Freedom is something we all strive for.
Joe Hawley spent over 15 years of his life being told what to eat, weigh and do as a football player. He was grateful for the 8 seasons he played and to have accomplished a childhood dream. Once he retired from the NFL, he decided to embrace freedom and donated everything he owned to charity.
He had always dreamed of living simply and hitting the open road with no real schedule. Although, his friends and family thought he was crazy he pursued his dream. He purchased a van that became his home on wheels and headed to a local shelter in Tampa to adopt a traveling partner.
He noticed a two-year-old boxer that was cowering and shaking in fear in her cage and knew that she was the dog for him. He rescued the dog and named her “Freedom”. The two instantly bonded and started their off-grid adventure.
Freedom took the co-pilot seat in the van and the pair headed out to see the beautiful country. The only goal was to cover all 48 states and catch some live sport games at stadiums along the way. He said that disconnecting has allowed him to embrace nature and clear his head.
“I just kinda want to go and wing it, and live life on the road, and kind of experience it without having to stress out about where to be or who to be or what to be.”
So far the adventure has inspired him to share how “living with less allows you to experience more”. Freedom is his best friend and together they are never lonely. The boxer is “the love of my life and the greatest travel companion I could of asked for. She reminds me everyday how much I have to be grateful for,” wrote Hawley on his blog. When they are not hiking or exploring the beautiful outdoors, they snuggle up and relax together. Both are experiencing what it feels like to be “truly free”.
The duo has covered 20,947 miles, visited 24 states, 12 stadiums and 6 national parks. They are half way through their goal of 48 states.
Hawley and Freedom are loving every minute of their new lives and encourages others to follow their dreams. “Find out what makes you happy, find out what sets your soul on fire, and go pursue that.”
Watch how his life was transformed when he gave up everything and adopted a dog in the video below.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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