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You are browsing the archive for epic adventures Archives - ᘡ Adventure Lab ᘠ ... rock paper estrogen.

On the objects of my affection, and the lessons of a captain and his bride.

January 29, 2015 in , by Sue Braiden

The Captain and His Bride

30 years ago I was a very young woman on a very big adventure. Traveling West through several provinces on business, I was treated to a night up in the mountains at the Banff Springs Hotel. My colleagues and I were dining at a table next to the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team, who had just the day before won the Stanley Cup. Their boisterous celebration was eclipsed by this amazing couple, gliding around the ballroom floor with their feet barely touching the ground. They were on a trip around the world, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and the way they looked at each other made you absolutely, positively believe in true (and lifelong) love.

We sent a bottle of champagne over to their table, and they came and joined us. He introduced himself as “The Captain,” and his wife was simply beaming as they shared stories from their incredible life together.

Their biggest adventure? Raising a family.

To this day their picture remains within reach on my desk. In front of them rests a mala, blessed by the Dalai Llama, and given to me by my friend, Pam, during a really hard time. Next to these treasures is a bird to remind me of my late mum. Every important thing in life is held in celebration here. ❤

Robyn Davidson’s 1700 mile solo camel trek across the Australian Outback

December 26, 2014 in by Sue Braiden

Robyn Davidson - Photograph by Rick Smolan. (From Alice To Ocean)

So here’s the cool and entirely unexpected by-product of launching a crowd-funding campaign and telling people about it: they come back with the most extraordinary natural allies along the way!

I first met Rick Smolan when he did the “Day in the Life” series some of you will remember. He’s one of the most humble and inarguably gifted photographers there is, and his ability as an alchemist turning those photos into storytelling gold is what has always attracted me to his work. After I posted a note about the “Adventures with the Estrogen Army” project, Rick tucked in a heads-up about a woman named Robyn Davidson who made 1700 mile solo camel trek across the Australian Outback back in 1977 when she was just 27 years old.

It’s the subject of a new movie called TRACKS from the Oscar winning team behind “The King’s Speech”. Rick was the photographer assigned by National Geographic to periodically document her journey, much to Robyn’s initial dismay, also chronicled in the movie which hit the theatres in Australia this past March, and in the U.S. in September.


I’m ordering both Robyn’s original book on this extraordinary adventure:

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

and Rick’s beautiful “inside look” at it as well:

Inside Tracks: Robyn Davidson’s Solo Journey Across the Outback

I can’t wait for them to arrive, and will be sharing some thoughts on each once I’ve had the pleasure of feasting on them. Hoping Robyn might except an invitation to connect for a short time here at the “Adventure Lab” kitchen table.

Thanks, Rick, for the heads-up on this incredible Adventure Diva, and for the beautiful work you’ve done in capturing her story and sharing it!

Here’s Rick’s own web site:


and a bit more about his incredible work on Wikipedia:


If you’ve read either or both of the books, and/or have seen the movie, why not put your elbows our digital kitchen table and share your own thoughts about them?

Free digs while you travel? “Couch Surf” your way around the world!

August 14, 2014 in by Sue Braiden


Couchsurfing is a global community of 9 million people in more than 120,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey.

Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.

If you’re looking for a fun way to add a little adventure to your life without the big cost you might want to turn web surfing into couch surfing.

A young man who used the Internet to book a cheap flight from Boston to Iceland for a “weekend trip” on a whim found himself desperate for a place to stay, and in turning back to the Internet wound up creating both a successful and highly rated alternative travel experience web site.

Casey Fenton ended up creating a web site that not only helped other travelers safely connect with free accommodations through a network of trusted host sites, but engage in educational exchanges that helped promote a sense of global cultural tolerance at a time when that is a real challenge.

While you’ve probably heard about “hostels” as an inexpensive way of launching a soul trek (I’ll be exploring that in another article soon), chances are you haven’t considered “exotic couches”. Today I’m going to share a bit about an interesting web site community called Couchsurfing and how it might be an inexpensive way to experience new cultures and people around the world.

What is “Couch Surfing”?

A close friend of mine really enjoyed his experiences “hostelling” across Ireland and the U.S., and said that he was considering “couch surfing”. When he told me that it was a form of alternative travel based on free accommodations in other peoples’ homes, sometimes literally on their couches, my first reaction was “you’ve got to be kidding!? That sounds dangerous!” Never one to simply leave a rabbit hole on the web unexplored, I decided to find out for myself what had made him consider this as an exciting new form of alternative travel. Here’s what I discovered …

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