Are You Brave If You Travel?

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In true media fashion, the headline was written to evoke curiosity and set the stage for the upcoming segment on family travel around Australia.

Most families don’t decide to take off for an 18-month road trip around Australia with their two kids. Anyone who has children knows what a battle it can sometimes be just to get them dressed and brush their hair.

The_Today_Show

As all clever copywriters do, a short headline and sub, seek to capture that story and connection with a sentence or two,

And leave it wide open to interpretation. Perception is everything right?

“Are we there yet? This brave young family road tripped around Australia for 18 months. We’ll talk tomorrow to see how they survived.”

When I first read it, I got what they were trying to say, although my reaction was, “Oh I don’t think I’m brave, I’m just doing my thing.”

Nuances of bravery

The word bravery has shades of meaning, and sometimes it interchanges with the word courage. It depends on your background, age, and life circumstances as to which one of these nuances fits your perception.

I’ve been travelling since I was 21. Three days after I graduated from University, I stepped on a plane to backpack through Indonesia with two girlfriends before moving to London to live.

In Nias Island in the back of a pick-up truck
In Nias Island, Indonesia, in the back of a pick-up truck

I wasn’t worried about travelling as a woman through Indonesia, I wasn’t scared about living away from my parents’ home for the first time in a new city in a foreign country – and a huge city at that. I wasn’t terrified at the prospect of being fresh out of Uni and starting my career in London. I wasn’t frightened about running out of money (even though I did), feeling lonely, or experiencing challenging times.

At the time, I didn’t feel brave, I only felt excitement. I followed my heart without even consciously thinking about it.

Once I started my travels back in 97, I learned how easy it was to do. I became addicted to freedom and adventure, discovery and growth, and the opportunity to reinvent myself over and over again.

Travel is a normal life for me.

Deciding to travel around Australia was a little daunting, considering this time we had two children to worry about, a business to run, and the cost of travel in Australia. But, I’ve never had a lot of cash reserves, yet travel has always been my constant companion.

I’m not the type of person to dwell on fears and possible catastrophes. I have faith in my ability to overcome them and to create the new opportunities that will keep bringing me what I want.

I don’t feel I’m brave because I travel. Travel is just too normal for me.

Of course, many folks jumped out at the chance to put us in our place and off they went in the Facebook groups.

“They’re not brave. Brave are those who go and fight in wars for their country.”

I agree. But, what these people, who can’t help but debate semantics to unleash whatever they need to unleash, fail to think about is nuances of meaning.

Where people come from. What background and lifestyles and character traits help shape their experiences.

Owning your slice of bravery

I know that there are people doing more important, world-changing things. I know people are suffering and surviving, with bravery, horrible things like genocide, drought, earthquakes and riots.

But, just because these disasters are happening, or people are achieving more worthwhile things, doesn’t mean that each person can’t own their own slice of bravery.

Whether that means fighting incurable diseases, recovering from financial loss, inventing cures, living in poverty, raising five children as a single mother, or deciding to quit your job and travel the world.

It’s all a nuance of bravery and each person is entitled to express their courage in their own way.

We have a range of emotions to feel otherwise they wouldn’t be present. Life is not about suppressing them because of guilt or fear of judgement.

If we are privileged enough to be born into circumstances that allow us choice and greater freedom than it is our duty to make the full use of that.

Perhaps stepping out to do that is bravery. Our obligation and gratitude for that privilege then becomes an act of service and paying forward.

As each person lives with courage, they help elevate society as a whole. Courage brings growth and a paying forward of kindness and passion, which brings about better humans.

Do you feel brave if you travel?

You might not feel brave or courageous to travel, (or you might –either way is fine) but you have to acknowledge that what seems easy or normal for you is not necessarily for everyone else.

As some people in the discussions jumped out to say,

“I think it’s brave. What they’re doing is something I’ve always wanted to do, but don’t have the courage to make that choice.”

So even though I don’t feel brave, or think it’s brave to travel, to someone who doesn’t have the confidence yet to take this giant leap, it is.

The older you get and the more responsibilities you have, especially when you have children, making the decision to leave everything behind and get rid of all your possessions to follow your dream, is courageous.

You have more to lose. More possessions. More security. More life-long friends. More connectedness and belonging.

It’s not a difficult decision for me because I’ve always been nomadic, but for someone else, it’s ENORMOUSLY frightening.

You’ve got to have courage to travel

Sunset at Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

It made me reflect a little on what we’ve done and perhaps give myself a little more credit.

We didn’t throw ourselves on a battlefield or run into a burning building, so the word bravery in it’s heroic form, doesn’t resonate with our story.

But, I think courage does.

Whenever you take a step over the fear towards something you desire, then you have courage. Whenever you turn your back on the status quo and decide to live life on your terms, you have courage.

Whenever you take a risk, knowing you could lose, you have courage. Whenever you take the chance of failure, to get the optimum reward, you have courage.

Whenever you stand up to the haters, naysayers and dream stealers, and tell them to “bugger off I’ll do what you want when you want because you can and who cares what you think”, you have courage.

Kalyra and I saw a great T-Shirt at our local markets on the weekend that says, “Who Cares?” We laughed, and she somehow knew it was a good shirt for me. I wished I bought it now.

As I told her, “Honey, you need courage to tell people that sometimes. Otherwise, they will steal your dreams away from you.”

Lucky Bay, Esperance, Western Australia

We did have a lot of odds against us to take that trip around Australia. I wouldn’t say we had a lot of cheerleaders, most thought we were crazy. It didn’t make sense financially. Our confidence was not high, due to our own financial losses we were trying to climb out of. We could have travelled the safe route – stayed in jobs and a stable secure future for us and our children.

We risked their future. We risked changing and “destroying” their personalities and sense of connectedness and groundedness.

But we stood up for what we wanted – dreams, freedom, adventure, discovery, love, happiness, togetherness.

Now I look back, I see the courage it took to go for that, even though it feels like I’m just putting one foot in front of the other.

The rewards of following your heart with courage

family travel

Not only did we travel the country, but we shared it with our community. We opened up the doors to our family and lifestyle and welcomed everyone in. We chose to be vulnerable, to risk ridicule and judgement.

We did it because our heart told us that we had something important to share and to do it we needed to have courage. Because if we did, we could help others believe that they too own courage and can be brave. They too can pay attention to their hearts, not the tall poppies and naysayers who will try their best to dam up their dreams.

If we can do it, you can too.

Because of that risk, we’ve now been able to create a secure and happy future for our children. They have had 18 months of incredible memories and their courage, strength and confidence have increased dramatically. We have a tight and loving bond- it’s not perfect, we all still argue and get sick of each other, but we have that strength that comes from shared experiences.

And the biggest reward is that we’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands of people to decide to embrace more travel with their life, to be brave enough to do it with their children and overcome the obstacles, and to create more of those precious memories.

We’ll share with you a story next week of how one family has done it. It took her a lot of courage to make the decision to do it, but now she has, she’s realised how easy it is and has a whole year’s worth of travel planned for her family and her joy is contagious.

We intend to regularly share with you how many others are choosing to use their courage to follow their dreams and how they are creating more travel for themselves and their families.

Most people are too afraid to follow their hearts because they’ve been told for far too long that it is unhealthy to do so and that they can’t for whatever reasons. We’ve been taught to listen to other people tell us how to live our lives and follow a safe and secure path.

Safe and secure is too great a sacrifice for joyless living that has you scratching around asking, “Is this it?”

No. There can be way more.

Risk involves courage

So is it brave to travel?

Possibly. It depends on the level of fear you are running through. You decide for yourself and don’t listen to the haters.

Do you need courage?

Yes. You might be like me, where it just seemed like a natural step forward and you didn’t think much about it. Even though you don’t realise it, it does take courage. You’re doing what most don’t feel brave enough to do.

The beauty of youth is that courage doesn’t feel like much of a requirement for anything, so you just live in accordance with the freedom and joy and adventure that life hasn’t had too much of an impact reducing your connection to just yet.

Courage is what helps you move out of complacency and dissatisfaction and survive in an unknown world. Anything that involves risk and trying something new takes courage.

If you’re struggling to tap into that inner courage that you possess, look towards others who have done it and learn from them. If they can do it you can.

Look beyond your fears to the rewards. If the picture you have painted of your dream is powerful and joyful enough, you’ve tapped into a well of courage.

Use that momentum to move forward.

I’ll leave you with an empowering message delivered to my daughters and I while watching Cinderella at the movies the other day:

Have courage. Be Kind. Believe in a little bit of magic. Only then will you see the world as it could.

Does travel feel like a brave thing or is it just an easy decision for you? How has courage played a part in that?

27 thoughts on “Are You Brave If You Travel?”

  1. It is brave to do long term travel. Risking financial security in search of something more takes courage. Going against convention requires a belief in yourself and a committee to your ideals. Don’t take on board the negative comments from the TV show. Keep marching to the beat of your own drum.

  2. This post came right in time. Today I’ve been battling as to whether or not live in London (usa now) for a year by myself in a country ive never stepped foot in. I do think that travel takes risks and you need courage..just don’t know if I have that courage..or *cough* brave enough….

    1. Yes I truly think you do. You have so much more courage than you realise. Once you get over there everything will start falling into place and you’ll adjust. All you’ll be aware of is the amazing fun you’re having!

      Just in case you haven’t seen any of these posts yet, this is what we have on London https://www.ytravelblog.com/category/london/
      Lots of stuff on Europe as well which will be so close! Yay

  3. ‘Bravery’ comes in many forms. I believe it relates to anything you do out of your comfort zone. When our children start something new, they need courage and bravery to face what is ahead. Why is it so different for us adults? I dream of the day we are able to pack it all up and hit the road. We don’t have a great deal of money, have a mortgage which is like a ball and chain but we fill our days up with planning lots of trips whether it be a day here or there to a week away somewhere new. I think everyone has that little voice telling us to form stability and ensure our future is secure. I certainly grew up learning the importance of having a roof over my head. However, there is so much more to life and it can be so mundane. I think Caz and Craig, the 2 of you are brave, courageous and the envy of us all. Negative people will always be negative and you know (like many of us) your kids are enriched with an abundance of life and knowledge. I would be proud and you should be. Keep travelling and sharing. 🙂

  4. I think it’s brave to travel solo, particularly as a woman. You’re going against what society tells you, even what some of your family and friends desire. I’m traveling internationally in September alone. I have my husband’s, children’s, and my family’s well-wishes and support (though my in-laws may be another thing). To decide to do something for yourself is a personal challenge for many – a worthwhile one.

  5. I f we are discussing the word “bravery”,as a matter of fact,every word has so many meanings,it all depends on our percetion.In any action or word,the most important thing is,the thought behind it.For eg.roaming around for 18 months,may be bravery or escapism.It all depends on from where the thought has germinated.

  6. Greatly written definitely takes courage to go out and travel. Doing it with a family and going against the societal norms most definitely. Your family has so many memories that money won’t be able to buy. This is inspiring as I’m preparing to do world travels with no time line.

  7. Heck! You guys were “Brave” “courageous” or whatever other term society invented to describe what you did. No doubt about that.

    But I totally get your point Caz, when you say that you don’t feel that you are brave, as you’re just living your usual life, according to who you really are deep inside.

    I feel the same when people tell me that I’ve been “brave” to leave my secure life, at age 35 to just travel the world. They also told me I was brave when at age 30, I quit another secure job in Italy and moved to London to learn English from scratch.

    I got a lot of “you’re so brave” but also a lot of criticism (and hate sometimes) for my unconventional choices. Especially on my second one, when I was 35 and instead of getting married, I left everything and followed my inner call once and for all.

    You said it right. When you are not a teenager anymore, taking a chance involves so much more than just being excited. You had a lot to risk and lose. In your specific case, in addition to that, you were not only responsible for yourself anymore but for your kids’ future as well. If this isn’t being brave, I don’t know what is.

    I’m sorry to say, but people who have to face natural disasters or dramatic turns in their lives, certainly didn’t choose to be brave. They had to. They can be defined as strong, resilient people, and brave of course but not by choice.

    You chose, and that’s something that makes you really brave. No one forced you to take the unconventional route, and I can only imagine what people might have told you on how to raise your kids and be responsible parents.

    It’s not easy to go against the flow. It takes courage.
    It’s not easy to simply say “who cares what other people say”, it takes courage.

    And even if I don’t have kids, I can imagine how hard it must have been for you to take that decision.

    I actually remember a post that you wrote before the departure, where you confessed a little “freak out” moment. Well, that too is courage.
    You said something else here in the post, with which I totally agree: You have to be brave to show your fears and share your feeling with your audience. This part is so underestimated by many, but it’s the reason why some bloggers nail every single post like you do.

    Being real, putting yourself out there, no matter what, taking the criticism in, that is courage in its pure form.

    You don’t have to go to a real war to be brave, words of disapproval can wound you and leave you scars, much deeper than people might think, if you are not strong enough to stand for what you believe (which is what you did, together with many other who decided to swim against the flow).

    This was an amazing read, I could relate so much. Thanks for sharing your feelings once again Caz!

  8. I really agree with what you said here: “Now I look back, I see the courage it took to go for that, even though it feels like I’m just putting one foot in front of the other.”

    That’s how I feel a lot. I was terrified about moving to Peru for a year. But it was just something that I had to do and I just slowly worked towards that goal. I didn’t feel brave. I was so scared and nervous! After living there and looking back, I realized that it did take a lot of courage for me to move to Peru. It’s actually still a little hard to believe that I actually did it!

    I think there will always be some fear and insecurity when it comes to travel and you just have to slowly work through that fear to create more travel. You don’t feel courageous at the time, but looking back you’ll find yourself thinking “how did I manage to pull that off?”

    I think you guys were very courageous to travel for so long with your daughters! Keep the inspiration coming 🙂

  9. I don’t feel like travel and bravery are mutually exclusive, but traveling has given me a huge confidence boost! I mostly travel by myself, and have been all over – including a lot of places where I don’t speak the language. It takes a lot to rattle my cage nowadays, and I attribute that to traveling.

    http://www.headelsewhere.com

  10. A few years ago, I went to live in Japan for a year. Before I left I had a major freakout about it. As I walked around the streets in Melbourne, it suddenly hit me that so many of the people around me had left behind everything to get on a boat or a plane to a country where they didn’t know the language or what the future held.

  11. “They’re not brave. Brave are those who go and fight in wars for their country.”

    I saw the above when it was posted. The immediate thought that came to mind was the poster of the comment had taken it totally out of context….as used and implied.
    Travelling for me doesn’t take bravery. It’s more overcoming some inner fears of our shortcomings to do certain things. A bit like overcoming the fear of heights or flying etc etc.
    A lot of people will look sideways at us all for the travels and things we do because in all honesty they live what I call, a rather vanilla lifestyle. Not mocking them as it’s their choice. But they do see YOUR Family and others as different.

    Brave?…No….

    Enjoying Life to the max and overcoming some fears or shortcomings ?….YES !

    “If we were meant to stay in one spot, we would have been given roots, not feet”

  12. When I travel solo with my kids ( especially if I’m only with the younger ones) many people comment to me that I am ” brave”. I don’t think I’m brave, just determined not to let being a single mum stop us from following our dreams of travelling and experiencing what life has to offer. Maybe courageous is a better word. To turn your back on the norm and follow your dreams you need to ignore the negative comments and have complete faith in yourself. That takes courage.

  13. A very well timed question for me!
    I think definitely think you have to be brave. I’m putting together my plan to leave my life in London and go travelling for 6 months and I am terrified of taking that first step and booking my flights! Having been here for 10 years it’s scary to think I will be leaving this city, family, friends and my job….. but I am going to be brave and bite the bullet…. soon! 🙂

  14. “I’m not the type of person to dwell on fears and possible catastrophes. I have faith in my ability to overcome them and to create the new opportunities that will keep bringing me what I want.” –Caz

    Now that’s self-confidence Caz, courage too. Good on ya. I’m following you on your travels, and don’t worry about what the media and/or copy writers say about you, There can be a desperation in spinning to get attention. I’m struggling with that, the need to market. Keep on keeping on. I love hearing from you.

  15. I think to make the decision to travel, simply put takes courage. To make the decision to experience new places and explore the unknown always has more amazing experiences then risks attached. I made the decision to go Europe when I was 15 with 30 other upperclassman from my high school, and had the best experience of my life. And now a senior, I’d love to do it all again in college and that is why I read your blog so much, to get ideas and inspiration. So thank you, and I think that empowering people to travel, or at least share your own experiences, is the greatest gift you can give them to make their own dreams a reality.

  16. I think you have to be brave or have courage in a lot of different things you do. I’ve always dreamed of traveling, it’s like an itch or a nagging in the back of my head that won’t go away. But I don’t know that I’m courageous enough to leave my family, I feel like they need me. Or maybe it’s I need them. I’m going to Hawaii with a friend so maybe that is my first step in all of this. I’m using your plan from a previous blog for getting out of debt , which is seemingly Taking forever! Thank you for sharing!

  17. I’ve had similar thoughts about bravery and context. People have told me I’m brave for things that to me are just normal, but to someone else takes a lot more guts (my musings on this can be found at http://www.sahmthoughts.com/brave-mother/ if you’re interested).

    I did a lot more traveling in high school and college and a little since I’ve been married, but virtually none since we’ve had kids (2 years and 3 months respectively). We’re taking our first real family vacation next month and I’m excited. I’m planning on trying to get more weekend trips in around our area. And in a couple years our goal is to get an RV and tour the U.S. indefinitely. Your blog makes it seem like something doable and less crazy than it might seem on the surface.

  18. I absolutely think that stepping outside of your comfort zone and pushing the boundaries is brave. When we set up our blog as we preppred to head off backpacking around the world with our 1 year old daughter we had sooo many people say “Gee You’re Brave” that we ended up calling our blog exactly that!
    Brave can also be semantically exchanged for boldness and intrepidity. When we walked the Camino del Santiago with our child we certainly were intrepid.

  19. Natalie Meree

    Everything you said resonates with me. We are doing it too. We haven’t given ourselves a timeline. We sold everything and moved into our bus over a year ago and are grateful every day of the chance we have. I had that exact same conversation with a woman today – she couldn’t believe how “brave” I was doing this with two small children. “It must be so hard” she said. I tried to explain to her that I found it harder to live a passionless life where I was but she didn’t understand. All she could talk about was never getting a break from the kids and how I would have to watch them all the time. Again I tried to explain to her that is the one of the reasons we decided to live like we are – to spend time with our kids. Nup she didn’t understand.
    I don’t feel brave – I feel free, happy, excited and nourished every single day.

  20. Marsha Boyett

    I love to travel. It is my financial priority and I have traveled extensively . And I do think it takes a certain amount of bravery anytime you step out of your element.
    As a 58 year old American female with no sense of direction and a husband who does not like to travel ,I have wandered the hutongs of China and the mountains of Peru. I’ve been in places were Americans are not popular ,if not strongly disliked ,and I’ve been sick in the “elephant man ” hospital in London,England and almost every minute has been wonderfully worthwhile! So yes,I say to takes bravery, It takes gumption and grit!

  21. Read a quote somewhere and can’t remember the exact words but I do remember the exact meaning and I have use it as my touch stone to identify “courage”. The ones who push through the fear and do the deed are courageous. The ones who don’t know fear, don’t need it. Yes, i sometimes am courageous when it comes to travel, when I run smack into the wall of fear and do it anyway because I want it, because I need to prove something about myself to myself. Some times I end up not doing ‘it’ but that’s ok, sometimes that takes even more courage.
    And those people who say only those who fight in wars or rescue people from burning buildings are courageous don’t understand that words like courage are like a warehouse, lots of room for variations and depth. Those words are not rigid and narrow like those people.

  22. I checked this out following comments from friends and colleagues that I was brave to chuck away a perfectly good job and relocate overseas – minus my partner & kids in the short term and until I get settled and we can move as a family. I don’t feel brave. Bit apprehensive maybe – but I know I will make it work: for ALL of us. Reading this article helped me to understand the move from the perspective of others. The quotation from Cinderella struck a huge chord – when I first saw this in the cinema (with my youngest daughter) my eyes filled up as it sums up exactly what we, as a family, believe. Have courage. Be kind. Believe in a little bit of magic. 🙂

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