How Finding Freedom Means You Must be Willing to Create Fireworks by Doing the Unthinkable

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Nicole Akers’ picture, off our balcony

In America it’s almost Independence Day. If you ask many Americans, they’ll say the Fourth of July involves picnic food, celebrations, music, festivities and fireworks. The celebration of independence is spent with friends and family. Togetherness comes at barbecues with hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, coleslaw, and people. They boogey and play into the night and the grand finale includes fireworks. The celebration is as American as apple pie.

Cliché, I know; right?

It’s so cliché the celebration is repeated without thought that it’s really about freedom from tyranny and oppression. It’s an excuse on the calendar to have fun. And, a little celebration can be a good thing. I’ll bet few actually know a true definition of “freedom”. If you have a grasp of freedom, please share your definition. I’ve found my definition of the word has changed over the years.

At first it may have been the ability to do what I want, whenever I want to do it.

Later in life it was dreaming of having the finances to be free to have an amazing vacation, secure that needs are met. Living a life of ease.

Today it means freedom from “stuff” that holds us back. Our goals are to live simply and live on necessities we can carry.

We’ve been backpacking El Camino de Santiago and it’s caused a complete shift of priorities. We spent more than a year getting ready for the adventure and life circumstances caused us to take the final jump.

We’re a little weird — that’s what people keep telling us. Honestly, I think you have to be a little “different” to experience freedom. You can call it any number of things to offer more peace with what we’re doing. God knows, our family calls us: weird, strange, peculiar, in mid-life crisis, unconventional, hippies, vagabonds, Bohemians. You probably can’t come up with anything more offensive than those that love us.

Freedom

Merriam-Webster defines freedom as:

a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action

b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence

c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous

d : unrestricted use

h : boldness of conception or execution

We’ve worked hard to find freedom and health where others in our family are enslaved and judge us:

It’s something that doesn’t come easily. It comes with a lot of hard work and discipline. It’s something that takes laser-light focus.

Laser-light focus

When I look at the feature picture I get a sense of peace and freedom. It isn’t a picture from a free library. It’s a real-life picture, and right now it’s my current view.

I zeroed in on the part of the picture that matters.

The picture started out like this:

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Nicole Akers’ picture

The above pic has extras. Most of our lives have a lot of extras that we don’t need. When we eliminate everything unnecessary we gain focus on the things that matter. We also gain focus on what we can leave behind.

We’ve spent a long time coming to the conclusion that, freedom, for us means only what we need. Most people have too much and the “stuff” suffocates freedom from their lives.

As we hike Camino we see that we are literally wearing out our clothes. Clothes usually last years. I still have some from college and a few pieces from high school. We need to shop for some replacements, not because we want more, but because what we have can’t be used anymore.

Levi Strauss suggests “dirty is the new clean”. Maybe you’ve worn your comfy clothes every night after work for a week and rehung them for the next wear because they aren’t “dirty”. You never wash your jeans because the whiskers hug your lap. The honeycombs are worn just right, and the stacks are perfect.

Wearing the same two outfits day in and day out while washing them in the sink, and periodically in a machine, to line dry may be a foreign concept. It’s daily life on the Camino trail.

On the other side of this journey I may have to call on Brianna Lamberson to tell me exactly what 10 pieces of clothing I need to create a capsule wardrobe. Brianna is simple and fashionable. She cuts the fluff and keeps you looking good. She can suit anyone with a less is more approach and that’s what we are all about.

For us, freedom means the ability to move lightly and quickly, with ease. We need less so that we can experience more.

Independence Day

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Nicole Akers’ picture-homemade Sangria

I’d really like to upload a firework picture right here, but the Wi-Fi connection is too temperamental and I don’t have enough bandwidth. You’ll have to imagine your own fireworks from your mind’s eye just like we will this Independence Day.

As Independence Day approaches, I think I’ll crave fireworks as I did when we backpacked through Europe two years ago. We stood on a Paris balcony and longed for the fireworks to lighten the sky. Americans celebrate freedom and many haven’t explored their personal definition of the word. Currently, we’re experiencing freedom by having less. Maybe we’ll enjoy the fruits of our labor and sip a homemade Sangria, realizing we’ve already created our fireworks. They are our amazing life adventure. The freedom we experience because we live differently, with intentional choices.

We’ll create our own fireworks by enjoying where we are and what’s around us, while leaving the future open to the new people we’re becoming through hiking Camino. It’s part of our life calling and it’s glorious. What do we do next? We don’t know yet, but we do know the answer is coming and you’ll have to follow me for the rest of the story. We’re creating our own fireworks.

What about you?

How do you define freedom? You have a story that needs to be shared. Maybe you are creating your own fireworks. Share your story with Publishous and PublishousNOW. We’re looking to add great writers and creatives as well as their stories and creations. Join us today!

Written by

Founder of Publishous. Mom of 2. Helps writers write better. Get my book, Make Money on Medium: Build Your Audience & Grow Your Income: https://amzn.to/2WI48e8

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