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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.
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 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
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.”
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
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?