Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

The Magic of Self Confidence

“We do not need magic to transform our world.  We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling

I believe that when considering my authenticity, acceptance is key.  In order to honestly accept myself as I am, I feel the need to cultivate my connection with my inner self.  Cultivate means working on it.  Yes, this may take a little work.  This means digging deeper, looking at myself and asking the difficult questions.  And then, looking at the answers.  This is more than self-discovery.  This is self-care.

I might start with a simple question. . .

Who am I?

Who am I, really?  This is a pretty deep question.  I am in touch with who I really am.  It actually took  a lot of work to “find myself.”  I had to separate from that shell of a person that I had been trying so hard to become.  I was trying for so long to fit in that mold.  To live up to the expectations that I (and others who influenced me) set.  I had to decide and accept that I am not just okay with who I have become, but I am happy with who I am.

I finally accepted that the people I care about love me just the way I am.  My husband, who is a pretty good judge of character, fell in love with and married me.  Me.  Just the way I was when I was a teenager.  He loved me and was attracted to me when we got engaged, got married, had children, and through everything that has happened since.  If he likes me, I must not be that bad the way I am.

“I aim to meet myself with loving acceptance.  I aim to strengthen the voice of my inner sweetheart.” – Marianne Elliott

I realized that I was worth loving.  I liked myself just fine.  If I project who I am on the inside to everyone I know and show them the real me, the actual me, not who I wish to be, then I will be my authentic self.  I didn’t give up on striving to be a better person.  Don’t get me wrong.  But I did stop trying so hard to “measure up” and be something that I wasn’t already naturally.

It was easy to accept that my kids love me unconditionally and they have no pre-conceived notions of what I wanted to be or who I set out to be.  My children are unaware of my failed attempts at a career, my lofty goals, and everything I hoped I would be by the time they grew up. They love me, truly love me, because I am their mom.  Just because.  Even when I want to change something like my hair style or lose weight, they hem and haw – they want me to stay the same – always. I can relate to that.  I had the same feelings for my mom.  Change is hard to accept.  My point is, that I realized that I was good enough for these amazing people.  I realized that God made me perfectly fine.  I realized that I was born this way.  I was born completely me. However you would like to put it – I am who I am.  And it’s not bad. In fact I think I’m pretty good.

“What I am is good enough, even for me.” From Out of the Dust, By Karen Hesse

Strengthening the voice of my inner sweetheart means to stop listening to my inner critic and actually listen to the inner sweetheart.  I need to give her more credit.  After all, she knows what she is talking about, too!  She is positive and helpful and most of all , loving.  What a sweetie!  She is soft and good-natured and means well.  She is getting stronger every day.  My inner sweetheart is a winner!

As Marianne Elliott says: “Ultimately we want to be able to call up our inner sweetheart anytime we do anything that requires vulnerability and courage, you can call upon your inner sweetheart when you need a kind word, and the encouragement to carry on.  Because, remember, being kind to yourself is at the heart of finding your own place of peace in the midst of chaos, conflict and even war.”

What does this have to do with self-confidence?  What does it have to do with magic?

Everything!

The key to having confidence in yourself is, in fact, loving yourself!  Listen to your inner sweetheart.  Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Love who you are right now. Go out there and shine brightly!

Look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m lookin’ good today! I am great!”

And here is the magical part. . .

Everyone else will agree with you.  You are great!

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Embrace Your Courage and Be a Traveler

This is about having the courage in life to be authentic and create sustainability.

What does it mean to have courage?  To be truly courageous?  How can I step out of my comfort zone and make a difference in my life?  Can I make a difference in the lives of others?  I want to take the next step. And the next one after that.  Are you ready to really break free and do something with your life?  I am!  How do we start?

Allow me to introduce you to some inspiring people who have shown how a little courage can transform not only their own life, but by sharing their stories and experiences touches the lives of countless others along the way.  At some point while reading this – click on this link – and consider helping to ensure that these stories get told.

http://mizmeliz.com

Here is What I Believe
In my heart of hearts I am fearless.  I am an adventuress.  I love to experience new things.  In my mind I believe I can do it.  I can do anything I set my sights on.  I am bold.  I am free.  Reality sets in.  I have to buy groceries.  I should do some laundry.  I am getting behind on my bills.  I need to exercise.  I digress.  We tend to slip into old habits and just do what we can to finish the week.  Who has time to make a difference?  Madonna.  She can do it.  She has time. She has resources.  Not me.
http://www.rayoflight.org/
Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation supports organizations around the world working to promote peace, equal rights and education for all.
But, there are normal people, like me, who do amazing things and manage to still get their laundry done.  There are courageous, adventurous people who make a difference in the lives of others and are facing the same daily challenges that I face,  some much more challenging than mine.  They inspire me.  (Madonna inspires me too, she always has!)
“Help Humaira build her school! Education is not a luxury ! It’s a basic human right” -Madonna said at the Sound of Change concert in London on Saturday, June 1, 2013.
I may never have the intrepid boldness to take a stand, drop everything, and leave the country to help others – but I can support those who do.
My friend (and fellow blogger) nomadic minimalist, Raam Dev, suggests that we all come into this world a tourist.  The challenge is to leave an explorer.  When my son’s friend from school announced that he was going on a trip around the world with his family junior year, I was amazed and intrigued. I can’t even imagine how a person would start planning a trip like that.  I could see myself and my family doing it, but I shake my head in disbelief because it would be so hard to execute such a plan.  And the expense.  The thought of it is overwhelming!  I can only imagine the wealth of life experience my family would gain if we could ever embark on such a journey.  Mark and Carrie Pullen had this pearl of wisdom for their children after broadening their horizons for nine months:
“You can live any life you choose.” ~ Carrie Pullen
http://pullensgortw.blogspot.com/
The Pullen Family Goes RTW

Meet Jody Temple White. Meet her and her courageous family. If you have ever wondered what an ordinary person can do to make a change in the world, here is your answer.  There is a documentary in the works about this bold family and their courageous travel adventure around the globe.  You can help get it seen and help to inspire others.  The Courage Vibe is a movement.  It is inspiration.  It is about transformation.  It is about having the courage in life to be authentic and create sustainability; for ourselves, for others, for the World.

“When a seed of inspiration strikes, believe it is possible. It may take years to grow and become real, but some form of it is meant for you.” ~Jody Temple White
http://thecouragevibe.com/#
The White Family is Committed to Living a Courageous Life

How can I find the meaning in my life?

Be a traveler. 

What is the difference between being a tourist and being a traveler?  Ask Jody, John, Riley and Allison White. They realized and lived the difference on their trip around the world when they were enriched as a family while helping others as they went.  I often say I am an adventuress.  I am an explorer.  For now on, I consider myself a traveler.  I am on a journey.  It is the journey of my life.  I am not just visiting.  I am taking an active role.  I am a traveler not a tourist.

For the White family being travelers means living simply in each place they visit, immersing themselves in the culture, and meeting and helping people and animals along the way.  This experience has brought them joy and enriched their relationships with each other and is shaping their lives in a way unimaginable for most families.

“Be brave and face your fears. ~ Allison White

How can we find joy in helping others?  Who can we help?

Keep it simple. Think about what is truly important to you. What gets your heart beating? Living simply means getting along with fewer complications. What are the top things you could not live without? Doesn’t everyone deserve to have these things? What can you do to help make that possible for others who are less fortunate than you?

Think about what you love doing and who you love being with. What better way to express your love than to share that joy with others? How lovely it would be to help someone else to experience that joy. What a beautiful gift it would be to care about someone else’s basic needs.

What are you good at?

Are you skilled at something that you might take for granted that someone else might benefit from learning? What do you want to learn about? Sharing knowledge and learning from our experiences is an invaluable step in life’s journey.

I hear my fears saying things to hold me back. . .  “How can I possibly help when I need help?  My family needs help.  My life is hard.  I have health challenges. I am in debt. I can barely make ends meet. My family is not that supportive. I care about the world and I want to make a difference, but I am struggling right now.”

Life is daunting at times. If you make a list of all the challenges you are facing it would be as long as the list of things you would do to change the world. Life is challenging. Getting along in this world is hard. It’s scary. That’s why it takes courage to tackle these issues. Facing our fears, dealing with the obstacles, and being willing to make a change despite the challenges is why it takes bravery and fortitude to embark on a journey like this. Giving of yourself in service to others is a sacrifice.

Why should you do it?

Going outside your comfort zone is not easy to do! It takes commitment. Breaking free and making a difference in your life involves spirit. If you strive for a better life, a better human condition, if you hope to make the world a better place for future generations, or if you just aren’t satisfied with the way things are then it is time for you to make a change. You might find that in helping others, you can help yourself. The very act of making a difference in the life of another person may be the very thing you need to make a positive impact in your own life.

Doing this takes faith. Faith in yourself and your abilities. It takes faith in humanity and in the human spirit. I am not just talking about big round the world trips and building schools and digging wells kind of commitments. Any change you are willing to take to make a positive difference in your life takes faith. Faith is the belief of the uncertain. It’s what you know in your heart.

Making a leap of faith to break your habits and face your fears takes hope. Hope for a better life. Hope for a positive outcome. Having a real desire in your heart to do something new and to make a difference is having hope. It’s the inspiration, the drive, the catalyst that will see you through. Never give up hope. Any little thing you do is important. Everything you do is valuable. Everything you do makes a difference.

Embracing the courage to make a change in your life takes love. If you start with love, the possibilities are endless. It starts with loving yourself. Believe in yourself. You can do this! Love grows and continues to grow forever. If you have love in your heart you can do anything.

Transforming your life takes perseverance. It may not happen overnight. If you were to take a trip around the world, putting your life on hold for a year, giving up all of life’s conveniences and comforts, it would take a tremendous amount of planning, time, money, and support. Any change takes time to happen.

“…courage as a muscle that you can begin exercising and slowly strengthen over time.” ~Marquita Herald

http://mizmeliz.com
My Family is Always Ready for an Adventure of the Heart!

Thank you Dona Donato, and the owners and founders of Giggling Gorilla Productions, Inc. GGP is a company dedicated to creating media and live events that support enhanced living, wildlife conservation, sustainability and a holistic way of life.  It is because of  their belief in the courage of families who can make a difference that this blog post and others like it are being written.  With their help, millions of people will be inspired and hopefully donate to the Living the Courage Vibe documentary project.

 

“I truly believe that we all have this kind of courage and bravery hiding somewhere inside us. And if you just take the time to look, you will find that you do too.” ~Chris Lemig

If you want to read more about my adventures, click here:  The Next Step

Be an explorer of life. Be a traveler on your journey. Don’t just observe the world around you like a tourist. Get active and engage yourself. Immerse yourself along the way. Life is an adventure!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

What would you hope to learn there?

Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Creative Sparks

AYWM 15: Journal Prompt – Bright Ideas: Cultivating and Capturing Good Ideas

by C. A. Kobu on April 9, 2012

In last week’s post, we talked about fearless living and looked into ways for working our courage muscles.

(See my response to the prompt here:  https://mizmeliz.com/2012/04/20/what-does-fear-look-like/ )

This week, on the other hand, is all about ideas and creative sparks.

The exciting theme of this module is “Bright Ideas: Cultivating and Capturing Good Ideas.”

As Michael Michalko says,  (I found this to be poetic and profound. . .)

“When you surround yourself with images of your intention—

who you want to become or what you want to create—

your awareness and passion grows.”

My awareness and passion grows. . . yes!  I recall my mantra . . .

“I commit my passion to my cause, knowing that passion is the power that creates new life, new joys, and new accomplishments for myself and others.”

And ideas are the marrow of creative intention.

At the same time, they are the wild horses of our minds.

They hate to be fenced in. So if you want to capture them and help them grow into beautiful projects, you have to use other methods.

This week, I got together with Dyana Valentine, who is a fiery instigator and idea midwife, and Tom Evans, who is known as the wizard of light-bulb moments. We discussed methods for sparking creativity, capturing ideas and turning the right ones into projects.

I’m Not Sorry

By Dyana Valentine

There is something I really want to say to you about the way that we could decide to move through the world.

We could decide that today we would not apologize for who we are.

We could decide that every time we say, “I’m sorry,” today, we say, “Wait, wait let me think about that. Am I really sorry? Or did I mean excuse me? Or did I mean I’m afraid?”

Let’s clarify what we mean by that.

And lets move through the world without apology where it’s not due.

What is your story of “I’m not sorry”? Write about it.

(See my response to this prompt here: https://mizmeliz.com/2012/04/23/i-am-fat-and-i-am-not-sorry/ )

Think about the creative ideas you’ve executed (or thought about executing) so far and those you are cultivating today. Which ideas are you not sorry about? Express your feelings by writing or painting about not being sorry about your ideas and sticking up for them.

The rest is me. . . Okay, here I go!

I feel the need to expand on the creativity portion of the prompt.  I wrote about not being sorry which was empowering and sustained me for awhile.  But to move forward with the A Year with Myself exercises, I wanted to discuss cultivating my creativity and following through on my ideas.

Here is one example that comes to mind of how I was not sorry for my idea and for sticking it through.  The way my husband and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary came about in a somewhat unusual process.  There were many options and we discussed it from time to time over the past year.  We talked about going on a trip, taking a romantic holiday, going out to dinner, taking the family out to dinner, hosting a dinner for a larger group at a restaurant, lots of things.  We finally made a decision that turned out to be a great idea, one that became a creative gift for me. 

My husband suggested that to cut costs we could have a small dinner party at home with our family and a few friends.  I think my eyes lit up because I could almost see my excitement reflect on his face.  To him a small dinner party is no big deal.  Friends, family and food.  Fantastic!  To me, there is no such thing as small, and “dinner party” has the word party in it, it’s implied.  I am having a party!  Yay!  I love parties!

I starting cooking up some creative ideas right away.  I bounced some thoughts around with my most creative cohorts.  My best friend, Chef Holly Markman (of http://hollyshomemade.com ) and I talked about what could be served and she agreed to help. My brother-in-law, who dabbles in decorating and is an event coordinator, asked me my all time favorite question. . . (cue the dramatic music!)

“What is your theme?” 

(Hee, hee – of course I have already thought about this!!) 

“I want either Parisian or Tuscany.”  I answered.

He was in.  We decided on “A Tuscany Dinner Party.”

The rest of the family offered their support and promised to help clean up and set up so we could have the sit down dinner in our back yard. I immediately started making the guest list, working out a menu, the whole routine.  I’ve got this down and I couldn’t be happier!  My all time favorite creative outlet is event design.  I’ll get an image in my mind of how I want it to look and feel and I don’t stop until I’m there. 

This dinner party idea had been a wild horse in my mind for a very long time.  I pictured our family and our closest friends all together, sitting outside in our backyard at a beautifully dressed table, under a canopy, aglow in candlelight, eating a delicious meal.  It was not what my husband was imagining when he uttered the words, “dinner party.”  Perhaps he just said, “dinner at home.” I heard dinner party because that was my heart’s desire.  And he was fine with it.  My design came to be with a lot of help from our loved ones and it was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary!  My celebration started the moment I started planning!  I may have spent too much time, money and effort on what was supposed to be simple and cost efficient, but. . . I am not sorry!

Christopher Taylor Lopez, photograhy
A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

What Does Fear Look Like?

I can’t put a face on fear.  I can’t picture it at all.

I can identify many images, thoughts and feelings with fear. . .

Dark spaces

Dusty corners

Frightening sounds

Glowing lights

Did you hear that?

Shadowy figures

Whispers

That feeling that someone is watching me

Eerie gusts of wind

A cold chill

A bad taste in my mouth

A sense that something bad is about to happen

Those days when everything goes wrong

Waiting for test results

Getting a phone call late at night

The cats are acting weird again

Getting chills down my spine

Getting that feeling in my gut

My knees are shaking

Feeling a tremor, is it the big one?

Getting called to the boss’ office

Hearing the words, “We need to talk.”

Hearing a sonic boom

Hearing sirens

Hearing thunder

Hearing random fireworks. . . or, is that a gun shot?

Watching the news

Feeling a lump

Thinking about death

Wondering, “What if?”

How do I react to fear?

I’m scared.  CLAIM IT

I’m worried.  ACKNOWLEDGE IT

I’m unsure.  FACE IT

What’s the worst that can happen?  QUESTION IT

Hold me!  SEEK REASSURANCE

Whatever happens, it is going to be okay.  ACCEPT IT

Just breathe!  PROCESS IT

I can do this.  BE CONFIDENT

I can get through this.  BE FAITHFUL

I am ready!  BE COURAGEOUS

I believe in myself.  BE GRATEFUL

It’s well-known that fear and gratitude cannot coexist.  “Gratitude requires us to stay in the now. Fear is living in the future. That’s why gratitude and fear cannot coexist. If you fill yourself with gratitude you will notice that your anxious thoughts and fear dissolve.”

Fearing the unknown (or uncomfortable) in a business venture or relationship can be dispelled by true grit and courage. When we are facing our deepest darkest fears and demons this feeling of doom can be lifted by thoughts of gratitude.  Count your blessing next time you start to get worried.  Fill your heart with gratitude and the fears will disappear.

"I'm on top of the world!"
A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

The Spirit of Adventure

This post is all about adventure! Particularly women as adventurers.

Adventure may mean different things to different people. But it’s a fact that it gives life zest and spark and is directly linked to creativity. Besides, you don’t have to be an adrenaline addict or thrill junkie to enjoy the spirit of adventure.

The theme is “Spirit of Adventure: How to Invite Adventure and Enjoy Serendipity.”

In the last AYWM post I mused about my vision for my life and my future. I now believe that I can do it if I can see it. I made a vision board and looked at photos of things that I want to make happen in my life. Now, it is time to set sail on my quest. I will discover my dreams. I will be an adventurer!

Setting Sail Towards the Horizon

Creative Project Coach, Sue Mitchell, discusses the relationship of adventure, serendipity and creativity and how being adventurous helps creative projects. She talks about building self-confidence and finding life’s meaning through being adventurous and how inviting more adventure into your life, awakens the adventurer in you.

It has been said that, “Adventure is the marrow of life.” I have been encouraged to work to achieve the essence of the vision I’ve created, and to feel free to shake off any rigidity about how that has to look. Apparently, adventure awaits me! Let’s see. . .

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

Dear Serendipity,

When it comes to designing my life, I have always left room for you, Serendipity. You have been so gracious and helpful in being just where I needed you when I needed you, even when I didn’t know it myself. Your ways are so subtle and delicate. Like the wind, you blow in and allow me to join you if I care to, never making me feel guilty, sometimes hardly noticeable, always there. You aren’t mysterious or obvious, although your ways are mysterious to me! You show up when the timing is right, and I always feel like you heard me calling out to you even when I had no voice. I would say that when things go your way, it is a happy accident. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing, but when one thing leads to another and everything falls into place, that is when my heart smiles because I know I did the right thing listening to you to begin with. You encourage me to take risks sometimes, I like that! You are always with me when I travel and venture out. You make the best things happen at parties and on vacations! It’s always unexpected and fun! When I started this year with writing my blog and devoting myself to the exercises in “A Year with Myself” I made no plan, no design, other than to discover. Thank you for being there to make it enjoyable, interesting and exciting! I look forward to seeing you present yourself throughout my journey this year. I will try to remain open to the possibilities and be on the look out for you around each corner!

Adventure is an exciting or very unusual experience, participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises:

the spirit of adventure.

Walking through an old cemetery with my mother became an adventure of imagination and inspired creativity.

At the beginning of 2012, I resolved to make experience my focus. I planned to be fully engaged in each moment and enjoy each experience that either came my way or that I created for myself and my family. I had no idea that the Spirit of Adventure would be along for the ride! Your involvement has helped me realize that every day can be an adventure if I want it to be! I have been meeting so many wonderful new people and I have had opportunities to do some pretty amazing things. Having you on my side is making life so much more interesting and hopeful. I am so happy and excited about the blogging, writing and photography and I love that you lend yourself to my creativity and joy. I appreciate having you with my on my journey and I am glad I can count on you to continue to make things exciting and fun while I plan the direction I will take throughout my life!

Dear Serendipity and Adventure,
You are cordially invited to join me as I strive to reach the following goals in my life. . .

I want to be a writer. I want to gain readership. I plan to start by writing and blogging, participating in the 52 week process of AYWM and then turn that experience into a book. I also want to write a novel and guest host on other blogs and magazines. My hope is to be inspired as I inspire others. I want to keep up the endorphins that I get when I write and let that happy feeling spread to my family and friends. Like a runner’s high – it can be contagious. So many people have already told me that they see a difference in me. I hope that it affects the people I love most in my life as much as my friendship affects people when we first meet. I want to help people and I want to improve my life as I go along. I want to be a successful published writer and enjoy the fruits of my success to finally put the money woes behind me and secure a future for my kids and for myself and my husband. I want to be able to freelance and write and work from home and for myself by the time my youngest son graduates from high school. I want to lay the groundwork now and build it for my future. I want to do what I am passionate about. I want to be myself and be true to my self and to my core values. I want to express myself creatively and make a difference in this world. I want to make a splash!

What I really want to achieve is to live a life doing what I am passionate about doing (writing) and making money doing it in order to eventually be able to work from home and be my own boss. Ways I can do this: start now. Write anything and everything. See everything as an opportunity. Write reviews of all of my experiences. Blog blog blog. Attend blogger conferences. Take writing classes. Meet other writers. Send writing examples to publishers. Self publish. Do poetry readings. Network and give my business card and the link to my blog to everyone I meet. I won’t be shy. I will seize the day. Ask friends for help. Get advice from other accomplished writers. Read more. Read magazines and articles. Follow more blogs. Publish old poems and writings. Copyright material. Write a business plan, vision and mission for a writing business. Write a story board for my novel. Write outlines for all of my ideas. Contact writers and artists that have inspired me by twitter, and email. Establish a focus on my style of writing. Practice writing. Get organized. Pray. Ask God to guide me.

I will work to develop the inner resources to follow through on my dream project.

My Dream Catcher will hold my memories and vision as I capture the resources I need to make them real.

When I was a little girl everything was an adventure. I lived in a world of adults. Some of my favorite adventures involved tagging along with my parents or my siblings and being given adult responsibilities. I have been thinking a lot lately of the groups that my mom was a part of. I was the mascot of the Women’s Air-force Mother’s Club. Being in women’s groups now online I realize the necessity of a support group and I love the positive ways that women support one another.

Besides tagging along with my parents, we also took lots of road trips and went camping. My parents were pretty adventurous, however subtle. My mom loved going for walks when we would camp at KOA’s and we often would come across a cemetery. I think walking through a cemetery with my mom was an adventure of imagination because we would make up stories of the people who were buried there.

There are few times I remember doing anything on my own or without my parents. I went on trips with my school that were fun. But the best times were those trips with my folks.

Once I learned to drive I became an explorer. If I took a wrong turn I never considered myself lost, just on an adventure. I have never had the feeling of being physically lost. I always knew I could either find my way home or end up going somewhere special. Some of the best experiences I have had have been stumbled upon.

In researching about adventure, I learned that there is a big difference between being an adventurer and being an adventuress.  I thought it would be fun to look at some literary examples of both.

Dating back to the beginning of Modern Times, women such as myself have dreamed of being adventurous.

The definition of Adventuress is: A woman who seeks social and financial advancement by unscrupulous means. A woman who seeks adventure, especially one who seeks success or money through daring exploits.

Just as in the book, THE ADVENTURESS by Coralie Stanton GROSSET & DUNLAP, 1907, Miriam Lemiere is described as, “This woman who spoke half a dozen languages with perfect ease, who painted, sculptured, wrote; who could hold her own with men and politicians; who knew the last word in everything; and who had she lived in fifteenth century would have ruled kingdoms and altered the destinies of nations, was nothing more or less than a moneylender – a society vampire.” “. . . There was always something great, something magnificent, about her wickedness.”

In another book by the same title written almost 100 years later,we have yet another example of an adventuress. In The Adventuress (2006)A Graphic Novel by Audrey Niffenegger, the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Time Traveler’s Wife, returns with another evocative “novel in pictures,” the much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s The Three Incestuous Sisters. The Adventuress follows the dreamlike journey of an alchemist’s daughter. After she is kidnapped by a lascivious baron, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. The story of how the two become lovers, and how their affair ends in tragedy and transcendence, is told through Niffenegger’s spare prose and haunting aquatint etchings. With a stunning and distinctive visual style reminiscent of the work of Edward Gorey, this gothic romance packs the emotional heft of the world’s great fairy tales.

A further search for ‘adventuress’ brought me to a page primarily about famous female pirates and adventuresses, or women of great adventure and courage.

There have been many women of the past who didn’t want to live within the confines of society’s idea of what a woman should be. Some of the ladies were willing to dress as men in order to go out into the world and fulfill their passions. Many of those women were pirates. They actually lived and were real, they were not fairy tale characters!

An adventuress was willing to go to any lengths to escape her bonds. An adventuress was willing to be unpopular.

Some went where no man had gone before. Others held the torch for women to follow. All faced risks and overcame them.

So let’s take a look at some of the greatest adventurers who have really made a splash and led the way to go where no one had gone before.

True inspiring stories of women who were true explorers and lived the spirit of adventure.

Nellie Bly
1864-1922
Journalist
(born May 5, 1864, Cochran’s Mills, Pa., U.S.—died Jan. 27, 1922, New York, N.Y.) U.S. newspaper writer. Bly started writing for The Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1885, producing feature articles on such subjects as divorce and slum life. After joining the New York World, she feigned insanity to get into an asylum and wrote an exposé that brought about needed reforms. Beginning in 1889, in an attempt to beat the fictional record in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, she circled the globe in about 72 days, 6 hours. The much-publicized trip made her by name a celebrated synonym for a female star reporter.

Susan Butcher
1954-2006
Athlete
Born Susan Howlet Butcher on December 26, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. Susan Butcher was raised in Cambridge and studied to become a veterinarian technician at Colorado State University. She eventually moved to Alaska to pursue her passion for dogsled racing and to train for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Susan Butcher competed in her first Iditarod in 1985, but was forced to withdraw early after two of her dogs were killed and six were injured in an accident involving a moose. She went on to win the grueling race in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990. In doing so, she became the second four-time winner and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Susan Butcher dominated the sport for over a decade, placing in the top five 12 times during her career. She has won several honors, including the National Women’s Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of The Year Award, the U.S. Victor Award and Female Athlete of the Year award.

In 2005, Susan Butcher was diagnosed with leukemia. She died on August 5, 2006 and is survived by her husband, attorney and fellow dog racer David Monson, and their two daughters, Tekla and Chisana.

Amelia Earhart
1897-1939
Pilot
At a Long Beach air show in 1920, Amelia Earhart took a plane ride that transformed her life. It was only 10 minutes, but when she landed she knew she had to learn to fly. Working at a variety of jobs, from photographer to truck driver, she earned enough money to take flying lessons from pioneer female aviator Anita “Neta” Snook. Earhart immersed herself in learning to fly. She read everything she could find on flying, and spent much of her time at the airfield. She cropped her hair short, in the style of other women aviators. Worried what the other, more experienced pilots might think of her, she even slept in her new leather jacket for three nights to give it a more “worn” look.

In the summer of 1921, Earhart purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane painted bright yellow. She nicknamed it “The Canary,” and set out to make a name for herself in aviation. On October 22, 1922, she flew her plane to 14,000 feet—the world altitude record for female pilots. On May 15, 1923, Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license. She had several notable flights and became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928, and the first person to have flown both oceans. In 1937, she mysteriously disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator.

Gertrude Ederle
1906-2003
Athlete
Ederle early became an avid swimmer. She was a leading exponent of the eight-beat crawl (eight kicks for each full arm stroke) and between 1921 and 1925 held 29 national and world amateur swimming records. In 1922 she broke seven records in a single afternoon at Brighton Beach, N.Y. At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris she was a member of the U.S. team that won a gold medal in the 4 100-metre freestyle relay. She also captured bronze medals in the 100-metre and 400-metre freestyle events.

In 1925 Ederle made an unsuccessful attempt to swim the English Channel, but the following year she returned to France to try again. In the face of widespread doubt that a woman could accomplish the feat, she set out from Cape Gris-Nez near Calais, France, on August 6 and swam the 35 miles (56 km) to Dover, Kent, Eng., in 14 hours 31 minutes, beating the men’s world record by 1 hour 59 minutes. Ederle was greeted on her return to New York City by a ticker-tape parade, and she toured for a time as a professional swimmer. A series of misfortunes, culminating in a serious back injury in 1933, ended her public career for a time, but in 1939 she appeared in Billy Rose’s Aquacade at the New York World’s Fair.

Ederle, whose hearing was permanently impaired while achieving her English Channel triumph, later became a swimming instructor for deaf children. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

Sally Ride
1951-
Educator, Astronaut, Physicist
Born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. Sally Ride made history in 1983 when she became the first American woman in space. She grew up in Los Angeles and went to Stanford University where she was a double major in physics and English. Ride received bachelor’s degrees in both subjects in 1973. She continued to study physics at the university, earning a master’s degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. in 1978.

That same year, Sally Ride beat out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) astronaut program. She went through the program’s rigorous training program and got her chance to go into space and the record books in 1983. On June 18, Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. As a mission specialist, she helped deploy satellites and worked other projects. She returned to Earth on June 24.

The next year, Sally Ride again served as a mission specialist on a space shuttle flight in October. She was scheduled to take a third trip, but it was cancelled after the tragic Challenger accident on January 28, 1986. After the accident, Ride served on the presidential commission that investigated the space shuttle explosion.

After NASA, Sally Ride became the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a professor of physics at the school in 1989. In 2001, she started her own company to create educational programs and products known as Sally Ride Science to help inspire girls and young women to pursue their interests in science and math. Ride serves as president and CEO.

For her contributions to her field and to society, Sally Ride has received many honors, including the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award. She has been inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Sacagawea
1788-1812
Interpreter
Daughter of a Shoshone chief, it is not known exactly when she was born. Some sources say 1788 while others say 1787 and 1786. Around the age of 12, Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, an enemy of the Shoshones. She was then sold to a French-Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau who made her one of his wives.

Sacagawea and her husband lived among the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians in the upper Missouri River area (present-day North Dakota). In November 1804, an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered the area. Often called the Corps of Discovery, the expedition planned to explore newly acquired western lands and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. The group built Fort Mandan, and elected to stay there for the winter. Lewis and Clark met Charbonneau and quickly hired him to serve as interpreter on their expedition. Even though she was pregnant with her first child, Sacagawea was chosen to accompany them on their mission. Lewis and Clark believed that her knowledge of the Shoshone language would help them later in their journey.

In February 1805, Sacagawea gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Despite traveling with a newborn child during the trek, Sacagawea proved to be helpful in many ways. She was skilled at finding edible plants. When a boat she was riding on capsized, she was able to save some of its cargo, including important documents and supplies. She also served as a symbol of peace – a group traveling with a woman and a child were treated with less suspicion than a group of men alone.

Sacagawea also made a miraculous discovery of her own during the trip west. When the corps encountered a group of Shoshone Indians, she soon realized that its leader was actually her brother Cameahwait. It was through her that the expedition was able to buy horses from the Shoshone to cross the Rocky Mountains. Despite this joyous family reunion, Sacagawea remained with the explorers for the trip west.

After reaching the Pacific coast in November 1805, Sacagawea was allowed to cast her vote along with the other members of the expedition for where they would build a fort to stay for the winter. They built Fort Clatsop near present-day Astoria, Oregon, and they remained there until March of the following year. Sacagawea, her husband, and her son remained with the expedition on the return trip east until they reached the Mandan villages.

So, what do I want to be? An explorer? An adventurer? An adventuress? Perhaps a mash-up of all of these examples!

I just want to go where the wind takes me!

The path begins when I start walking!