One Year Since We Sold it All and Hit the Road
One year ago today, my wife and I sold our home and most of our possessions and hit the road on a freedom lifestyle adventure with our four kids.
Here’s the original blog post I wrote when we embarked on this journey.
We're currently living in Sedona, Arizona (and have decided to settle here for a while) and during the past year we've been in the desert, on the beaches, in the mountains, cruising on lakes, and driving through the prairies. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas (Galveston, Austin, Alpine), New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Some have suggested that I write a book about our travels, documenting the sites, towns, and people we’ve encountered along the way.
Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
In truth, the power of the past year had nothing to do with what we saw and the physical places we’ve lived (though, make no mistake, we’ve seen some breathtaking sites).
The true power was in living our definition of the freedom lifestyle; in actually putting into practice the five pillars I wrote about in my book.
There has been true power and freedom in detaching from the “identity” we had constructed for our family over the years. The material attachments to which we had become accustomed. Not just our house and cars, but also the restaurants and stores we frequented.
When local government took some of these things away from us in the name of fighting COVID, we didn’t like it.
And that was a wake-up call that, our freedom was somehow dependent on the whims of other people — then it wasn’t truly freedom.
You see, I believe that freedom is our birthright, but for decades I spent much time, money, and mindshare “fighting” to protect our freedom.
One thing I’ve learned over the past year is that I don’t have to “fight” for my freedom or protect it, because only I can give it away.
This requires radical responsibility.
Because if I see myself as the victim of politicians or of “society” — then I’ve willingly given my freedom away to those people.
In addition, by focusing on the “fight” — on the “us versus them” — I’m voluntarily contributing to a consciousness of fear, anger, and division.
Freedom comes from within; it is not “given” from the outside.
With that realization it is possible to live in freedom, no matter your location, your country, your circumstance.
Some will read this and think I’m belittling their efforts to stand up to tyranny or to work for what they feel are righteous laws.
That is not my intention.
Over the years, I’ve knocked on thousands of doors, spent tens of thousands of dollars, been spit on by political opponents, run for office, worked in the halls of Congress and city halls, and had fallacious newspapers ads taken out against me personally — all in my efforts to work to elect people I thought were better leaders, or to enact what I thought were better laws.
I regret none of it.
However, it dawned on me that I was increasingly cursing the “divisiveness” of politics and society — while cursing those who disagreed with me in the same breath.
That didn’t make me free. It didn’t make anyone else free.
It made me a victim, and negatively impacted others.
I’ve come to realize that, while I have some strongly-held beliefs — imposing those beliefs on those who feel differently would be no less authoritarian than them doing the same to me.
So, what does all this have to do with my family’s past year living “on the road”?
First, we can learn to live our definition of freedom no matter our location. As the ancient Taoists prescribed, we can live “in society, but not of society.” This requires tuning out the noise, avoiding the negative energy that would have us judge others according to our standards, and focusing on our own mental, physical, and spiritual cultivation.
While some in society would us believe that this personal cultivation is selfish, it’s actually based on the very un-selfish principle that we — humanity and the universe — are all one, instead of separate.
The people around me are a reflection of what’s going on inside me. If I hold anger, fear, and division within, then that is having the same impact on those around me.
Cultivation of yourself is cultivation of the community.
Second, conformity and tribalism are threats to this cultivation.
At a young age, the conformity conditioning begins. From parents. From politicians. From pulpits. From peers.
These are the rules. These are the norms. This is how you live.
Nope. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can define the life you want to live and actually live it. Not the life your parents want you to live; not the life your Facebook friends want you to live; not the life your peers want you to live.
The life you actually want to live.
On my old podcast, Freedom Mindset Radio, one of the first questions I always asked my guests was, “What does Freedom mean to you?”
The key there is — “means to you.”
The fact that my family lives our freedom lifestyle in our own way doesn’t mean I prescribe that for you or anyone else. But stripping away the conditioning to have a real sense of clarity of what freedom truly means to you is an important first step.
People may not understand you. Some — even friends and family — might mock you.
That’s fine. Remember — by cultivating your life of freedom, you will actually be helping others to be free, as well.
Third, f*ck the term, “the new normal.” This assumes that life should be “normal.”
You don’t have to go crazy to live an “un-normal” life, but for the love of God, let’s stop treating life like a perfectly-timed death march, and instead treat it like a dance.
Flow with the music. Ride the chaos. Embrace uncertainty.
As someone who clings to the safety of routine, the past year has helped me to obsess less about the notes so I can enjoy the music.
Hey, I have responsibilities. Four kids. Rent. Car payment. Running a business.
But, guess what? At age 46, I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had — and I’m not “shirking” any of those responsibilities. In fact, after 17 years of entrepreneurship, I’m finally truly growing the freedom business I desire.
And my family will be better equipped to ride the waves of change in a fast-changing world that promises a future of uncertainty.
True freedom lies in the realization that I can’t stop the spin of the world to fit into my comfort zone of certainty.
On the contrary, true freedom lies in the ability to embrace the wave of uncertainty and ride it like a surfer, finding that line between order and chaos, and doing it all with a smile on my face.