By Grace Koelma | Dare List Mama
We are the Dare List Family, one kid and two big kids-at-heart on a worldwide adventure that both exhilarates and scares the crap out of us daily. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We always knew we wanted to travel, but we never knew that our Pinterest-sized wanderlust was only the beginning of an incredible journey. Instead of having a bucket list of destinations WHERE we’d travel to, we wanted to create a list of HOW we would travel and let the journey itself define us.
Back in 2016, living in our home on the East Coast of Australia, we felt penned in by routine and obligation, living as safe, in-the-box, creatures of habit (with a huge mortgage hanging over our heads).
One day, we woke up and realised we had forgotten how to be brave. We couldn’t remember the last time we took a risk or tried something new. Watching our 14 month-old-son learn to walk, falling down multiple times a day with a huge smile on his face as he got back up was a stark reminder that we as adults had become afraid of failure. We’d wrapped ourselves in cotton wool and couldn’t shake the fragile feeling that one fall would break us. We needed to seek ways to brave, fail often and get used to the feeling so it wouldn’t feel so foreign.
Ariana Huffington said “failure is not the opposite of success. It’s part of success.”
So, we began a journey to bring brave back.
The way we tell it now, it sounds so planned, but at the time this was an organic, natural process. It still is, and it’s evolving as we evolve and grow as individuals and a family.
But back to 2016. We made a verbal list of things that challenged us, words that hung in the air between us and became so embedded in our daily conversations they were permanently adopt- ed into our consciousness. Ultimately we sought out those experiences to practice being brave again. But that step was just the beginning.
That verbal Dare List shaped our late-night-conversations and key decisions over the course of many months. In October 2016 we quit our jobs, handed over the keys to our home, sold most of our possessions and booked one-way plane tickets to start a global adventure that would pivot our lives. To the people around us it probably looked like a spontaneous decision, but it had been a long time coming.
So what is on our (growing) dare list?
Travel the world with a kid, live in a tiny home on wheels, investigate ourselves more deeply as intrinsically spiritual beings, worldschool Leo, run our own businesses, create content on YouTube, lose the attachment to possessions, be more sustainable in our eating and living practices, shed our attachment to living in one location, meet new people that expand our ideas about the world, that think differently than us, politically, religiously, culturally and ask lots and lots and lots of questions.
Tony Robbins said “the quality of your questions determines the quality of your life.” And so far, it seems like he’s on the money.
The verbal list is essentially a bunch of habits, goals, practices and values that we want to prioritise as we raise Leo. But at the heart of everything on our list is one characteristic that is the centre of all that we teach our son.
Being brave can be captured in an Instagram photo or dramatic video. And sometimes it does pop up that way as we document our travels (we still like getting dared to do crazy stuff). But we’ve learned being courageous and brave takes lots of forms, at home and overseas... being brave enough to do something the opposite way to your family, taking financial risks - spending money on travel instead of a house deposit, ignoring the haters but listening to real criticism without defence, being honest with yourself and others, being kind to others without expecting a favour in return, having hard conversations, telling someone you love them or telling some- one you need space.
Are we experts on being brave?
We never will be. But all we know is that since we made the Dare List, we’re living larger than we ever have. We’re living more sustainably, more consciously and for the first time in what feels like forever we’re really paying attention to our words, our actions and our mark on this beautiful planet. The outsides are matching the insides. And it’s amazing.
We definitely don’t always get it right, but we are taking action. And bravery + action makes you unstoppable.
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