I peep out the tiny, oval-shaped window. My heart almost skips a beat, marvelling at the expansive snow-capped mountains. The ambient sweet song with the violin string adding a cinematic touch, as we glide effortlessly over the Rocky Mountains.
My confused state, diluted, just like clouds as they start to part. Those almighty peaks seem closer than they are, tricking my perspective. close, like they’re piercing the clouds. I know they’re further than they look. Tall trees stand in unification, huddling against the -21 degree winds.
It’s safe to let my thoughts out here, in this endless space. I find answers. I question my questions, too.
Freedom: What is it? Why do I hold it above all in my life? What is this relationship?
This word, freedom, has stuck with me for as long as I can remember. It’s what I’ve based every decision on. But just like happiness, freedom looks different for everyone. For some, it’s being out there, in the mountains, with nothing but a bag and the clothes on their back.
But for me, freedom is something as momentary as this. It’s a lifestyle choice. A way of being, of living and of seeing. Freedom isn’t only determined in the physical state. It’s a mindset, too, that’s free from the constraints and limitations of society.
It’s something that needs to be worked on, committed to. A free life comes with labels – I’m a ‘hippie’, a ‘nomad’, a ‘free-spirit’ and ‘brave’. And then there’s the bad connotations it brings, like I’m ‘lost’, and I’m ‘irresponsible.’
Whatever you do, only one thing matters. You need to constantly ask yourself one thing: Am I happy? That answer won’t always be ‘yes’, and this is okay.
The epitome of freedom to me is being in the driver’s seat of my life. This means choosing what I do for work, where I live, who I spend time with, and being able to change what I’m not happy with. Call me a little bit ignorant, blasé or just young, when I started travelling I had a slightly skewed version of happiness.
I thought that a life where work and travel were one and the same… and ‘perfect.’ Now I know there’s no such thing. Because even the most beautiful far-off places and the strongest of loves start to feel familiar and normal after enough time has passed. This, too, is okay. This is part of this life.
I’m nearly two years as a full-time traveller. Freedom is still the word that I connect my happiness to but my perception of it has evolved. I’ve fallen in love with New York and have felt the brunt of having to leave, due to visa reasons. During that process, I’ve never felt less free in my life – even though I was still technically travelling full-time and living out my dream.
See, after years on the road (or in the air), this dream of mine has become my new normal. And while there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s important to be self-aware and understand the evolution that’s happening. Freedom has almost become the opposite of what I thought. Now, I’m making that choice to slow down, to pick a place to set some roots – at least in the best way a full-time traveller can.
The shaking plane and impending turbulence brings me out of my musing thoughts.
“Hold on tight, folks. We’re flying right over the Rockies,” the pilot says. The mountains are covered with a thick layer of cloud. I can’t see anything but I can feel their power. It was a different view from a few minutes ago. I smile to myself. See, even mother nature changes her mind.