I've heard it said that ask 5000 people, you'll get 5000 definitions; but I don't think it's that difficult. In fact I think it can very nearly be distilled down to one single word... Choices.
Let me explain;
Freedom of the Road is one of many phrases widely tossed around motorcycle circles. I use it a lot myself. But, The Freedom of the Road and its like are not "Realities" you can reach out and grasp or definitions... they are only vocal talismans of a philosophy... spiritual symbolism.
I've heard and read a few peoples versions lately of what Freedom is to them and that's fine. You have to explain it to yourself in a way you understand I suppose... What gets to me is that it's a rare occasion where somebody doesn't spew some version of a particularly negative, denigration of the very concept of Freedom.
It is that idea that to me is insanity.
It implies that FREEDOM does not exist and can not. It would have you believe that it can only exist in a world without realities. A world where everything is all sweetness and light. It implies that FREEDOM is but a fantasy.
... that with jobs and taxes and relationships and mortgages; regulations and laws, fees and permits, and all the other burdens of life... Freedom can not exist.
What is Freedom?
Who started this damned obscene, weak livere'd nirvana idea that FREEDOM is a life of no responsibility, no consequences and no cost?
They ridicule Freedom as the utterance of Platitudes. The Blood I have seen spilled in its defense is not Platitudes. That the speakers of such insults lack the cajones to own their Freedom is not my problem... but they need to own up to their own weakness and not try to hide what they lack behind the claim that Freedom does not and can not exist.
Who was the feeble minded nit wit that conjured up the idiocy that to be truly FREE, You have to be able to just go down the road without any obstruction, difficulty or labor? That Freedom means Fuel must be without cost, tires grow on trees and the sun always shines!
Pretty good pablum for a weak mind or a gutless wonder.
But that is Not Freedom...Hell, that is not even a decent life. If you went looking for a definition of a dreary grey existence; that would pretty much sum it up.
Life without cost has no value. It is unworthy of living. A life with out risk, with no struggle to overcome is a bland torture of the spirit. The soul would atrophy from disuse and eternity would become a black hole.
That which is of Great Value is Achieved at Great effort, cost and sacrifice.
Freedom can not be achieved by avoiding cost. In fact, such action prohibits Freedom. Freedom is born by having the courage to make choices. The first requirement of Freedom is an unyielding spine.
Whether you are Free or not is a choice that can Only be made by you. The attempt can be made to claim; "I was bound. I had no choice". That is always a lie. There is always a choice.
Freedom is a choice. Servitude is a choice. They are not imposed on you. You choose Freedom, or you choose servitude.
Of course the tyrant demands your obedience. But, it is a demand to which you must surrender or resist. It is always your choice. To say; "I had no choice" is a cowards refrain. I'm sure the coward is not accepting of the label... but it doesn't change the accuracy.
A coward cannot be a Free Man. The two are mutually exclusive.
Who makes the choices in your life and why? In that question is where Liberty lives.
Life is full of options. That is simply a laws of physics Fact of Life. Freedom is achieved when YOU are the one who chooses left or right. Do you stay inside and dry or walk in the rain? Do you hand the thief your wallet or your fist? Do you tolerate an abusive employer for safety and security? Or, do you command him to silence and walk with your integrity? Do you Pursue your dreams even when your Significant Other has arrogantly warned you they don't approve, and that doing so will terminate the "relationship". (gender blind here dear readers!)
Freedom is achieved when you've attained that philosophical or spiritual place where you make the choices in your life based on your requirements for your life, your personal integrity and your soul.
Freedom is achieved when those choices are made because the value of the choice to your self respect exceeds the cost of the consequence and you have marshaled the courage to support the choice.
That, is Freedom.
Yes, the consequences of your choices could very well lead to poverty, abandonment and even early death. They also might reward you with great riches and living to a revered old age. The consequences are really irrelevant.
What is important is to realize that though they may shorten their lives and endure great trials; men who live in Freedom breathe air the sweetness of which few men truly taste.
Beyond the Costs of Freedom... are the costs of Honor... yes they are often intertwined... but that is another debate...
Freedom isn't about success... it is Only about options, choices in spite of costs and try.
Grab Your Handles and Ride