Montana, You are Freedom, and I Thank You

by R. McKinnon Baxter

My dear Montana… I need to apologize… I have been selfish. I have been riding and driving across your lands, swimming in your rivers, your lakes… talking to and enjoying your people… and lately, I have been so adrift, so lost in love with what you’ve had to offer… I’ve forgotten to thank you. Not just for your beauty and the grand opportunity to explore every inch of you, but more than that… for the freedom you have given me, and all of us who know you. You, more than any state I know, are… uninhibited … and a visual representation of freedom at its best.

top of the world - beartooth highway

top of the world – beartooth highway

Today is Sept 11, 2013. A day where the freedom I am talking about was shaken, and taken from us, if for even just a day when we all had to question… are we free? Are we really in control of our future? Is our future and our greatest ideals in jeopardy? These thoughts were profound and hit us where we were most vulnerable… This day, for many of us… was a wake up call.

If our lives can be snuffed out on any given day, any hour, any minute, from any number of events… then this begs the question… are we making the most of the freedoms we have been given in this life? If we are vulnerable to these events… a Sept 11th, a health problem, an accident on the road… then I have to ask my fellow man… are we living today as if it was our last? Have we seen the people we want to see? Talked to the people we’ve wanted to talk to? Said the things we’ve wanted to say to the world? Explored the places we’ve wanted to explore? Lived the lives we’ve wanted to live?

Beartooth Highway Freedom

Beartooth Highway Freedom

This is the silver lining of such an horrendous event like 9/11… and the message perhaps goes something like this. Stop taking life for granted. We have desires, deep down that are gnawing at us for a few simple steps of action… but we are not taking them. Why? Because we are afraid? Because perhaps we don’t feel we are truly free? We are afraid of some sort of backlash, some sort of life retaliation for taking action, making a decision and making a change outside of our comfort zones? Are we afraid of failing? Well what if our great men and women who have fought for centuries for this ideal of freedom had taken that approach to life… had been hesitant… sat on the sidelines… and never took action? The freedoms we enjoy today simply may not exist. And yet in spite of the fact that we all still have our freedom, the sad truth is that most will still act as if they do not… most will never take action… most will never forge ahead and most… will die with their dreams and passions buried in the ground with them.

When I look out from atop one of your 11,000 foot peaks Montana… what I see is infinite possibility. I see grandeur. I see a world telling me to move forward, explore, question, strive, expand, and reach out for something bigger than what I have within the five foot circle in which I sit or stand today.

West of Quake Lake Montana

West of Quake Lake Montana

And then when I come down off your mountains… when I come back from swimming in your waters, or flying down the open highway in my RV or motorcycle… I let the adversaries, whomever they may be… the “terrorists” of the world… my business, my stresses, my worries… and the “life-I’ve-created” beat me back down to submission where I am quite literally a slave to those negative and life stopping thoughts… Then for a while… I sit back… and do nothing.

More people need you Montana. You are a breath of fresh air, and a wakeup call to anyone who is willing to stop for just one moment and hear your brief, all powerful and much needed message… which is very simply this… You. Are. Free. American… so what are you waiting for? What is your heart telling you to do? Where is your gut telling you to go… and why aren’t your feet moving… right now… in that direction?

From Madison Junction to West Yellowstone Montana

From Madison Junction to West Yellowstone Montana

When I ride my bike or drive my RV on your roads, I rarely look back. To do so is dangerous… what is in front of me; that is my future… that is where the possibilities lie… that is where beautiful things will be experienced and seen. Around every one of your corners is something new and interesting. The exploration of you has been an exercise in 24/7 excitement… and a reminder that life can be lived with passion so that every day is new, every day is a grand adventure. By traveling your lands, you have reminded me of this… a metaphor of how we might live our lives whether we are traveling or rolling out of bed, putting our feet on the floor and deciding what we are going to make of this new day…

This day, September 11th, will go down in American history, as perhaps the most tragic event we will ever remember… but to me, it is a reminder that our freedom in the United States of America is an amazing gift that we need not only protect and share with the world… but something that must not be squandered or taken for granted. Traveling through your lands Montana has been a daily reminder of how much I have taken for granted, and I am thankful to you for reminding me that today is the day, right now, to make the most of what is in front of me… and in so many ways… make a difference in the world.

R. McKinnon Baxter, an Automated Business and Online Marketing Expert, has sold nearly $50 Million in products online over the course of 12 years. Today, he enjoys his life as a Travel Writer along with the freedom of the mobile working lifestyle driven by his automated business model and strategies. To learn more about McKinnon’s principles and methodologies, visit

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