In 1989, a song was released that revolutionized music. It would tear down the Berlin Wall, liberate Kosovo, and catapult David Hasselhoff into a strata of mega-stardom. That song was called “Looking for Freedom,” and it marked the first time in Hasselhoff’s life in which he could, as one critic put it, “walk around with a shirt on and still be considered a celebrity.” But what of the much-lauded freedom being chased in the song? Nearly 38 years later, David Hasselhoff still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.
“Well, I knew for sure I wasn’t going to find it here in the states,” Hasselhoff told The Haddock. “So I did a little soul-searching. Traveled around, lived day-to-day. Spent some time in a canoe – lot of time in a canoe, actually.” It would be after that canoe-bound vision quest (detailed in his 2003 memoir Lakes Unknown: My Time in a Really Sweet Canoe) that Hasselhoff would set sail upon dry land to discover a place in which pure, unadulterated freedom prevailed.
“I’ve tried, Lesotho, Uganda, Brunei, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Vanuatu, Madagascar, Palau, Angola, Belarus, Tunisia, Qatar, Ecuador, Liechtenstein, Tajikistan, Jordan, South Africa, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Canada, St Lucia, Macedonia, Indonesia, Singapore, Bhutan, Myanmar, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, Sudan, Italy, Botswana, Jamaica, Seychelles, Bahrain, Pakistan, Tonga, Colombia, Finland, Slovenia, Fiji, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Eritrea, Belgium, Croatia, Turkey, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Montenegro, Denmark, Kuwait, Algeria, Cape Verde, Hungary, Lebanon, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Panama, Netherlands, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Maldives, Chile, Monaco, Venezuela, Grenada, Mongolia, Philippines, Mexico, Mali, Australia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ghana, Austria, Vietnam, Guinea, Haiti, Libya, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Mauritania, Malta, Spain, Barbados, Antigua & Deps, Sao Tome & Principe, Togo, Poland, Swaziland, Yemen, Andorra, Bosnia Herzegovina, Ukraine, Bolivia, Sweden, El Salvador, Nigeria, Suriname, Central African Republic, Marshall Islands, The United Kingdom, Comoros, San Marino, Kiribati, India, Dominica, Iran, Brazil, Somalia, Chad, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Lithuania, Armenia, South Korea, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burkina, Benin, Kenya, Taiwan, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Kyrgyzstan, Djibouti, Russia, Niger, Afghanistan, Estonia, United Arab Emirates, Tuvalu, Costa Rica, Thailand, Honduras, Israel, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Laos, Gambia, Argentina, Mozambique, Cyprus, Cuba, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Micronesia, Mauritius, Bahamas, Congo, Liberia, Senegal, Nauru, Nicaragua, Albania, Morocco, Portugal, Japan, Zambia, Rwanda, Egypt, Malawi, Kosovo, Namibia, Czech Republic, Romania, Belize, Luxembourg, Georgia, North Korea, Cameroon, Guatemala, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, France, Norway, Gabon, Ireland, Paraguay, Sierra Leone, Guyana, Iceland, China, and Moldova. Yeah, nothing so far.†
Still, winners never quit, and quitters never Hoff; thus, the pursuit of freedom continues for the ex-Baywatch star. “So far I have yet to visit Latvia, Chile, Syria, or Vatican City. I’m really pulling for Latvia. Also, occasionally countries split into two countries. And sometimes new islands form; that’s a new chance for freedom.” When asked if perhaps his rich father (detailed in the lyrics of “Looking for Freedom”) may have been right about money’s role in the conceptual construct of “freedom,” Hasselhoff screamed “You leave my father out of this!” He then stormed out of the room in a visibly disturbed huff. A huffy, Hoff-y huff.
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† Author’s note: David Hasselhoff literally spoke each of those countries in the order listed. He has what is known as a “drinker’s memory,” which allows him to recall great amounts of information when ingesting copious amounts of alcohol (which he often pairs with protein, obtained in the form of hamburgers).