Every now and then someone asks me why I do this — take time out of my life to produce a blog post (almost) every day, that is. The short answer, I suppose, is that I read and think and write to keep my mind active. And as I’ve said before, the exercise challenges me to live up to Benjamin Franklin’s advice:
If you wou’d not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing.
So that’s my motivation. My intent is a different thing.
Whether I’m writing about Founding Principles or cultural oddities, piloting a 16-ton motorhome or a rugged side-by-side, exploring the woods or savoring a meal, my threefold purpose is to inform, entertain and inspire.
The first comes easily to me, thanks to decades spent crafting corporate communiqués. The second is (for better or worse) a natural extension of my personality. The third, however, is something I never imagined myself doing — I didn’t aspire to inspire.
That changed the day a man I respect recognized me publicly for what I’d been writing on the subject of Liberty, as well as Deb for her contributions to the cause. It was a humbling moment for both of us, and it altered the way I approach what I do here.
Until then, I think, I would’ve said that my writing is equivalent to singing in the shower, a creative outlet allowing me to express whatever was rattling around my brain that day. Afterward I had to reckon with the possibility that someone, somewhere might actually be reading this, enjoying or even appreciating it.
One thing I steadfastly avoid, though, is any presumption that I have the power to persuade the reader. That’s above my pay grade. Sure, I present arguments and I make cases, and when I do it’s not to change differing minds but to gird like minds.
Yes, I mean to preach to the choir — even if it’s a choir of one, singing in the shower
Overall, Ubi Libertas Blog has been (and is) a satisfying endeavor. I’m truly grateful for your attention.
As the blog evolved from commentary into travelogue and a-day-in-the-life, its audience changed and grew. Deb and I are living the life we’ve imagined, and we hear regularly from people who confess to “living vicariously” through us as we chronicle our adventures.
They thank us for taking them places they’ve never been, sharing images of sights they haven’t seen and doing things they only dream of doing themselves. And it makes us smile.
But there are others, reading the same words and looking at the same photos, who tell us that we’ve kicked them in the ass. They see our example and get a new job or start a business, leave a crappy relationship, chase that honky-tonk dream, buy an RV or make plans to move to a different part of the country. Instead of living through us, they take action in their own lives.
We hadn’t been on the road very long when, sitting on the banks of the White River in northern Arkansas last May, I wrote this:
“Suppose you were told, either by your god or your gut, that you could have exactly what you always wanted? What if you could jettison your cares and concerns, shrug off your burdens and live a Zulu Foxtrot kind of American Life?
“I’m here to tell you that it’s a choice — maybe a complicated one, perhaps a difficult decision to make, but trust me, it’s within reach.
“It took me almost 64 years to learn that the people that I admire are the ones who figured that shit out.”
We live the lives we choose.
It seems to me that we spend a lot of time talking ourselves out of what we want to do. We’re too old. We’re too young. We have obligations. We don’t have the money. We have kids. We have grandkids. We have friends. We have our reasons. It’s complicated.
Not now. But someday….
Worse than that, we actively sabotage our own dreams. We build roadblocks and drop anchors, putting distance and barriers between us and what we say we want.
And so we console ourselves with wishing and dreaming and tell ourselves that’s enough. We post our pithy memes, pictures of woodsy cabins, lonesome highways and characters we fancy ourselves to be but are not.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” Thoreau wrote. “What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
I’ve been there myself.
But Thoreau also said that “if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” We must act — and act consistent with that which we imagine — to achieve unexpected success.
It begins with a choice.
If you have a dream, choose it — and then put all of your energy and every move you make into the life you’ve chosen. It’ll transform you, I promise.
You can do this.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.