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The "Adventure Lab" is an idea incubator and collaborative resource hub for women over 40 who are hungry to create epic adventures, even on a shoestring budget. With a focus on asset-building and mentoring, we deal with the whole person in a way that is inclusive, regardless of financial means, and that creates opportunities for women at risk both in our local communities, and in developing nations.

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Where’s the Beef? (and how a really bad movie can be a really great tool for checking in with yourself)

May 18, 2016 in , , by Sue Braiden

Where's the Beef? (and how a really bad movie can be a really great tool for checking in with yourself)

I’m always on the look-out for good Adventure Diva movies, and when I stumbled across “I’ll See You in My Dreams” on Netflix, I thought I’d found one.

I was wrong.

The premise was a woman named Carol confronting her age, and realizing her life had become predictable and mundane. With a husband who had been dead for twenty-years, and a handful of friends pushing her to get out there and date again (while simultaneously pushing for her to move to a retirement community), Carol is reluctant to change, until a set of chance encounters turns that on it’s head.

So far, so good. Clinging to the familiar and fear of the unknown, even if things have gotten stale, is relatable enough, and I was encouraged by the promise that Carol was about to push way out of her comfort zone and shake things up.

It had potential, until it slid straight into a quagmire of clichés.

I wanted this movie to be great, and while I found it predictable, completely implausible, and definitely disappointing, it served a wonderful purpose: it made me check in with myself every time I complained. If it made me so damned mad, what was it that I thought should have happened instead? I was cheering for these women. I wanted them to be brave. I wanted them to get off their asses and go out there and grab a hold of life and shake the hell out of it.

And that’s what made it great in an unexpected way. Anything that shakes you out of your comfort zone, that gets you questioning what’s important to you, that moves you to want to take a step, make a change, is a tool to be grateful for.

So I ask you, sister Adventure Divas, what is the perfect happy ending? What is it out there in the wild blue yonder that calls to your Adventure Diva soul? What will your life be incomplete without?

What calls you, know matter how crazy it may seem? And more importantly, what’s stopping you?

Let’s put our elbows on the kitchen table and talk about it!

Letting go of trauma to clear the way for Adventure

May 17, 2016 in , by Sue Braiden

Sue Braiden, Rochelle Zohn, Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca

Twelve years ago I was attacked on a subway platform in Boston as more than twenty people stood by and watched.

No one intervened.

When I finally broke free from my attacker, and was running for the stairs, I fell. My hand was broken. I was crying, begging for help, but no one stopped. One by one, people disembarked the train, stepping over me, some on me, without ever looking back. When I finally reached street level, telling subway officials in the toll booths what had happened, they simply pointed me to a bank of 4 pay phones. 3 of them were broken.

No matter what I did, or who I asked, I could not get help.

May 17th has been in my calendar since 2004.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to hang onto it. Maybe to remind myself to be more vigilant (I made some stupid, tourist mistakes). Maybe to remember to be grateful that I’m still alive (especially given the very detailed account of what my attacker told me he was about to do to me). Mostly I think it’s just because I wasn’t ready to let go.

Somehow the trauma became part of what defined me. It’s also been one of my greatest blocks to getting on with the business of Adventures.

Come put your elbows on the kitchen table, and let’s talk about the ways we can stay safer as we’re creating happy experiences and memories …

What have you done that took you past your comfort zone?

May 13, 2016 in , , by Sue Braiden

David Bowie on Authenticity. What have YOU done that took you out of your comfort zone?

David Bowie has some gorgeous wisdom about pushing out of your comfort zone. In fact, I took his advice to heart and pushed way outside of my own. (Click through and I’ll tell you a little bit about that, and then I’m going to bust out my magic wand.)

So, Adventure Divas, what have YOU done that took you past your comfort zone? How did it turn out? Was it the kind of “Aha! moment” that makes you want to do it again?

If you haven’t gone there yet, would you like to? What is it that calls to your soul and scares the hell out of you, all at the same time?

Let’s talk! I’ve set a place for you over at the digital kitchen table, and I’m making it my personal mission to be YOUR fairy godmother! I am going to have your back, girl, and together, with a little help from our friends, we’re going to figure out how to have that Adventure that has been calling you too!

Carpe diem, baby!
Sue.

Soul Pepper | Friday, May 13th, 2016

in by Sue Braiden

"It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." - Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt. Everest.

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt. Everest.

What does an Adventure Diva conquering fear look like?

in , , by Sue Braiden

What does an Adventure Diva conquering fear look like? Kristina Paltén on a 1,144-mile journey of trust.

What does an Adventure Diva conquering fear look like? Kristina Paltén on a 1,144-mile journey of trust. The Swedish ultra-runner began her run through Iran on August 29th 2015. She was to become the first woman ever to cross Iran by foot.

Take a peek at the trailer for “Alone through Iran – 1144 miles of trust,” a documentary about Kristina Paltén, a lone Swedish woman, who wanted to challenge her own and others prejudices against Islam by running across Iran.

“I will tell people about the incredible kindness I have met.” — Kristina Paltén.

J. K. Rowling on the Power of Failure and Imagination

March 31, 2016 in , , , by Sue Braiden

J. K. Rowling's inspiring commencement address to Harvard University graduates, June 5, 2008

As adventure divas we may be faced with similar fears: we’re too old, we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough courage. These old scripts that we read from don’t serve us well. They become self-limiting beliefs, blocking the way to living our fullest lives. How can we possibly have great adventures when we are faced with such daunting challenges?

The power of two simple words — “what if?” — become wonderfully apparent when we look at the incredible journeys of other women who are just like us, and who have shaped inspiring adventures in spite of those challenges.

When I say “women just like us” we might not think of those who have eclipsed any sense of what our own “normal” might be. We might assume that people in positions of power, or lifestyles of privilege or status, are people to whom we could not possibly relate; and in doing so miss the lessons of kindred spirits whose paths started out very much like our own. One of those souls is author J.K. Rowling, one of the richest women in the world, and certainly one of the most renowned in our time.

Would you be surprised to learn that she came from a place of great poverty and suffering, endured domestic violence, and experienced spectacular failure? In spite of this, or perhaps fueled by it, she reinvented her life in inspiring ways, and it’s these experiences that shape the very moving commencement address that she gave to Harvard graduates on June 5th, 2008.

We don’t have to be 20-something to relate to Jo’s chat. Commencement is a wonderful world. It means “to begin”, and for many of us, entering this part of our journey feels like exactly that. In a way, when we enter “act two” in our lives — when our children have grown, when some of us might be retiring from lifelong careers, when we enter that sacred space that is finally “all about us” — we are graduating. And while we are graduating, really, from a lifetime of lessons, some of us may feel woefully ill-equipped to embrace this rich new time in our life.

The case for micro-adventures, and getting out of your own way.

April 22, 2015 in , , by Sue Braiden

I live with something called “Graves Disease.” It reared it’s ugly head the week Hurricane Katrina blew in back in 2005, a fitting harbinger for the health storm that was about to come along for the ride. When I get sick, instead of my immune system attacking the illness, it attacks my organs. There is no cure, and at the moment it’s kicking my butt.

While there’s no magic bullet to knock it down, there are certainly things I could be doing better to manage it. A lot of us underestimate the importance of getting enough rest, managing the stress in our lives effectively, and maintaining a healthy headspace. I’m finding as I get older, ignoring these 3 comes with a much greater price. There are days I am physically ill, others when I can barely hold up the weight of my own head, and more when the pain is crippling.

So how the heck do I expect to live the life of an Adventure Diva with that mess on my plate?

Quite well, not in spite of it, but -because- of it.

Making choices that make me happier, less stressed, help me sleep better and feel more connected are also the choices that will keep me well. Adventure has medicinal effects. It lowers stress, reducing the flow of cortisol that wreaks havoc on our system (high blood pressure, lower metabolism, depression, diabetes and osteoporosis). It releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, the “happy drugs” our body self-medicates with, reducing depression and improving memory. It gets us moving, connecting, and changing habits and behaviours that have been feeding into a cycle of at-risk health.

The kicker? You don’t have to be rich to do it, to get out there and start having those adventures.

So I’m on a mission.

I’m going to experiment boldly and broadly until I find the secret sauce: micro-adventures, epic adventures, volunteer adventures, pilgrimages, and more. I’m starting small, and bootstrapping my way up.

Click through to learn more about my journey with micro-adventures, and to share some of your own …

What are you afraid of? (Not much after watching 82-year-old nurse-turned-action-hero, Kay D’Arcy!)

April 20, 2015 in , , , , by Sue Braiden

What are you afraid of? Not much after watching 82-year-old nurse-turned-action-hero, Kay D’Arcy!

Ten years ago if you had asked me what I was afraid of, I would have told you: heights, a world chocolate shortage, and snakes.

Today? Getting old, getting sick, being alone, being irrelevant, peeing my pants and dying.

Aging has a funny way of shifting the lens. (And yes, dignity is often one of the first things to go).

When we understand what we are afraid of, we also understand what we need, and that is the key to asset building.

There are all kinds of clichés I could apply to this (things like “what we fear we give power”, and it would be true), but instead of waxing poetic, I’ve decided I’m going to take that litany of self-conjured horrors and turn it on it’s head. I’m going to turn it into the best damned fuel for a bucket list. Ever.

Isabel Allende, on aging, living with passion, and the wisdom of having fun while doing good.

March 1, 2015 in , by Sue Braiden

Isabel Allende, TED Talk, Vancouver 2014

I fell down a rabbit hole this morning, and it left me anxious to share this TED Talk given by 71-year-old Chilean author, Isabel Allende. There was astonishing synchronicity for me, from the quote she shared by another favourite author, Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one precious and wild life?”

to her invitations to embrace the wisdom of adopting an ageless attitude; of living in the moment; a hearkening to care deeply for others, fueled by her mentor, Olga Murray (another Adventure Diva who found her calling at age 60, rescuing more than 12,000 young girls from domestic bondage, changing both the culture and the laws, and ensuring an education for more than 4,000 children); and even a later revelation, as I went on a hunt to learn more about her, in a serendipitous trip to India (something I have been planning for myself).

As I dug deeper it simply left me overwhelmed. There is so much about this woman that I wanted to come back and share, but I didn’t know where to start. I worried about doing her justice, and finding a simple way to bring back such a complex berth of wisdom and “Aha! moments” that I thought I should simply put this aside.

But I’m learning that it’s best to be in the moment, while it’s fresh and full of life something that Isabel reiterates in her talk), so, I simply asked myself the question: “What do you want to say?”. Click through to learn more.

Boundless Adventures: busting the myth of limitations, baby!

February 12, 2015 in , , by Sue Braiden

Sue Austin goes deep-sea diving in her wheelchair!

Reason #107 why I frigging love my job: I get to research Adventure Divas who have been out there proving that our notion of limitations is pure B.S., AND fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole at the same time 😉 Tell me it’s not a great job when you get to be inspired by a woman who goes deep-sea diving in her wheelchair, another who does belly dancing in the same, and a quadruple amputee who lost all of her limbs to bacterial meningitis, and is kicking butt as a fashion model? Remind me again why I think I can’t have epic adventures? Yeah …

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