“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship”. Buddha

Those of you who’ve been on the blog a while may have noticed our avatar has the name libertatemamo (freedom lovers…more or less…in latin). Freedom has been a cornerstone of my life ever since I can remember. It’s driven countless experiences for me both financially, emotionally and travel-wise, but in a very particular way. You could say RVing is a natural progression of my love of freedom (and it really is) but there’s much more to it than that. Freedom is a financial, mental and physical endeavor which I believe is attainable by everyone. It all depends on how you approach it. Here’s my take on what freedom means to me:

1/ Living Within Your Means

Staying within the circle. Hanging at beautiful Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, CA

You might not have expected me to start this way, but this motto has been a true brick of my freedom-loving life. I’ve always striven to live within (and more usually well below) my means. My very first income was made cleaning houses and my first 2 years of post-college work I shared a house with 4 other people so I could save part of my income. As my income rose I targeted to save at least 40% of what I earned, all in the quest to remain financially free. Then I met a man who felt the same way, and I was hooked :)
In our fulltime RVing we continue to follow this mantra. RVing has actually been the perfect outlet giving us the ability to adjust our lifestyle (via how we travel and where we camp) to our income at any given time. It’s been a truly freeing experience.
P.S. In the spirit of this goal Paul has finally been convinced to come back to blogging (yes, yes his own idea entirely…of course…bien sûr) and just posted our 2011 portfolio results yesterday.

2/ Living Debt-Free

We’ve not always been debt-free, but it’s always been a goal. We finally achieved it when we decided to radically change our life in Asia several years ago, and it’s been an incredibly freeing experience. Living debt-free allows you an enormous financial flexibility which the burden of debt does not. I think everyone should have this goal.

3/ Living Healthy

Playing for health. Fun and good for you at the same time!

A wise man once said that health is the most important gift in life and I certainly believe that. I struggled with weight ever since my early teenage years and finally found a way of eating & exercising which keeps me at a healthy weight and energy level, with blood levels that support it. Paul and I spend a lot of time researching and keeping track of our health (I’ll blog a bit on it sometime), and it’s definitely a freeing endeavor. The body is a super-complicated machine and there are no guarantees or magical recipes for 100%-health, but I think it’s important to try to make the best of what we’re given, no matter what that is.

4/ Living In Happiness

Morning sun salutations on the beach in SC…oh, what bliss!

We’re veering into the spiritual side of life here, but trust me it’s worth it. Having struggled with some pretty deep depression in my lifetime I believe happiness is a thing earned and worked at, not given. It’s a question of how you wake up, how you approach life, and how you allow your mind to react to the obstacles, stress and worry that daily life throws our way (and believe me those obstacles will always be there). I start each day with positive affirmations, make it a point to note and appreciate the daily beauty around me and practice both meditation and yoga. Plus I feed my mind with the right foods (amino acids, correct vitamin D levels, omega-3 supplementation, and cutting out sugar & gluten have all been key for me). I consider all this the equivalent to going to the gym for my mind and it’s going to be a lifetime plan. The more I exercise happiness, the happier I get. Isn’t that a fabulous combo?

5/ Staying True To Yourself

High in the CO mountains. This is my kinda freedom!

This is a kinda a big fluffy-white-combo-cloud summary of all of the above, but it completely works. You could say I was gifted with an independent character and a solid upbringing that supported that streak (both of which are correct), but I’ve also worked to stay true to that precious gift. I’ve always strived to follow my own path in life, to seek the things that gave me fulfillment and happiness and to stay true to those values. It’s not always been easy and there have been cases where I’ve sacrificed material, financial and career gain (much to the astonishment for those around me) for personal growth, but it’s always, always been worth it. No-one can live your life but you.

With that rather profound end to my little post, I challenge you to answer one question. What does freedom mean to you?

27 Responses to My 5 Keys To Personal Freedom

  1. Lisa Stigen says:

    Lovely words to live by. Thanks too for explaining “Libertatemamo”!

  2. Linda Sand says:

    I’m working to regain my health so I can once again, among other things, give to others. I miss my charitable work.

    • libertatemamo says:

      So sorry you’re going thro’ health issues. I’ve struggled w/ my share in my time and I know how frustrating it is. The body is a much-complicated machine and sometimes we get hit by it in ways we don’t at all expect. DO hope your health improves!
      Nina

  3. Jo Lewis says:

    We too have always strived to be debt free and have been for many years.
    We have been full timers for 21 months and see no other life style in our future for several years to come. We are in our early 60s,healthy, have eaten healhty for many years and exercised.
    Unintentionally, we followed in your footsteps this summer but never came together. Maybe in the future.
    We do have a home base near our 2 children, spouses, 1 grandaughter.
    I have finallly talked husband into taking a winter trip, couple of months in southwest Arizona. Got to visit Quartzsite just once
    Enjoy following your blog and campground reviews.

    • libertatemamo says:

      CONGRATs on living debt-free!! It’s a huge accomplishment. So happy you’re enjoying the fulltiming too.
      Oh, and DO enjoy Quartzsite. I think it’s a super-fun spot to visit!
      Nina

  4. Syl says:

    It amazes me how well you put my thoughts into your words…very profound indeed. To a degree, freedom means living with no regrets.
    Syl

  5. Marsha says:

    I always wondered what libertatemamo meant. I tried to rearrange the letters to get both your names, the kids names, etc. No luck. Thanks for explaining that.
    4 Living In Happiness…#1. God has Blessed Paul and I with a wonderful, healthy, loving, family. We appreciate it so much! How can we possibly be unhappy?
    What does freedom mean to me? Where I am now, what I am doing now and how I feel NOW!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Lovely thoughts Marsha! Being happy in the NOW is truely a beautiful thing. Not many people achieve that, and you’ve done it!
      Nina

  6. Okay.

    Do you mean out-loud?

    Freedom means not having to hold down a “real” job because I have so many bills. Freedom means not having to stay in one place because that’s where my stuff is.

  7. Daryl says:

    I love, love, love this post. This is what we all strive to live by. Freedom is that intangible which becomes tangible with this lifestyle. I took Latin at school, but never came across this word. Never got past mensa, mensa, mensas!! Would love to see a more detailed blog/page/post of your “Living Healty” manifesto!

  8. Steve says:

    Freedom:
    Health, being loved, no debit, cash and carry and no CY Wednesday night ship reviews.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Hahahaha!!! Oh yes, I forgot to mention no Wednesday night ship reviews!! I am VERY thankful for that LOL.
      Nina

  9. Janna says:

    I loved your post, absolutely loved it. I was always a “make payments” kind of person until I met Michael 17 years ago and he taught me the freedom of living without debt. We have a wonderful relationship free of issues and game playing, that is freeing. We do not have jobs to go to unless we want to and that is very freeing. I love our life! Michael was very glad to see Paul wrote a blog!

    • libertatemamo says:

      A HUGE congrats on living debt-free. I LOVE hearing that! And I do love your thoughts on relationship giving freedom. It’s something I didn’t mention, but I completely agree with. The right relationship is a very freeing thing indeed.
      Thanks also for the kudos to hubby…he’s happy to hear people are reading the blog even tho’ he’s been off-line for a while.
      Nina

  10. jjcruisers says:

    Thanks for this post and for mentioning healthy eating. I struggle with this when we are on the road and access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited. I look forward to hearing your take on this, especially with the amount of time you boondock.

  11. Beautiful post, indeed!

    For me.. my freedom comes from feeling I have real choice in doing what I want to do, when I want to do it.

    Being healthy, debt free, agile, consciously choosing commitments and happy all play a role in that. And all 5 of yours are priorities for us. Finding a partner who shares those ideals has been the greatest blessing, and what makes us tick.

  12. jil mohr says:

    Brava Nina…I love the way you think and the way your mind works…your ideas mirror mine ….

  13. bob says:

    Very sound thinking. Your debt- free desire reminds me of a criticism I constantly heard when younger … “put a crowbar in the vault and open it up” which means spend spend spend like we all do. Fortunately I never gave in to the pressure or temptation and now have the last laugh ( I am debt free!!). As for my definition of freedom … when I can wake up in the morning and emphatically declare I’m glad to be alive. For you are only truely free if you are happy that a new day and new adventure has come.

  14. Cheryl Smith says:

    Thoughts of travel filled my mind as I contemplated retirement 3 years ago. Decided I would get a used Roadtrek so I could travel around the country to visit my kids who are spread out and also see the sights I missed while working and raising kids. Then I met my dream guy online and guess what? He also wanted to travel and be a “gypsy.” Two years later, we rented our house to family and hit the road in December in a Jayco 35′ toyhauler with a Goldwing in the garage. After almost 2 months on the road, I can say we’ve found freedom. No alarm clock, no bills, do what we want when we want, visit family as we make our way around the country. So glad I found your blog as you have great ideas and I love your reviews. We plan to boondock when possible but there are so many other good choices, too. Appreciate what you have and visualize what you want. A great way to live!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you met the right guy and found the lifestyle that fits you. It’s wonderful when it all comes together like that, isn’t it?
      Nina

  15. […] write about the downsides of fulltime RVing. I’m a natural optimist (a state reached by life-long deliberate training) and prefer to handle the difficult passages in life with humor. My posts reflect that side of my […]

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