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Travel Book Review: Brave-ish by Lisa Niver

A woman wearing a brown Ralph Lauren cardigan and a white turtleneck holds up her iPad, showing the cover of Brave-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents, and Feeling Fearless After Fifty by Lisa Niver.

Brave-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents, and Feeling Fearless After Fifty

Brave-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents, and Feeling Fearless After Fifty is the perfect page-turning present for the book-loving FST (Female Solo Traveler) on your list. Author Lisa Niver shares more than the story of her heartbreak and recovery from it; she shares adventures readers will want to add to their travel itinerary. After all, she’s gone bobsledding, tried hurling (a fierce Irish sport), shown Massai warriors how to hula hoop, and traveled to the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state (San Marino) – and those are only a few of the extraordinary travel stories she tells in Brave-ish. Niver has explored 102 countries (maybe more by the time I post this) and is an avid scuba diver. 

Her voice is that of a friend you haven’t spoken with for ages. She’s made the bad choices and ignored the signs that so many of us do – you know, the ones that, in hindsight, were so strong that they might as well have been flashing neon signs – and come out stronger with an inspiring story to tell. Niver’s book inspires more than emotional strength and perseverance; as a travelogue should, it will fill you with wanderlust. Thanks to Niver, I really want to go to San Marino, a place I’d never even heard of before reading her book. 

Brave-ish is also a great read for aspiring travel content creators like me. Niver takes Brave-ish readers from the We Said Go Travel blog that she started with her ex-husband to becoming a co-host on a travel web series, a travel writer with more than 2,000 articles published in dozens of magazines and receiving the sort of invites influencers dream of, like being an Oscar blogger for United Airlines. Despite her current success, Niver’s no stranger to the questions that haunt us creators, “When you make up your own career, how do you know if you’re really making progress or when it’s time to give up?”

Becoming brave wasn’t like flipping a switch for Niver. After doing brave things like ziplining and bobsledding, she had to talk herself into going down a waterslide on a cruise ship. “Children went on this. It was safe.” She manages to go down it, but in her nervous excitement, she doesn’t get the recording she had wanted and has to do it again, “But I lived, I smiled, and I was willing to go again.”

Here are a few quotes from Brave-ish that I’ll take with me wherever I go (and that you might want to go ahead and pack now):

  • “From now on, I decided, the only ‘F’ word I was going to use during travel was ‘flexible.’”
  • “No matter where you go, you bring yourself and your problems with you.”
  • “My ten male Mexican dive buddies taught me, “There are two rules of life. Rule #1: There are no rules. Rule #2: Do what makes you happy.”
  • “I’d already done so many new things, but every single time, I didn’t believe I could do it until I just did it. What was the harm in at least making the attempt?”

Brave-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents, and Feeling Fearless After Fifty | By Lisa Niver | Post Hill Press | 224 pp.

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