Freedom in America and Travel – Coronavirus This Independence Day

by Miles Jackson

The Fourth of July celebrates America’s independence and its political freedom. Now more than ever, as our world faces a Coronavirus pandemic, we should reflect on what freedom means. As more than half the US states have rising cases of the disease, it’s a foe America has not defeated. Three states -Arizona, Florida and Texas have acute situations developing creating great concern.

Freedom is Not Free

Freedom America War Memorial

The price for freedom has never come cheaply. It has great value – bought with a great cost.  Our latest enemies who challenge our freedom are just as costly, a virus and racism. They both undermine our promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Over the course of modern history, America represents the embodiment of freedom. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, is a memorial to America’s independence and a tangible representation of that belief. In fact, there are chains at her feet which represent breaking free from tyranny and servitude.

Of course, the United States has a history of struggles for freedom. These began with the original thirteen colonies declaring independence from Great Britain’s rule and sparking the Revolutionary War. The Civil War fought to abolish slavery. World Wars were fought to protect America and her allies from oppression and the defeat of freedoms.

The United States has a history rich in protests and strife, all aimed at improving the lives of its citizens. From the movement to ensure a woman’s right to vote, to protests against war, bigotry and economic oppression, people have fought.

Coronavirus in America

It seems that every generation has its own crisis. Today, as the United States looks towards her 244th birthday, she faces even more struggles in providing freedom to all. Almost overnight the Coronavirus pandemic changed our way of life, ending most travel for the time-being. Certainly international travel became unthinkable as thousands of flights were cancelled worldwide as nations closed themselves off from visitors.

My generation had Vietnam and desegregation, Nixon and the Cold War. Now, that same generation should be the cooler heads that prevail – but we’re not. Politics has clouded rational thinking and appropriate behavior.
With the deprivation of civil liberties under the guise of safety, or in some instances, for the greater liberties of others, we relinquish something only once we understand the costs and the rewards. 9/11 taught us that. What will learn from the current crises facing our nation?

Travel, for many, especially our readers has always been a very much enjoyed privilege of this American freedom.

Coronavirus: Freedom in America and Travel

Because of the Coronavirus, freedom in America and travel is affected.

“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.”― Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps.

No, I do not believe travel is freedom, per se. It is a representation of an achievement and a conscious exercising of one’s freedom. For me, a few quotes sum up my philosophy of travel. Travel represents the combination of freedom and privilege. Freedom is both the legal ability and spirit within travel. Privilege is comprised of the means to travel. Today we have progressed far beyond our feet of our caveman ancestors to carry ourselves beyond our small borders.

My favorite quotation regarding travel comes from Hans Christian Andersen in his book The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography, who wrote:

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”

My Perception of Freedom Has Changed

Since the day I stepped onboard an airplane for my first flight, travel became the ultimate expression of my freedom. It wasn’t much, a Convair twin-prop plane headed to a city not more than 150 miles away. For a kid, it was magical as I watched the land pull away from my window view. I marveled at the small cars and trucks I followed along the highways.

Freedom Surfing Travel Bali

Freedom- Surfing in Bali

Today, I have traveled to more than 60 countries and hundreds of cities, both near and far. Travel, for me, still provides that same excitement of my youth. It’s freedom from being grounded, while opening new treasures to be discovered. Like many, the global pandemic of COVID-19 caught me off-guard. Currently in travel to discover the best beaches of Asia, I am stuck quarantined abroad. Consequently, I anxiously anticipate boarding that next flight to a new adventure! Freedom has many meanings to me, today perhaps more than ever.

Is Travel Freedom?

Freedom America Travel Airplane Window View

For many, travel is an expression of freedom…

Is travel freedom? It certainly makes one feel free. Wherever I go, I meet many people who envy my ability to travel and enjoy new experiences. They tell me I am so lucky to live in America.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad / Roughing It

We should never forget that America offers its citizens great opportunities. This emphasizes why it is often called the Land of Opportunity.

Limitations to Freedom

Coronavirus America

Freedoms Are Often Compromised by External Factors

During this pandemic, we must appreciate that freedom is not absolute. Similar to shouting ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater, certain actions are not protected under the Constitution guaranteeing free speech. What about the freedom to not wear a mask while inside an airport or inside a commercial aircraft cabin? If you believe in freedom for all and support everyone feeling safe traveling again, common sense should dictate the appropriate behavior while in public.

Travel Opportunities

Travel and the freedom it brings comes from trips both near and far. Europe in late summer / early fall? See Europe Coronavirus Travel Restrictions by Country to plot your next trip. Perhaps you are considering a trip to the Caribbean since it’s closer the US and quite a bit cheaper than Europe? See Caribbean Reopenings – Coronavirus Travel Restrictions by Country. If you want to test the waters, perhaps a domestic trip makes the most sense. See Post-COVID Travel Deals: Beautiful West Coast Choices. Celebrate your freedom with America travel!

Juicy Miles’ travel professionals can help you book award travel using your points or miles. They can also craft a personally designed Mileage Run for you around the program of your choice. With lots of potential destinations this year, deals may be the best offered in a decade.

Thanks to Our Frontliners

Travel…travel to express and share your freedom with the world. Also, make it your own affirmation and self-expression through the privilege of travel. Travel is a gift that will enrich your lives and the lives of those you encounter along the way.

In that same thought, let us thank the staff and crew of the airlines, airports, hotels and facilitators of our travels. They have been facing daily struggles to ensure you can enjoy your privilege of travel. Their days are challenging. They make it possible just as much as your gift of freedom as an American does. Freedom in America and travel should go together.

Final Thoughts

As America looks to another Fourth of July, we should reflect on what this means to each one of us. We also need to appreciate what it means for us as a nation. The efforts and sacrifices of those who have gone before us also deserve our thoughts. Let’s give thanks to the men and women who have given much in our history. The gift of freedom, purchased with the words, hearts, and blood of our fellow Americans.

For my part, I echo the words of Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”― Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. I love to travel for travel’s sake. Just to go and enjoy the feeling of travel and a proper affirmation of my own freedom.

Happy Birthday America! Enjoy your gift of freedom as America looks to travel again!

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