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Have fun. Do good.

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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Helping Jennifer Grow Gardens in Honour of My Mum’s 76th Birthday through our 27th Kiva Loan

June 18, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Seventh Kiva Entrepreneur - Jennifer in California - June 2016

Today would have been my mother’s 76th birthday. She was the original “Adventure Diva” and the inspiration behind the “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project. She loved to garden. When we celebrated her life on the day of her funeral, we gave the friends and family who joined us baskets of “Forget-Me-Not” seeds to plant in her honour. My mum was also an entrepreneur who ran her own business, and she loved to give back to her community. That’s why I knew that Jennifer was the right Kiva entrepreneur to invest in today with our twenty-seventh “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva sponsorship.

Our Twenty-fifth Kiva Diva: Sarjita in Pakistan (April 2016)

April 30, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Fifth Kiva Entrepreneur - Sarjita in Pakistan - April 2016

Sajida is our April “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This is a particularly special investment. We tend to fund female entrepreneurs who are working to lift themselves out of poverty in developing countries where it is very difficult to access traditional forms of funding. This time we had an opportunity to help a woman who has been helping ensure that many others will have that same opportunity. Sajida runs a school to try to change the fate of children from low-income families living in Pakistan’s urban slums. More than 41% of her 261 students are females, an unprecedented number in an area where being a woman can mean education is denied. We’re helping Sajida expand and equip her school to make it a more inclusive and comfortable environment. She hopes to create a nurturing atmosphere to encourage even more students to attend.

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.

Our Twenty-third Kiva Diva: Natividad in Bolivia (February 2016)

February 29, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Our Twenty-Third Kiva Entrepreneur - Navtividad in Bolivia - February 2016

Natividad is our February “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This 63-year-old widow and mother of 4 children lives in La Paz, Bolivia, and is rebooting her life after cataract surgery. She lives near a school and wants to open an internet centre at her house to make it available, and we’re helping her make it happen! Natividad still needs help help closing the gap …

Our Twenty-second Kiva Diva: Edith Beatriz in Bolivia (January 2016)

January 18, 2016 in by Sue Braiden

Edith Beatriz is our January “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” Kiva entrepreneur. This 60-year-old retired teacher from Tarija, Bolivia has a dream, and we’re helping her make it happen! Ever since she was very young she has wanted to have her own macrame weaving shop. She has the training, but the equipment is very expensive. We want to help put it within reach. Edith still needs help help closing the gap …

Stephanie Zito is Wandering for Good, and ready to teach you how to do it too, on a budget! (…and did I mention she’ll teach you for free?)

April 21, 2015 in , , , by Sue Braiden

Stephanie Zito, Wandering for Good

The “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project has a mini mission statement — “Have fun. Do good.” — so you can imagine how fast I clicked the link to Stephanie Zito’s web site when I saw her own motto resonated with our’s. After all, an Adventure Diva can never have too many allies!

Stephanie is a humanitarian globetrotter who lives by her personal motto: “See the world. Change the world. Have fun doing it.”

Her expertise in all things travel comes from more than 20 years working on the road across 120 countries and all seven continents.

Stephanie is also the founder of the #give10 project, the author of “Upgrade Unlocked: The Unconventional Guide to Luxury Travel on a Budget” and the resident travel expert for the Travel Hacking Cartel. When she isn’t collecting points and miles, Stephanie consults for international humanitarian organizations as a strategic communications advisor. She also manages operations for Color Cloud Hammocks—a social business she co-founded while living in Cambodia.

Click through to learn more about how can register to participate in the live sessions of her “Make Your Dream Trip a Reality” course, free of charge.

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.

Adventure U: Taking back September.

September 4, 2014 in , by Sue Braiden

Bouquet of Pencils

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

If ever a quote summed up the infernal pull on the heartstrings I feel each September, it’s that one. Tom Hanks said it to Meg Ryan in the movie “You’ve Got Mail”.

It perfectly encapsulates that longing to return to the hallowed halls of some school, nearly any school, to saturate myself with learning once again.

My daughter has just returned for her final year at college, and I always feel so envious when she comes home with armfuls of books and school supplies, like I’m missing out on some long lost rite of passage.

I got to thinking about this and realized that this adventure we’re all on together — the quest to create adventures — is ripe with that “back to school” magic, is it not? Learning to create epic moments on a shoestring budget; giving ourselves homework assignments to figure out what our heart desires, what assets we have to meet each with, and what we still require; learning to explore safely; learning to trust ourselves; they’re all just a monumentally more personal (and seriously cool) versions of hitting the books once again.

This “aha!” moment lead to another …

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could expand this little digital kitchen table we’re all putting our elbows on to include a space where we can capture what we’re learning along the way and share it in small, simple, meaningful ways with each other? — sort of an “Adventure U” where we can each contribute what we know and continue to learn about the art of crafting great adventures?

That is, after all, the spirit of the Estrogen Army project, so cultivating a slightly more structured learning environment in addition to our usual playgrounds might just amplify what we’re capable of!

When the idea first struck me I dove into finding simple tools to begin making this real. I found the perfect kit, and set out to integrate it, only to find out it no longer plays nicely in our particular backyard.

I am undaunted. 😉

In the days ahead I’ll be working toward the goal of “taking back September” and finding creative ways for us to collaborate on even more estrogen-charged adventures!

 

What kinds of things might -you- teach sister adventure divas?

You might not realize it just yet, but there is something valuable and unique that you have experienced or know that will be very empowering to others!

For some of us this revelation might not come until we’ve been poking through things a bit here. For others, we might already have an idea about something that could be a really great springboard to help other women have safe, life-altering, epic adventures.

I’ve opened a conversation at our kitchen table where we can begin brainstorming a bit. This will help us understand the kinds of tools we might need to make sharing our knowledge easy and fun.

Why not pop in for a bit? Even if you’re not sure what you might share yet, just putting your elbows on the table might inspire a thinking infection!

Our Third Kiva Diva: Nomagugu in Zimbabwe (June 2014)

June 17, 2014 in by Sue Braiden

This month we are investing in “Nomagugu”. She is a pleasure to sponsor as our June Kiva entrepreneur. While she has a hard road ahead of her, she gives back so very much to her community.

Nomagugu is a 35 year old widow with 3 children in Zimbabwe. She not only runs a grocery store (which our investment is helping to restock), but also makes time to volunteer as a Learning Guide, teaching students life skills, and as a behavior change facilitator at the local clinic.

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