I love to travel, and every time I explore a place I’ve never been in before, I get a sense of freedom. I know I’m not alone in this. When many people wish for more freedom, they usually think about being able to travel more.
Traveling seems to be the ideal picture of freedom. Seeing the world. Having the time to see the world. Having the money to see the world. Going where you want to go. Doing what you want to do.
In a way, yes, that’s freedom. But if traveling is your attempt to escape your problems, it’s not freedom and it’s not going to work.
I’ve come back from traveling and my problems were waiting for me. Worse, they had piled up. I became even more stressed and burned out.
We can’t find freedom in trying to escape our problems. Think of a prisoner who broke out of prison. He would always be looking over his shoulder. He cannot return to his old life, see his family and friends. He’s on the run.
If we’re imprisoned by our problems and circumstances, we can’t find freedom by trying to escape through traveling, taking a vacation, or doing hobbies (watching movies, reading books, exercising). I should know, I’ve tried.
When the root problems are there, there’s nothing we can do to escape them. Except, maybe, if we abandon our present lives and start completely new somewhere else. Having a new identity and new life might help us escape our problems, but new ones will come up and the old ones will find us eventually.
We have to address the root of our problems to find freedom because freedom starts inside. I used to think that if I can travel, it means I have freedom. For a moment, it felt like I did. For a while, the problems seemed to disappear. The truth is, I was distracted.
I distracted myself with vacations, hobbies, and busy work. The problems were still there around me or within me. It wasn’t until I faced them that I began to move towards freedom.
I love to travel, and when I travel nowadays, I’m not trying to escape problems. I actually return refreshed. I may still face work that had piled up, but I don’t feel bogged down. I can face them and know that I will succeed.
If you want freedom, don’t try to escape your problems or circumstances. They will wait for you or find you eventually. It’s easy to say that you need to resolve your problems first. I can tell you that I’m horrible at doing that, but I can also tell you that it’s important to do it. The important things are hardly ever easy. Finding freedom is one of those things, but like all important things, it’s worth all your effort.