A bit about  me, an Adventure Diva …

Sue Braiden at Phoenix Coyotes NHL Press Conference

Sue Braiden

As a computer columnist for Canada’s national radio network, I had a decade to share some of the neat ways that technology helped shape people’s lives.  Now I’m focusing that storytelling on women, and doing it in a way that embraces asset building and the art of having epic adventures on a shoestring budget.

I’ve spent 25 years serving as a community technology strategist, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you can’t beat a digital kitchen table for starting lively conversations that collapse the boundaries of geography, and amplify opportunities to celebrate innovation.

My focus has been on asset building in at-risk populations of women and children, developing programs that used gamification as an outreach tool for the latter.  (Yup, games don’t always rot their minds.  In fact, they can be one of the most powerful launchpads for asset building and learning, and that goes for big kids too!)

The road to becoming an Adventure Diva …

Earlier this year, publisher Kristan McLean said something that really resonated with me:

“If you want to disrupt an entire system, you have to think about the start of the value chain …”

Many of us place a disproportionate amount of value on “earning a living” rather than “having a life”.  Less than a third of our time is spent on the latter.  It’s a life out of balance.  There’s the start of the chain.

And this was (literally) my wake-up call:  on my 40th birthday I got a phone call from my parents, who sang happy birthday to me.  A few hours later, the phone rang again, but this time it was a family friend, urging me to come home straight away.  My dad had collapsed.  For ten years he had been caring for my mum while she battled breast cancer, and he had nearly worn himself into a grave beside her trying to lift her up.

Sue Braiden and her mum, Nancy Southern

I sat up nights holding my mother’s hand, trying to reconcile the woman I saw racked with pain, curled up in that bed, with the woman who only a few years before had been running her bathing suit top up a hotel flagpole — shouting “f@#$ cancer!” — determined to cheer up a friend who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer too.  I marveled that my mother had packed more living into her 62 short years on the planet than many people manage with far more.  She died with very few regrets.

While she had walked the streets of Tuscany and Pompeii, my mother knew that the art of great adventures was something so much more.  This was a woman who could transform an ordinary family vacation, fraught with car fires and all sorts of misadventure, into something extraordinary.  She had the ability to see great adventures in the little things, and she had an incredible knack for helping everyone around her conjure up that same sort of magic in their own lives, most especially with women who sometimes had a difficult time imagining that sort of adventure for themselves.

I was determined to receive the gift of her great lessons and to honour them by finding a way to live my own life more fully, and intentionally, as she had done.  Like my mum, I’ve been a wife, a mother, a career-woman and a community servant, and yet I’d never really found a way to honour myself.

You can read more about this journey here …


So, this is my adventure:

to set out on a quest, in “act two” of my life, in the company of other women, just like me, who dare to imagine adventures of their own.  For many of us it will be a thrilling experiment on a shoestring budget, and with a hunger for pushing past comfort zones, because that’s where the good stuff lies.

I’m starting simple, by setting a digital kitchen table and inviting other women to put their elbows on it with me, to begin sharing stories about the things that we’ve each done, what worked well, and how other women can have those kinds of adventures too.  I’m cultivating a blog where we can begin celebrating our successes in a way that helps other women find us and join in.

And now? We build our Adventure Lab! Carpe diem, baby!