multiple online businesses generating millions in online revenue. This business is how he helps people like our readers do the same.
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