Freedom Is Not Just For Holidays


No work, no chores, sun, sea, sand, and ten days of pure freedom!

Forgetting the stress it took you to get on your holiday, the time it takes to unwind and when you get home there will be a ton of email and demands; and very quickly it will be just like you never went away!

Nearly ten years ago I came to realise that I did not want to live a life of all or nothing and that I had to seek permission from someone else to be free occasionally on the weekend and for a one holiday a year.

I am free – full stop!

So the choices I make about my life and how live it need to reflect it on a daily basis.

Many times I’ve tried to break out of social conditioning and expectations of how I should or shouldn’t live my life and that how I felt mattered!

It wasn’t though until I began to challenge my own fear based beliefs that my life must be based on duty, responsibilities and servitude that I began to get out for good!

I’m currently driving around Italy and France for three months with my dog which I’ve heard described as Free Ranging – you could say going walk about. I removed myself from a fixed abode because I felt called to do it.

“It’s OK for you. I have a life & responsibilities — you’re just on holiday!”

I’ve had this opinion spat at me several times during my travels; it’s a statement punctuated with lots of rigidity, blame, resentment, anger and of course jealousy.

I have a life too thanks, I’m not on holiday; I’m just living my life the way I want to…

Recently this ‘what could you know’ statement came from someone who likes the idea of personal development, living in the moment and can talk a good game about lots of books he’s read, but doesn’t really get it in practice!

All talk and no action and I used to be that way too…

He’s still caught up in the old beliefs that adult living has to have fixed structure with work, a house and duty based ideas and this would be fine if he was happy!

Sadly though he is frustrated, angry and yet a highly gifted musician with real passion who has occasionally fought for his dream, but now has given up because he’s still beholden to fulfilling other people expectations of him!

Instead of going with what brings him most joy and the flow of what is meant for him, he is stuck in an inner conflict between what he longs for in his heart and soul and how he is actually choose to live.

Opportunities for his growth and happiness arise like waves and pass him by.

He can’t see or hear them, distracted by the noise of other people and firefighting to please them – a thankless and never ending exhausting task, which leaves him struggling to get by himself

What It Really Means To Live Freely

Instead of being distracted by other people, it’s about getting up close and personal with yourself and having an intimate relationship with your life and how you experience the world.

To achieve this we have to let go, listen, become self-aware and trust, so we can begin to live and act consistently with how we actually feel and what’s important to our wellbeing.

During a holiday with permission to be let off the leash and live in the moment we can get a brief intoxicating experience of this freedom, but as soon as we return home and put the leash back on and shift our focus to responsibilities and doing as we are told we once again feel stressed.

The Illusion of Responsibilities

Responsibilities are nothing more than a perception and often used as an excuse of “I can’t do that”.

To believe ourselves responsible for other people or not is a choice [parenting & the infirm not included]

Although responsibility to ourselves, how we feel and our life is still a choice it is paramount to our health, the success of our relationships and holds the power to our happiness.

I have physical responsibilities that I have to take care.

  • I have a house with a mortgage and bills to pay even though I don’t currently live in it at the moment.
  • Instead I’m sharing it with other people in return for holiday rental. This had to be organised, but it was my choice to do this, so I’m responsible for sorting it.
  • I have a car and need to be able to fill it with fuel and pay for insurance and tax and MOT.
  • I have a private practice and instead of letting that stop me I grew it and altered it to being an online business and changed my client sessions to Skype and so I need to make sure I find internet connection.
  • I have my dog to take care of and every day we need to find and pay for somewhere to sleep and eat.

Money Doesn’t Have To Be A Restraint

I am not currently financially wealthy, but I didn’t wait for the “when I have money, time etc – I will do these things”. My life is happening now, so I must seize the day, follow the inspiration and trust it will work out in the end.

Life is too precious to waste, so I had to get creative and find new, cheap and beneficial ways of doing things and in recent years I have been inspired by Chris Guillebeau [] and his ways of travelling.

Most of all it took being brave and for that I am living a wealthy life rich with experience.

Opening Out Your Arms and Stepping Forward

Nothing comes to us in life if we stand on the side lines waiting to be noticed or worse rescued!

We’re expected to feel our fears and do it anyway; step out into the unknown with your arms wide open, following our desires or inspiration of what’s right for us, because it makes us stronger, bigger and more confident.

The universe expects us to do our half in the relationship and will always reward your bravery!

So I’m going were the wind takes me…

When I first started to break my restraints it was hard, stressful and exhausting. I’d talked a good game for a long time.

I’d help many other people, because I believed whole heartedly that it could happen for them, but I needed to face the truth that I distrusted life and it would let me down – I’d given up believing it could ever happen for me and I could get what was right for me.

I often swung between being willing and closed off, but with every desire to crawl back into illusion of safety my restraints I would begin to feel the fear again I would be stuck and wasting my precious life.

So I would try again with small steps of bravery…

Gradually the steps got bigger and I got bolder like an adrenaline junkie wanting the rush of growing and eventually I was taking bolder leaps.

Actions speak far louder than words…

Now my actions demonstrate that I truly believe in life, in freedom and I am living everyday saying what I mean and doing what I say.

I started my day power walking along the right bank overlooking Bordeaux, then headed to the coast at Arcachon, got redirected by a local and finished it swimming in a lake with my dog and staying a small motel behind a tiny village bar I would never have found on a map.

I’ve got a bed for the night in the peak of summer, it cost me practically nothing and I spent the evening chatting with some locals – little inspirations and sign posts guided my way and I followed…

Tomorrow I’ll get back on the road and be somewhere else!

Letting Life Guide Me

I am letting life give me what I need every day, so now my morning prayer is “please give me what I need” and then I let go to the experience.

Every night or during the day I express gratitude for those experiences, not out of forced habit, but because I have experienced moments that have touched my soul.

We create the shackles that hold us onto our past and out grown situations, for fear of change and social expectations.

We allow ourselves to feel beholden to duty, work and ideas of responsibility, caged to a perception of security, which instead creates stress, anxiety, angst and inadequacy, because we have no room grow.

Life for me is no longer a sentence to suffer or an expectation to live up to – instead I’m playing freely every day.

Every time I let go and let things be as they are meant to be opportunities and experiences rise up like waves in front of me. I don’t hang back and wait, but instead go with them and enjoy the ride – wherever that may take me!

Will I stay living without a fixed abode – of course not, this is just part of the bigger journey.

Home is where your heart wants to be, so let yours be free to be happy…

Since writing this I have settled back at home, but my freedom has not changed, although I have definitely been tested.

I went on to travel on and off for six months and then I reached a point when I felt more desire to return home and be with friends and family than to keep wandering.

Stepping away from my house and community and going travelling gave me the space to have perspective of how I need to live my life and how truly important it is for me to own my freedom.

Now my focus is to stay aware to live as I did whilst I was away; to not get trapped once again in false fear-based ideas.

I still ask each day for what I need and acting upon the guidance and inspiration with trust.

Staying true to myself and taking responsibility for my choices and actions and letting go to the flow of life keeps me free!

Photo by Kristof Magyar

24 thoughts on “Freedom Is Not Just For Holidays”

  1. I love this, thank you! I’ve made similar changes and deal with similar comments. I’m just thankful that I chose NOT to live THAT life anymore. It’s a choice and it can be scary and I’ve give up the things that aren’t important to me anymore. In the process, like you, I found what really matters ;)

  2. Jo, you are a lady after my own heart.

    Congratulations on having the courage to find this freedom.

    I resonate because I stepped out of the rat race and into the world in 1983, when no one did that! I am almost 60 and starting a new business, learning new things and loving each moment. I can truly say “I do not have any regrets in life”. Everything I am today is because of all those experiences.

    If you would like to follow Jo’s lead and really life life full, follow her advice and take that first step. It is so worth it.

    1. Thank you Carolynne, you are truly a trail blazer and how wonderful to hear of women who have grabbed life and lived! As you say “out of the rat race into the world” – love it!!! Jo xx

  3. Jo,

    What an inspiring post. Your morning prayer to “please give me what I need” shows the trust and faith you have that life will always provide for you. You decision to go outside the “traditional” box of duty, responsibilities took a huge leap of faith. I am a pet owner with three dogs and I know that to go on your adventure while providing for you and your dog was no small task.

    You have a lot of commitment honoring your personal integrity to arrange your life around who you really are instead of who you “should” be. That takes an enormous amount of courage and faith and trust in yourself and the universe. I truly applaud you.

    1. Dear Pamela, Thank you so much for your kind words – I will not lie and say it is easy and I am still learning and some days it is easier to have faith than others and it is always easier to trust and have faith away from home life, but I do as I say and choose over and over to surrender, trust and open up to what I need, even when its hard, because I’ve found it works and the alternative I’ve found doesn’t…Jo x

  4. Very inspiring article Jo! I am in a fulltime job right now but I’m aspiring to live life the way I want to someday that’s why I took the risk of starting my own blog and hope to go fulltime soon. Some people won’t understand such decision because people like us are unique and sometimes, some people find unique synonymous to weird. I too am tired of getting someone’s permission to enjoy life and I am also tired of being restricted with what I want to do to be happy. It’s not really about money, but it’s about living the life the way you want to. I want to wake up everyday without worrying about traffic. I want to spend my day working at home with the kids. That’s the life I want that’s why I really get extra motivated when I read blog posts similar to this one. Keep up the good work Jo!

    1. Hey Noel,
      Thank you for sharing and I’m so pleased it has inspired you, its great to read other people stories and share your own, just remember though there comes a time to act – to leap and risk all and fight for the dream you actually want – the universe provides when we take risks…it is action which make us brave, more confident, bolder and stronger!
      Good luck and keep stepping forward towards your dream
      Jo x

  5. Thanks for sharing you’re story. The thing about holidays and travel is they put you in a different place mentally and break your routine. You can then see more clearly the rut you’ve got into from doing what you’re supposed to. You can also take some of the holiday magic and sprinkle a little of it into your daily life – making changes for the better such as having a better perspective on the stuff the winds everyone up that you can now step back from.

  6. Hi Jo this is a very good article. All to often we are all theoretical experts without the practical follow through. Ultimately we are only being held back by ourselves. As you have proved with baby steps and asking what I need is the very basic way to start. How can I make this happen might come next.
    Than you and best wishes

    1. Hey Jan,
      Action is the only way we can demonstrate love to ourselves and what is right for us, but we must first listen to our hearts and the guidance we are given and open our eyes to the opportunities that offer growth – usually slightly scary ( not dangerous) ones- which arise and step forward … this path will lead you on with trust…
      Trust you intuition, instincts and feelings …
      Jo x

  7. Hi Jo

    I loved your story.

    I too am in the process of de-shackle-ing (not a word I know!), and although it is amazing and the only way to go, it is not easy. You are so right when you talk about other people’s attitude towards it. I have had wonderful reactions and distressing ones. It is learning to stay true to you, and not letting other people’s opinions affect your own heart space. Sometimes that is easier said than done… but it is good to practice not caring what others think!

    Thank you. It is so good to know about others doing similar stuff….. full of hope and happiness.


    1. Dear Saskia,
      KEEP GOING!!!! you deserve to live true to your heart and know that the truth… no one likes it when we change because it makes them look at themselves, but also sometimes their resistence to our changes is part of us finding the strength to choose our happiness over pleasing other people, if they are not the same thing – real love means wishing other people to follow their bliss…
      Jo x

  8. Great article! I’m with you in that I don’t want to have to ask for permission to take time off or go to the doctor…. and 2 days off for 5 days at work is far too unbalanced.

    I also don’t like someone telling me when, where and how I should be most productive… i.e. the mandatory 9-5, M-F office setting kills my creativity.

    Like you said, we shouldn’t always wait until we have enough time and money. Sometimes the security of a paycheck keeps us complacent and hinders us from reaching our goals. When we leave that secure place, we tend to buckle up and get our passions, purpose and prosperity moving in the right direction!

    1. Hey, thanks Green Girl Success – It has never felt right for me as an adult to need a parent figure to tell me what to do, how to do it and if i am doing it right or wrong and I certainly don’t want to have to put my hand up to ask to go to the toilet… My life has to based on trusting myself, my instinct and my connection to the universe and my divine purpose/journey etc – even if it weaves differently to some…. Its hard though still sometimes old messages want to creep in and challenge me to get back in my box again, but its at these moments I believe our conviction is tested…
      Jo x

  9. mahavir nautiyal

    The blog is like breeze flowing through – invigorating the mind and impelling one to flow with life and, not necessarily , living upto the expectation of others.

    1. Hey Mahavir, Flow, flow flow with the power of life’s river for you – your journey guided by its force…Living to other people expectations is like jumping on to the river bank and wondering why you are not getting anywhere – I’ve tried it many times and I feel nothing but stuck and miserable… Jo x

  10. I love this post as I can really relate to what you say about dealing with other people’s opinions. It always amazes me how emotive other people can get about the choices I make about my own life. I too make a conscious effort to live my life each day in a way I feel free and happy.

  11. Wow!yes tats what life really is ! It’s so exciting to just read your article , I wonder how wonderful it wold actually for you😊you are 100% right , we,people are materialistic and hard pressed with responsibilites,that even if we are not busy , we are preoccupied with responsibilites😊,hence life time busy…best wishes mam..I’m simply impressed .

  12. Hi there,

    I just happened to be browsing the articles and I’m so glad I came across yours! This is an incredible piece of work!

    I’m so glad that you took time of your busy life and did what you wanted to do! You proved all those obstinate and narrow minded thinkers( those ones who live for later and not in the moment) wrong. I’m sure this exprience has made you feel elated! You accomplished what you needed to do and it had a phenomenal outcome. You did what was best for you. Stay resolute in your thinking! I resonate because I think its time I took off and do what I need to do in life.

  13. I love this post! I’ve done something very similar where I took three months off and traveled around Europe. I heard every insult and jealousy comment in the book that appears you did too! Its hands down, an experience I will never forget and I never regret taking that leap.

    Ironically, I was not only offered my job back, but with a substantial pay increase and an entirely flexible schedule to go along with. Now I work for a little and then take month-long (or longer!) trips in one place, to try to experience the life of a local.

    Keep doing what you’re doing! Everyone is so quick to throw negative comments out but if they aren’t aware to what positive changes it can have too if they’d just take the leap. Thanks for sharing your experience, it continues to inspire us all!

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