Freedom?

September 2005. It‚´s a while back already that I left into the big unknown! Back then I didn‚´t have much perspective on what was happening; I was only following my heart, which just told me that I really, really had to go.

The months before I left many people where continuously projecting their doubts on me; ‚¨How will you ever find a job now that you didn‚´t finish your study? You‚´ll never manage with money!‚¨, ‚¨You are crazy! You will never find a house so nice as this again!‚¨, ‚¨If you don‚´t have a house, where can you go when your tired of travelling? You‚´ll have no place to go!‚¨, ‚¨How will you deal with this, how will you deal with that?‚¨, etcetera, etcetera.

I just ignored all this chatter, much like I nowadays am learning to ignore the continuous background chatter of my own mind.

So, am I sorry that I followed my heart? Of course not! For sure there where some difficulties, challenges, depressions, a quarterlife crisis and what not, but that doesn‚´t mean I regret anything.

There also was a tremendous amount of inspiration, I‚´ve seen and occasionaly also experienced a lot of different ways of living, and have got a much clearer picture of life then I used to have. One thing I do feel is a tremendous amount of freedom. Freedom of spending my life the way I choose. Freedom of choosing where to live, freedom of choosing how to life, freedom of choosing how to earn my money, freedom of choosing whom to relate to and of course freedom of pursueing what I know that is meaningful for me.

Of course, we all got a lot of freedom in our lives, but it‚´s just to easy not to pursue your dreams, not to follow your heart, not to do what you really want to be doing when you‚´re entangled in everyday life. One standard conversation I often had goes like this: ‚¨Wow, that‚´s so impressive! It‚´s the best thing in the world! I wish I had travelled more when I was younger, but now I don‚´t have the time ( /not enough money / I‚´m afraid of travelling alone / have a relationship / have to take care of my house / don‚´t know what to do with my cat / ).‚¨ The face of my conversation partner shows a sad smile, and he or she continuous: ‚¨Enjoy it while you can!”, and I feel some suggestion that I should enjoy my trip a bit more in the future: also a bit for him or her.

Many times, I felt that when you meet a person like this five years later, they would still have the same reasons. Why? Are five years not enough to put aside some money for travelling, or to find a suitable travelpartner? The reason is, of course, that people somehow try to justify not living their dreams. They don‚´t really want to go for it.

It‚´s not that I think everybody should start travelling, even though it‚´s a great way of getting some real life education, but whatever your dream is, if it‚´s really your dream, you should either go for it and deal with all the obstacles in due time, or accept that you actually don‚´t want to live this dream.

Of course, it often happens that somebody is somehow stuck in a life he or she doesn‚´t like. Well, it‚´s this person‚´s own responsibility in the end. I truly belief we‚´re all fully responsible for our own lives. Nobody else is! If you want to be unhappy and blame people, circumstances or life for not giving you what you want, go ahead and be unhappy!

If you do accept full responsibility for your own life though, the whole perspective changes – no more complaining about being mistreated by somebody, or not having enough money for this or that. Instead you get empowered!

Freedom alone is not really that valuable though. It‚´s what you do with it! Personally I‚´m pursueing a life with meaning, something profound, something which goes deeper then just escaping life, being stoned the whole day or being stuck in this studying life or that working-day life. Not that I have anything against any of these, it‚´s just not my choice.

And actually it seems I‚´m getting there. Leading a meaningful life that is. And well, if sometimes I don‚´t show up online for a long while, just look at the name of the website, and realize that I‚´m using 7 days a week to live my own dreams, following my own heart and my own inspiration, and that this trip at times doesn‚´t include electronic life for a couple of weeks.


Peace & love,
Jurgen

Ps. Here‚´s one story about a rabbit as a bonus:

One friend of mine in Budapest has a very comfy appartment not to far from the Danube. Inside this appartment she has a very cute, white, red-eyed rabbit. And for this white rabbit there‚´s a smaller house inside my friend‚´s house; some comfortable 0,5 square meters (between iron bars). There‚´s food, water shelter, nice soft straw and just this comfy feeling one gets when one is at home (I guess). One day in August 2005 when I was staying at my friend‚´s place, she opened the door of the cage, took the rabbit out and put her in the middle of the room. For a while the big fluffy creature looked around curiously for two seconds. Then she goes to explore: hop, hop. Suddenly it becomes all to much for the poor rabbit – she freaks out, and makes a frantic rush for the cage. She jumps inside, but still is not at peace. Running this way, running that way and back again. Not until we close the door the rabbit relaxes again. Poor white rabbit!

She couldn‚´t handle the freedom. So much more comfortable in this little prison, with all these things which make life so more comfortable then the unknown of the world outside.

Humans are different. We ourself buy iron bars, mortar and bricks and slowly build our own prison around us. So that later we can tell people: ‚¨I so much want to do this or that, but I can‚´t do it because there‚´s this prison around me, with brick walls with iron bars between them!‚¨ Then, when somebody points out that the walls are actually only 1 meter high, and that one can easily climb over it, one says: ‚¨Oh no, you‚´ve got it all wrong! The walls is 5 meters high, 2 meters tick, and has deadly spikes on top! There‚´s no way I can get out! I‚´ll just have to stay here and make the best of it.‚¨

So, one just shrugs the shoulders, walks on and leaves the person in their own imaginary prison. Who can judge how somebody else should live after all? One can live their own life, and if somebody takes positive inspiration from that – great! If not, well we all do keep choosing our own life, and are the sole persons responsible for it, and the sole persons who can really change it!

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17 Responses to Freedom?

  1. Ben says:

    Go Jurgen! Where are you now?

  2. steff says:

    Hey Jurgen!!

    Cool to see you’re still fine and wandering somewhere in our huge but still so tiny world. As usual I definitely like your way to think. But like you pointed freedom is not so easy to grab and experience… we should not be too judgmental anyway since you never truly know what brought people where they are and made them choose one path or the other :)
    Our societies don’t breed us into trust but rather grow fear and control ourselves – then not everyone gets enough room to self-reflect and get rid of those mental stereotypes.

    Plus some simply need more structure and guidelines and reassurance than others – or eventually to find first what would give a proper meaning to their lives before they can go for it! As long as one keeps striving towards improvement and towards being even a tiny bit better a person in the end, that’s a nice start, isn’t it?

    Keep it going and withouth being ‘stuck’ in technology please keep posting! It’s always sweet to read you. Bises de Toulouse :)

    Steff

  3. brendan says:

    I completely agree jurgen, it’s too easy to get trapped by my own fear. living fully, with love and confidence is a hard road, and some just never realize they can walk it. Thank you for giving us your example, for showing us there is a very real way to live a mobile life.
    good luck!

  4. meinhard says:

    my path to freedom (the sound of that, hehe) was not so dramatic as yours, although there were some changing point, i gradually melted into the ocean of a working pool economy, or gift economy. i sometimes feel like i managed to look behind the curtain, see and understand what’s going on there. i can go back and forth, walls disappear, i can be audience, the backstage staff and actor in the play that is my life in this society. a great freedom! :) now, where are the other stages?

  5. Wieke says:

    Hey Jurgen,

    nice to hear from you again!
    I just think that some people like to dream about things without ever meaning to fulfill them, because sometimes you dream about things you don’t really want deep in you heart. That could also be a reason that all those people who ask you to enjoy your trip for them, don’t travel themselves.

  6. Wouter says:

    Hey there! That coaching thing really seems to get to you, you sure have been doing a lot of thinking..!

    As a biologist I have to point out that rabbits, unlike (most) people, live in burrows and thus need the small space in order to feel safe ;)

  7. ploenk says:

    Yes, you are right, people do build a fence around themselves. I cut a hole in it by going to the US. The first weeks were awfull, but now I really enjoy it. I know I have a long way to go till my fence is completely gone, but at least I’m working on breaking it down ;)

    Byeeeee Jurgen, have a lot of fun, remember everything, learn, share and teach!!

  8. But I guess that we are all still caged. As a naturalist I have to point out that rabits, unlike most people think they would, thrive very well in fields with grass, wild plants and shrubs. As a naturalist I have a strong desire to uncage the rabbits from their research units, where they mainly or only serve mankind in his never ending quest to live longer and become stronger (while Homo sapiens has been leading the survival-of-the-fittest race ever since mister Christ was born).

    The way Ploenk found her freedom ultimately leads to enormous impacts on the natural world and our common environment also known as the so called spaceship earth. Global warming is not a discussion anymore, it is a fact. Thus my cage is to hitchhike till either death or the end of environmentally destructive modes of travel, id est by car, bus, train, boat and aircraft. Al gore has predicted that the Netherlands will be flooded within the coming next fifty years; just the southesternmost province will remain untouched by the flow of water: Limburg aan Zee. Which makes the senseless idea of the Holland-people to tranfser Dutch Limburg to Belgium as stupid as it can be funny; a loss of 70% of territory resulting our own stupid polluting behaviour and 10% because of anti-Limburgian sentiments in the west :p

  9. Dennis says:

    Hey bro!

    Good to hear you’re still around and I did enjoy your call on my B-Day.

    Myself I have just moved on a bit spending time travelling and talking with friends and making new friends as my journey goes.

    I got to agree on the prison, it is so easy to put limitations on yourself and think they are unsurmountable. Once you have taken the step though it seemed rather easy to do. Life still moves on.

    My quote for the day:
    Better to momentarily regret what you just did, then spending an entire life regretting the things you didn’t do.

    To me the journey has ups and downs but overall I am thoroughly enjoying it and learning a lot as I go. See you in a few years again perhaps or maybe we somehow bump into each other on the road :-)
    I don’t think I’ll be done after I get out of Australia.

  10. GENEET VAN ´T LAEVE!

    Geneet van ´t laeve zolang esse kins,
    Maak sjpas en plezeer, du laefs toch mer ins,
    Want sjtraks es ´t te laat is, dan ´ste sjpiet d´r van,
    Geneet dus van ´t laeve, zolang es ´t nog kan.

  11. Marnix says:

    Hey Jurgen!

    It’s been a while since I read your website. This article about freedom sounds great and I’m glad you took a leap of faith to explore what has been so silent in your heart.

    I also agree with Steff that for some people it is very hard to break down their walls, perhaps even undesireable. In the end we all need some kind of platform.

    Nonetheless, your story/experience is inspiring for me. Taking responsability for oneself is not an easy thing, but definitly word persuing :)

    Good luck on your road!

  12. steff says:

    Hey Jurgen!

    Been watching a movie tonite, and I just noted down a quote that will probably be to your liking ;)

    “It’s like people had a choice a long time ago between… well, having all them nice things, or… freedom. Of course they.. chose comfort.”
    Rollerball, James Caan, 1975

    … so nothing so new under the sun, isn’t it? Some already shared your thoughts some 30 years ago. I guess the debate will stay opened for a while :))

    I recommand the movie anyway, found it to be a pretty good one – nice food for thoughts though quite violent at times.

    Leaving you, need to sleep.
    Keep well and keep it going!! Cheers,

    Steff

  13. sirle says:

    hi jurgen!

    discovered your site from HC.

    this what you are writing is exactly the thing i need to read at the moment as i am deperately trying to break these walls aound me. i have build them already.. although i am only 22. so i still have a lot of time to climb over them and not to build them again :) right!? though i do find it a bit hard to get out from that comfy bubble…

    lots of sun..and look, it’s spring!
    sirle

  14. Remco says:

    Hi all,

    I understand some imprisonment.
    I collected so much stuff “I feel like” is hard to depart of. But also notice it blocks you from doing other nice things in live.

    So now I am organizing. cleaning up. So I dont move things from left to right and have (more) time for things I really want to do.

    I hope I succeed.

    I hope you all succeed as well.

  15. Marten says:

    He Jurgen,

    Interesting thoughts. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, I’d like to hear more about it.

    Bye,
    Marten

    Ps. For your rabbit story:
    Why does a bird stay in the cage?
    In the cage it knows that it will have food. If the bird leaves the cage, it doesn’t know that for sure.

  16. Dennis says:

    Hey Marten,

    Assuming the bird is aware enough to know it will always have food in the cage and assuming it would want freedom as well.

    Why doesn’t the bird fly in and out as it needs food? In the story the rabbit hops out explores briefly and then seems to get scared and runs back and does not relax until the door is actually closed again.

    Sounds to me it is not so much a matter as food as well as complacency about the world it knows and is affraid to venture outside of it’s own little reality.

  17. Wieke says:

    What I meant is that for some of the people you meet, travelling could be a manner of running away from their problems, pretending they aren’t there instead of facing them. For them, travelling would not be fulfilling their dream, but experiencing that running away is not the way to solve your problems.

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