Freedom and my backpack ep. 1

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Writer: Samantha S

I didn’t know where I was. The bus stop had led me to the edge of the earth, or what felt something like it. It was frozen, maybe -25, but this frigid air didn’t take away from how beautiful the world looked from the horizons border. Winters breath carefully frosted over the boardwalk and the many rocks outlining the waters perimeter. Lights followed the timbered pathway, mimicking low hanging stars that forgot to shine. Effortlessly, white snowflake doves danced in the light, gracefully resting on the fluffy alabaster bedding below. Our footsteps painted the untouched canvas pathway that stretched out as far as the waters edge. Lightly, each step brushed gentle strokes across the newly fallen surface. Each stride required a trudging effort to maintain a constant time signature within each step, creating longer and more defined roaming patterns. In the distance two trees had stolen my attention. Outlined in a tangled web of colorful lights, I was looking through a kaleidoscope. We walked onto the cold glacial mount of snow, slowly the wind cut our faces. We passed by the collapsed fence that attempted to contain the amount of delicacy behind it. A wooden staircase leading to a small landing caught his gaze. He walked to it, sat down and looked out into the endless glass platform. I, captivated by this new lens, walked into the darkness until I met the edge. My feet eventually came to a halt, I could smell the Arctic cover. It’s motion was still, movement came in undisturbed tranquil gestures as the layers shivered together. Rolling blue waves that once gently welcomed the shore transformed into a mirrored platform, now supporting fragments of hovering snowfall. In the silence of the night, I heard a gentle pressing on the snow as he walked down the wooden steps and followed me to the edge. Together, we stood soundless as we began to make sense of the transcendent view ahead. Shattered glass lay motionless, patiently awaiting the morning sun.

 

Freedom and my backpack

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Credit: Samantha S

The past couple years of my life have taken me down some interesting avenues all due to my pursuit for freedom. What I’m about to unleash on you may not be conclusive for everyone, but this is based on my experience. This is what freedom means to me.

Freedom is not having obligations or constraints. Freedom is not having a job that you rely on. Freedom is not having a girlfriend who is expecting your call, or having a date with friends where your absence must be explained with a detailed excuse. Freedom is not having to give an extended notice to end a contract or job. Freedom is not owning so much stuff that you need a storage unit. Freedom is not having a fat wallet full of so many cards that your life turns upside down when you lose it.

I’m reminded of my freedom when I’m on a bus or train to another town, city, or province. All my important belongings are in my backpack, which is always tagging along for the adventure in the seat next to me. Nobody has a clue where I am, nor do they care. I’m traveling solo to a place I’ve never seen before as a complete stranger, with zero burdens to see anything or visit anyone. I don’t have any worries or concerns; no bills, no duties. I’m leaning back on an old chair, but I might as well be hovering above the street without a rope wrapped around my neck pulling me back to where I started. I could die on the Via Rail in between cities or provinces I’ve never touched ground on, and it would take a couple days for anyone who knows me to find out. My backpack could disappear and within a day I could easily have everything replaced. This is freedom.

I wouldn’t trade these train rides and endless possibilities of future adventures of not having to answer to anyone, for all the money in the world or all the women in the world. I lay back, shut my eyes, and allow my thoughts and dreams to go wherever they want, with no stress or tension disturbing them. There’s no rush. I am free. The whole wide world can demand something of me and I can brush it off with a laugh. The government can freeze all my accounts and take all my money, but they can’t find me on this train.

I may stay in my destination or I may not. Maybe I’ll create a new identity, or maybe I’ll be myself. Maybe I’ll take a bus, or maybe I’ll walk. I wasn’t free when I lived beyond my means, when I depended on the dinero man would provide me with every two Fridays. I started spending significantly less than my earnings, and over a short period of time it has started to bless me with freedom. The only person I envision myself answering to is me. I can disappear tomorrow, and never check my online accounts or answer my phone again. If I just vanish, I’ll do just fine. If you can’t close your eyes and just say adios to the world, you aren’t free.