“Just Living is not enough…One Must Have Sunshine, Freedom, and a little Flower” – Hans Christian Anderson
To me, Freedom is adventure. It isn’t the day to day grind. That is a groove of habit that becomes a trench with boundaries in my life. “Freedom,” as Robert Frost wrote, “is being bold.”
Freedom is where memories are made. Think about the freedom that we have in the Western world. We can travel when we desire, stay where we arrange, purchase necessary supplies for such adventures, and take time away from our work to do it -even for a short time.
At the time of the declaration of independence, I don’t think most British Colonists could fathom such a world. Sure the words of the document rang loud and were pleasing to those who felt oppressed, but their minds would be blown away by our modern independence.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Bold statements. Just look at how things have changed through the years and how that freedom has expanded.
It is crazy to think about how much transportation through the years has changed. In Jefferson’s time, the “roads” of the east coast where mostly just footpaths and small wagon trails if there were any at all. In fact, it is said that most colonists knew more about the happenings of the motherland of England than they did their neighboring colonies. Simply because transportation was so difficult. People didn’t really travel much.
Fast forward to the 1800s and there is a bit more traveling. Under President Polk, Americans -mostly lower income – head west in search of land and a better life. It took them months to reach the west coast and often cost them dearly – in relationships, wealth, and even their lives.
During the industrialization of America, people moved to cities and worked long grueling hours to make just enough money to survive. There were roads. There were places to see. But the pay and the hours restricted the movement of the average person.
The early 1900s roll in and National Parks are established as scenic destinations. Expeditions of people with Model T’s strike out into these new territories and share their photographs and stories in newspapers and other publications. New laws changed labor for the average person which provided better pay, working conditions, and shorter hours. Some people started to think outside of their town’s edges. Freedom was expanding.
During the 1920s, the Model T changed the road systems, transportation possibilities, and types of adventure that urbanites could enjoy. No longer did one need to board and care for a horse in the city. Now, with some fuel, people could strike out into the wilderness with a machine.
Some of the more clever individuals didn’t settle for the typical canvas tent structure. They modified their vehicles into small sleeping and cooking quarters. Some ideas were better than others for sure but the recreational vehicle idea was growing.
Manufacturers start producing small trailers to be pulled by these small engined vehicles. This included teardrop trailers.
WWII strikes the world and most camping that occurs was out of necessity on battle lines. At the end of the war, those who returned from the war took their families out into the wilderness with cars and trailers made from metal surplus from the war.
The 1950s were a boom time for outdoor enthusiasts. The advent of the V8 engine with overhead cam allowed Americans to travel faster with bigger trailers than ever before. Exclusive RVs were manufactured in the form of motorhomes. The National highway system was established.
Since that time, Americans have traveled the continent at will.
Think of it, Freedom. Freedom to make a journey in a few days that used to take months can cost lives. Freedom to leave work for a little bit and go see some national natural wonders. Freedom to hop in the car, stop by a grocery store on the way out of town, and sleep deep in the wilderness within a few hours.
We live in a miraculous time. So yes, Freedom is represented in the Bill of Rights. But I’d say it is also represented in vehicles, roads, national and state parks, campgrounds, and recreational vehicles.
When we account for those things, we have more freedom than Thomas Jefferson himself!!!
Happy Independence Day Campers!
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