“I’ve got to ride, ride like the wind / To be free again”
Christopher Cross – Ride Like the Wind
Recently, a blogger I regularly read posted an entry that, among other things, touched on the idea of freedom and where each of us feels free. Many of the comments touched on much the same idea – most of them experienced such freedom when they were either in the midst of or in close proximity to nature.
It is an interesting question to ponder. In some sense, we are perhaps as free as we have ever been in humanity’s existence. At least in more developed nations, millions upon millions of people have the financial wherewithal to pursue hobbies and interests perhaps unthinkable one or two generations ago.
At the same time, we are perhaps as chained as we have ever been. We live in an increasingly urbanized and technology driven world, and those same millions are often chained electronically or financially to jobs and careers that demand much of their time, even when they are away from the office. In previous generations, most people were simply not able to take their work home with them, even if they wanted to. In the 21st century, many of us not only can take our work home with us, there is an unwritten expectation that we do so.
And so, we look for opportunities to escape for an hour, a day, a week. Many of us find that momentary escape through television, radio, video games, and the like. Others find their escape through more physical avenues, such as hiking, biking, working out in a gym, and so on. That’s escape, but is it freedom or simply the best we can hope for in our current circumstances? To me, it is escape and not freedom, but for now it will have to do.
I find my escape through my RV, a fifth-wheel trailer that I take out with my family every chance I get. Right now, it is an escape and not a feeling of freedom for me as I am unable to go whenever the urge strikes me as I – like most people – have to balance individual desire with familial and societal responsibility. I will say that I feel calmest and most relaxed (usually) when I have the trailer parked in some campground out of the city.
Part of what keeps me going, is the hope that one day soon I can take the RV out and not have to come back to a house or, as those who live full-time in an RV call it, sticks and bricks. It is, luckily, a somewhat realistic dream for me, unlike many, but it does require some things to fall into place or at least not depart too much from their current path. Among those are the continued somewhat relative stability of fuel prices, the continued availability of places to explore, and continued decent health.
It is certainly possible that unforeseen events will require an abandonment or adjustment in this dream of mobile freedom. If that happens, I’ll no doubt manage. Hopefully, I’ll also find a way to feel free.