On Freedom


Something has shifted for me recently, and I have become very aware of my freedom. I’ve come to value this new-found freedom above everything else that used to drive me – more money, more success, more clothes, more travel, more… more.  Now that I have it and I’m aware of it, I’m very protective of it, keenly aware of how easy it would be to relinquish.

I have a wonderful life with everything I need and for the most part want. We live in a lively town on the beach in a country we love. But sometimes I think it would be nice to have a car to drive around the Mayan Riviera, or a bigger apartment with a pool, or… nope, they are about the only two things I find myself thinking about sometimes! Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having those things, it would mean spending my time working on projects that don’t inspire me or make me happy and I’m just not willing, at this stage of my life, to do that.

My time and my creatively-driven life, as well as my personal inner journey of growth and renewal, are my priorities today, and I’m no longer willing to compromise them to gain material things.

I’m aware that life may not always be like this, that things change, and so will my values. Change has been the only constant in my life so far, and always will be. Nothing is set in stone or lasts forever, which is, I guess, why I am reveling in this moment of awareness that I am absolutely, 100% free. I have no bills except the rent on our humble apartment, no debt, no job to attend and no social norm to adhere to.

It really is a strange concept for me. I mean surely in life you have to do things you don’t want to do, right? That has definitely been the case for me so far, especially leading up to this indefinite travel adventure. It seemed like all I was doing were things I didn’t want to in order to achieve this dream.

Even for the first year of travel, I had a blast, but I was never truly free. I still held on to a lingering fear of failure, of needing to prove something to myself that kept me trapped. I was on the road to freedom, but I had things to do first, to achieve, to learn. Starting this blog was the main thing I thought I was destined to fail at, and yet the world kept giving me beautiful, funny, ridiculous stories to tell.

I continued down the path and kept plugging away through the negativity, trying to ignore the voice of impending doom that asked me who I thought I was and what right did I have to want something other than what most people I knew wanted.

“A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free.”

– Zorba the Greek

This year, settled down in one place, I started out with a to do list as long as my arm, with a few small tasks on it, like, ‘Write a Book,’ but I’ve since learned to find perfection in the moment, to realise that right now is exactly as it is meant to be, and that right now I am absolutely free. My happiness is not dependent on achieving anything other than doing my best with what I have today.

I guess this goes against the ‘dream + work = achieve’ model that I read about so much on the internet these days. When I’m reading something written by one of these so called ‘highly successful’ people who make a living telling other people how to become ‘highly successful’,  I often think, “I wonder if they’re happy.” I wonder what their day looks like and if they have time to relax, to ponder, to be.

a leaf

Right now, sitting at my computer in my rented studio apartment in Mexico, I have no choice but to believe that the universe has greater plans for me than I could ever dream up. Living in Playa del Carmen was never on my list of things to do, never my major goal in life, and yet, this place has allowed me a greater feeling of connectedness and freedom than I ever thought possible.

I am, of course, my greatest enemy at times. Old habits die hard, and I am occasionally struck with the desire for more. But then I realise I could have more if I really wanted, but at what cost? At the cost of my freedom, certainly. At the cost of the vast expanse of time I have which funnily enough, I manage to fill quite nicely with eating, writing, yoga, movies and the beach, thanks very much!

I am not, by nature, a free spirit. I’m a worrier, a control freak and a chronic people pleaser. Letting go and trusting in the universe’s plan for me is not my default setting, nor is being content with what I have rather than continually striving for more. I still need some practice.

I’m just grateful that today I can choose to live my life the way I want, right now. Right now, I am absolutely, completely, perfectly, free.


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On Freedom — 58 Comments

    • Hi Britany, I think you hit the nail on the head – freedom (for some of us) can be relatively simple to achieve by making a few sacrifices. Of course it will mean different things to different people, I guess free TIME is just one of my priorities today. I need to be active, but not busy. I don’t do well with busy :) Thanks for your comment and all the best on your journey!

  1. I too believe that everything happens for a reason, sometimes the reasons become clear, sometimes they never do. I think once you’ve tasted freedom, it’s hard to turn back. Yes, a car might be nice but as you say, at what price? I think a lot of it has to do with where you are at any given point in your life, but most importantly I think we should all lead our lives without regret because all of our decisions make us who we are. And you’re living near the beach!! How great is that?!
    Patti recently posted..Persian Kabobs ~My Profile

    • Couldn’t agree more Patti. They say pain is the touchstone to growth, which has certainly been the case for me in the past. I guess now I’m just reveling in this new revelation that I don’t need to sabotage my simple happiness for more of anything. Change will come, pain will come, but right now, I’m free. It makes this whole thing worth it :)
      Sarahsomewhere recently posted..On FreedomMy Profile

  2. Freedom is really what we all yearn for, I think. So glad that you have it, are AWARE that you have it, and appreciate what it means in your life. I love following your journey Sarah.
    Kim recently posted..A year ago I left my jobMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Kim! The awareness is the key I guess, I’ve been externally free for a while now, but it just didn’t feel like it. I can get bogged down by just about anything, even the blog, writing, travel plans etc, but then I just thought, “I don’t actually HAVE to do any of it today!” and ta da! Freedom.

    • Thank you Marisol, it was a long road of not being true to myself, feeling trapped and disconnected that eventually led me to where to am, and for that I’m grateful. It’s been a crazy (often painful) journey, so today I’m celebrating!

  3. I may have to bookmark this and just keep coming back to it. It’s nice to hear someone self-describe as a worrier/people pleaser, yet still be able to prioritize time on herself. It’s a hard balance to strike and although I’m sure you work on it daily, it happens. I love that.
    Carmel recently posted..Thai Curry with Sweet Potatoes and TofuMy Profile

    • Thank you Carmel, I guess that’s something I want to be clear on, none of these realisations have come easy. I’ve fallen down more times than I can count, but it’s nice to realise I’m as free as I allow myself to be.

  4. That was one of the most perfect things I’ve ever read. Bravo to you for stopping long enough to realize that maybe there doesn’t have to be a grand goal and we do need to trust in the universe around us. I LOVED this!
    Rhonda recently posted..Foto FridayMy Profile

    • Hi Christine! Yes, I remember you from the beginning!! Just noticed on your about page you love the Kardashians… It’s my guilty pleasure. What are they going to do about Scott??

  5. Beautiful Sarah, always so inspirational and a joy to read your insights and stories. You sound as if you are exactly where you need to be in life. You are truly blessed

  6. Sarah, this was beautiful to read. I’ve always loved your honesty and I’m so happy for you that you’re in this amazing place! I can only hope that I too make the journey to freedom someday :)
    Lindsey recently posted..ANZAC Day on Patonga BeachMy Profile

  7. Thank you for your post. Reading it filled me up with lightness and gave me the insight I needed for today. I needed to be reminded about having faith in the universe and trust all that is. My creative juices have been a little limited, mostly because I’m using my head for answers. But today you remind me about my heart and living, then all will conspire to give me all i need. So thank you.
    Jill miller recently posted..A Weekend of… Fun and BlissMy Profile

  8. Very inspiring muffin! love you! stoked you are in such a beautiful place physically and spiritually. you deserve nothing less!

  9. Sarah, I don’t normally stop and read through blogs …but this one stooped me and I kept reading. Wow I’m inspired and I totally know what you are talking about. All the best to you and we shall meet for a tea some time 😀 (We had lunch with Erin and Simon) XX

  10. I truely believe that Mexico is a very magical place that can bring such happiness to people. Look what gift it gave me xx
    You can feel it in your writing how well suited PDC is for your spirit, keep the words flowing honey x

  11. Freedom is what all we want Sarah. You said the key word by justing being! Its so important to just sit there and just be.

    I get those thoughts now and again about buying more stuff. Only yesterday I thought I wonder if we should get a car? Then I thought what for in London? Plus I will have to pay parking fees, insurance, road tax, blah blah, blah. Its better I walk and get the tube when I need it!

    Keep it up Sarah, you are on the right path!
    Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) recently posted..Welcome to Planet Earth: an all inclusive planetMy Profile

    • Hi Paul, exactly, it’s all the costs associated with a car (as well as walking less!) that put me off too. We have a good balance with hiring one every now and again to visit places out of town, and walking and taking cheap taxis while we’re here.

  12. Glad you are having such an amazing journey Sarah! Always love reading your blog and seeing what you are up to! My baby boy was born almost three weeks ago so life just got even busier for me! Keep on enjoying yourself x

  13. Sarah this is such an inspiring post and so re-assuring to those of us who are choosing to live life the way we want to. It’s such a great reminder to do away with the “shoulds” and the “musts” and instead let our heart guide us.
    Karen recently posted..Are your dreams safe from your friends?My Profile

    • Thank you Karen, so true. We only live once (as far as I’m aware) and I don’t want to waste another second in fear and self doubt, let alone live a life that doesn’t reflect who I am. :)

  14. Great article – it made me laugh a little towards the end because it reminded me of the exact thing I was only thinking the other day ‘At the cost of my freedom, certainly. At the cost of the vast expanse of time I have which funnily enough, I manage to fill quite nicely with eating, writing, yoga, movies and the beach, thanks very much!’

    I have just come back from a 6 month RTW trip and I am starting a full time job next week – and I did find myself thinking I am managing to fill my time in nicely without a job! Unfortunately at the moment for me I do need the good, steady income in order to buy a house and set myself up for the ‘future’.
    Jennifer recently posted..Uyuni Salt Flats Tour – Choosing A Tour OperatorMy Profile

    • He he, it’s easy to do, isn’t it!! Good luck with your new job, sometimes we have to work towards the life we want, that was certainly the case for me, so I wish you all the best!!

  15. Lovely post, Sarah! Life can often be a constant race to juggle all the countless responsibilities you find yourself with. One thing I miss about traveling is how so many responsibilities just melt away and you truly live life in the moment. That freedom is a beautiful thing and far more valuable then a pool, car or any other possession. Enjoy your hard won freedom!

    • Thank you Charlie, you too! for me travel has been the conduit to freedom that helped the internal change along. All the best with your travels :)

  16. Wow, your blog post resonated deeply with me this morning as I am staring at my computer screen unable to start my work day. Your words matched my mood today:
    *** I mean surely in life you have to do things you don’t want to do, right? That has definitely been the case for me so far, especially leading up to this indefinite travel adventure. It seemed like all I was doing were things I didn’t want to in order to achieve this dream.” ****

    We are at “saving money” stage before our big adventure starts in 2015 and while it’s nice to dream at the moment it feels that I have to do all these things that I don’t want to do anymore!!
    BTW- I’ve been a reader of your blog for last few months but never commented. I loved that we have similar backgrounds( living in Australia, working in travel industry, being control freak, etc, etc) :)
    Keep up the good work and I shall buckle down and work hard for the next 15 months so we can have start our own journey.
    Elena recently posted..Sometimes it’s not because you know….My Profile

    • Hi Elena, thanks so much for taking the time to say hi, it makes me feel good that its not just ‘google bots’ reading my stuff!!! Hang in there with the work you have to do, it will make the feeling of freedom so much sweeter when you get it, I promise :)

  17. It’s amazing the things that travel can open our minds to. This is such a beautifully written, inspiring post. It’s a wonderful thing to aspire to, being happy with what you have. I just started reading “The Power of Now.” Have you read it?

  18. Sar this is just beautiful. You are just so inspiring and I LOVED reading this. So good to hear how happy you are xxx

  19. Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful!
    It’s so true. We can have whatever it is we want but sometimes we have to ask, is it what we really want? and at what cost? I have a lot of impending changes coming up and sometimes I’m overwhelmed at values vs. societal, which I’ve been defying for a long time…

    I’m happy you’re in a great place- both physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually!

    Enjoy. Celebrate. Embrace just as you are!
    Lauren recently posted..A play on words: Creative pintxos in San Sebastian!My Profile

  20. It’s funny how people think that giving up their job security will make them more stressed and less happy, when actually it does the opposite. I have that free feeling now too and I couldn’t be happier. Freelancing and taking each day as it comes is the way to live. I have the flexibility to do whatever I want :)
    Arianwen recently posted..Rio Carnival: Surviving the world’s biggest street partyMy Profile

    • Hi Arianwen, yes funny isn’t it? Sometimes we are led to believe something, when in fact the opposite is true. I guess freedom is deciding for ourselves :)

  21. Beautiful post Sarah! I think you are right: everything happens for a reason. I too am terrible at taking things as they come. I am a planner at heart really (I am an organized German after all, ha ha), but ever since I have left my old life in the UK behind I feel more free as well. Free from expectations (like having babies) and free from wanting to possess more. I still feel a bit retained job-wise though. Would like to work more as a consultant on short term projects, so I can travel more, and less on fixed long-term contracts. So that is the next thing I have to work on. :-)
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..“Appy ‘Oli”My Profile

  22. Enjoyed reading this article!
    When you quit a “regular life style” you might feel a little lost for a while (what Im a doing with my life? how am I gonna make a living? etc..) but man, NOTHING compares to that feeling of freedom you get when you travel and go with the flow. NOTHING!

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