Copy of Dan Round Brand

Happy Independence Day

It's the Fourth of July and I write to you from Alaska, the “last frontier” — as the 49th state is known here in the US.

And it is all true about Alaska: the open space, the vastness of its waters, the greatness of its ranges and glaciers. All of it is incredibly beautiful. In the past week, I’ve had a moose family come visit the porch of the place we were staying at, fell in love with the 3-tone call of the golden-crowned sparrow, seen a run of salmon diligently swimming upstream, and witnessed a bald eagle fly ten feet over my head with a fish in its talons it had snatched from the ocean mere seconds before. And there is so much more, of course. Alaska is a magical place.

I guess that is why many people, like myself, come here: to experience the different, to reconnect with nature, to feel a little “free”-er from the challenges of their lives. To breathe more freely and feel unencumbered.

And, no doubt, Alaska is a great place for all of that.

But the thing is, you don’t need to come to Alaska to feel that way.

You can do it from the comfort of your home — or the discomfort of your life. You can make space within your own reality to think differently, to breathe differently, to feel differently. You can go for a walk, turn off your cell phone during the weekend, read a great book, meditate, or even do absolutely nothing.

As it turns out, freeing ourselves from our problems has more to do with freeing ourselves from the way we think and act. Or better: the ways we have thought and acted so far. When we do that, when we realize that all it really takes for us to feel freer is for us to allow ourselves to do it, everything changes.

Take my case: I did not come to Alaska to just see Alaska. I came to Alaska to see it with my family. Sharing it with my wife and kids is the trip — not Alaska. Alaska, though majestic, is the backdrop to the human experience. Had we gone to Arizona, Egypt, New Zealand, or anywhere else, I would have cherished it just as much.

How do I know for sure? Because besides wonderful vistas and memories, Alaska has also given me COVID. And as I sit and write to you from the isolation of my secluded AirBNB, my family sleeps safely and soundly in the rooms next to mine. What else could I possibly ask for? To be with those that you love and who lift your soul… That’s is home.

So, the “final frontier” is not really Alaska, but a different kind of “state”: a state of mind. Can we break through our existing mindset to take us to the next level?

The Fourth of July seems like the perfect time to do it. Maybe this is an opportunity to celebrate not only our country’s independence but also our own. Can we liberate ourselves from what keeps us stuck, focusing on what ultimately is not important to us? Can we stop just taking time to look at the past and, instead, make space to dream about a better future?

Today is the day. Every day is the day.

Every day is Independence Day — if you want it to be, if you are willing to explore a little bit more of the final frontier that is you.

So, from Alaska to wherever you are, I wish you the best Independence Day you can hope for. I, for one, am having a great one: close to the ones I love, freeing myself from my own expectations about what our Alaska trip should have been like. I could not be more grateful.

Fare forward, traveler! Go confidently toward the future — and that freer version of yourself only you can envision. The rest is unimportant.

Happy Independence Day,
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