Freedom has many different faces.


I was born in a country in which freedom forms the cornerstone of our democracy.  We have a Bill of Rights that guarantees basic freedoms unknown in many parts of the world.  The truth is, everywhere on planet earth, people are free, but the consequences of exercising that freedom may be catastrophic.  I have been in countries in which the secret police are more than happy to watch you exercise your personal freedom, because it makes their job easier.  They know who they need to keep under surveillance.  Any country without a Bill of Rights is a scary place to live, and for that matter, any country eroding their Bill of Rights is turning its back on greatness.  To the degree they amend their fundamental freedoms, to that degree they have fallen from grace and trivialized the sacrifices made by all who have gone before that gave their lives to guarantee their freedom.


Many people don't understand the meaning of freedom.  They talk about freedom, but worship at the altar of irresponsibility.  They actually believe the world owes them the right to do whatever they want, irrespective of the impact it has on themselves or other people.  That's not freedom; it's anarchy and chaos. 


If you can take the Bill of Rights seriously without sliding down the slippery slope of irresponsibility, you are headed in the right direction.  That doesn't mean you are free, but at least you have a firm foundation on which you can build a life.


The Bill of Rights protects your freedom from being compromised by forces outside yourself.  But there is nothing in that document that makes you free, because true freedom comes from within.  Your culture has many powerful forces at work that would curtail your personal freedom, but they never march in the front door and put shackles on your arms and legs,  They come in the back door with their ball and chain, place them on the table, and let you put them on all by yourself.  They don't need to strong arm you or even intimidate you, because you will make choices that will shackle you more securely than a regiment of secret police ever could.


When you sign on the dotted line for a thirty year mortgage on an expensive house and a five year loan on a fancy car, you just put the shackles on, and it's going to be a long time before you have enough freedom chips to once again be free.  You know exactly what you are going to be doing in the foreseeable future, maybe even for the next thirty years.


Without realizing it, young people often make choices that last a lifetime.  Those who exercise their freedom to engage in promiscuous behavior and inject drugs often find themselves shackled to hepatitis B and AIDS, their new and unwanted life long companions who will not and cannot go away.  It's unfortunate that God didn't install a freedom meter in the middle of their forehead, so  they could take a look in the mirror to check out the long term consequences of the choices they make.


During most of my adult life, I have placed a high value upon maintaining my personal freedom to the greatest extent possible.  Nevertheless, most of the time, the choices I have made have limited my freedom to a significant degree.  There's not a lot of freedom when you spend four years in college, four years in medical school, five years in internship, residency, and fellowship training that made me into a board certified ophthalmologist, and retina and vitreous surgeon.  That's thirteen years shackled to the study carrel in the library, the emergency room, the operating theatre, and all that has to happen before I could put up my shingle and practice medicine independently in the real world.  Add to that the responsibility of raising a family and paying for their education all the way through university.  That's why I didn't dispose of my scalpel or take down my shingle until I was forty-seven years old. 


So what did I do to keep from going crazy in my world of limited freedom?


First, I chose to work overseas in international medicine.  This single choice opened the floodgates of freedom, the likes of which haven't been seen in the United States for fifty years.  Overseas, doctors are still held in high esteem, and I was able to practice my craft unencumbered by the dead weight of Medicare, insurance companies, and a legal system running amok.   When I worked overseas, my job was to help people. Period.  Not to fill out Medicare forms.  Not to argue with insurance companies for reimbursement.  Not to practice defensive medicine because I needed to cover my buns.  My patients knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was their advocate, and I would move heaven and earth to do everything humanly possible to fix their detached retina, to restore lost vision.  They trusted in God, and they trusted in me, and rightly so.  If you can't trust your doctor and hand him your burdens, then you need to visit another physician.  Practicing medicine in the third world was an extremely demanding but very liberating experience, and if I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing.  Freedom to practice your craft in an unencumbered manner is worth its weight in gold.


Second, even though I lived and worked for sixteen years in Saudi Arabia, I had more personal freedom in Arabia than in any place I have lived in the world.  The reason is simple.  In Arabia, I lived in a parallel universe in which none of the rules affecting the Saudis applied to me.  At the same time, the long arm of my own culture didn't reach across the sea and control my daily life.  I had the freedom to be myself and live my life how I pleased as long as I showed up for work on time and practiced my profession with integrity.  Everyone who has been an expatriate in Arabia knows what I am talking about, and that's why so many of them worked there for such a long time.  The parallel universe can be a wonderful place to invest your life.


Third, the Arabian desert was one of the last places on planet earth where you could do expeditionary travel without fear of running over landmines or getting caught in a crossfire in a civil war.  Arabia was  peaceful, and you could get in your Land Rover Defender and drive off-road for 500 kilometers in any direction once you were outside Riyadh, and no one cared where you went.  They didn't even stop you at checkpoints.  They simply motioned you and your Land Rovers through the checkpoints, because the authorities knew you were not a threat; you were just going into the desert to have the adventure of a lifetime.  There is no place on planet earth that was safer or more accessible to people who wanted to drive off-road.  The Empty Quarter is the biggest sandbox in the world with sand dunes hundreds of feet high, and we spent weeks each year exploring this sandy playground.


Fourth, I saved freedom chips.  Each year that I lived in the magic kingdom, I saved up more freedom chips, so that one day I could buy a freedom machine, a catamaran, that I  would sail around the world.


Fifth, I chose to live the unencumbered life.  That means I kept my infrastructure to a minimum whenever possible.  I have never owned a house, but I have owned five Land Rover Defenders.


Finally, freedom is just a thought away.  You can't be free until you learn to think thoughts that result in freedom.  You must think and act freedom into your life.


When I sit behind the wheel of my Land Rover Defenders, I can feel the freedom start to bubble up in my mind.  And when I look at Exit Only anchored in paradise, I thank God that I live in a place and time in which I have the freedom to sail on the ocean of my dreams.



Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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