Read This: Fierceness, Persistence, and Finding Joy in Brave-ish

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I've got SUCH an extraordinary read to recommend to you today! Brave-ish, by my dear friend Lisa Niver, is a memoir that will not only inspire you, but change how you approach life. 

 Fierceness, Persistence, and Finding Joy in Brave-ish

Niver is a master at being humble, an everywoman with fears and challenges, while taking her readers around the world in quite a powerful and magical way. Her drive and persistence is not only inspiring, but an honest glimpse into what it means to be human: to learn, take joy, and find the people, places, and purpose she needs to grow.

With her signature zest, wonder, and grace, Niver takes us on her journey of self-discovery, inspiration, and perseverance. Brave-ish is so much more than a is a guide to growing with both humility and curiosity, and shows us the power of inner strength, friendship, community, and drive. This is a beautiful memoir about finding self, about slowly moving past trauma, and about the immense influence that travel has to heal and inspire. This book? Pure magic.

Highly, highly recommended!

Lisa Niver. Photo Judith Gigliotti

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel.
On her award-nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times.
Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her bestselling memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Lisa, and ask her about her book, inspiration, and more. Here's what she had to say...

Please tell us about your new book, Brave-ish…
Thank you so much for inviting me to share about my memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

My book is about the 50 challenges I took on before I was 50 to reinvent myself after my divorce. One thing I noticed while I was doing the challenges and later writing about them was how much support I had from my friends and family.

Your support for me and my writing from when we first met after I started my website in 2010 has been crucial to me as a person, as well as my career in journalism. When you asked me to be the Geography Awareness Editor for Wandering Educators, I felt like a real writer on assignment. I was so happy to learn from you then, and am so grateful that we have been friends through so many different obstacles.

Lisa Niver with children in Mongolia. From  Fierceness, Persistence, and Finding Joy in Brave-ish

What inspired you to write this book?
I was not sure that I ever wanted to write this book. I felt called to share my story. I quit many times in all parts of this project. I quit nearly between each and every of the 50 challenges and every chapter. It was a struggle for me to try new things, to believe in myself, to write about when it was hard and embarrassing and I felt like a failure. I would write until I was fairly sure I was going to be sick and then lie on the floor for a while. 

What were the joys and challenges of writing your history...and sharing it?
Well, I think I covered the ugly part. The joy has been that my story resonates with people. I have found this with my videos on YouTube, where I nearly have two million views, as well as with my podcast. I like sharing stories and my travels. I loved teaching in the classroom and now I feel like my classroom has just gotten larger.

One of the things that most resonated with me in your book is the fierce commitment to keep moving forward, even if you were scared or uncomfortable. What kept you going?
One of the things that helped me was as I said earlier: friends and family! But also therapy, and definitely BOOKS! I read books about divorce and healing and reinvention and one of the best was David Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz's book, Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success.

“Suffering is real, but resilience is also real. It is an incredible and encouraging fact about human nature that, contrary to popular belief, after a period of emotional turmoil, most trauma survivors eventually recover and return to their lives. They bounce back….

Their stories betray their utter humanness—their stumbling and their grasping as they wrestle with the fundamental questions we all face: Who am I? What do I believe in? And most important, how should I live my life?”

I found it shocking when Feldman and Lee wrote: “the disorientation and groundlessness experienced by many people after trauma can ultimately be advantageous.” I wanted to be better. I felt at first like I lived in Crazytown and I wanted a new town. Their book helped me believe it might be possible.

Lisa Niver skydiving. From  Fierceness, Persistence, and Finding Joy in Brave-ish

What do you hope readers take away from your memoir?
I hope that at least one person realizes they are not alone. Many people feel scared and hopeless and overwhelmed. I felt like a failure when my marriage ended but my friend told me, “It would have been a failure for you to stay in that situation.” I knew in my heart she was right and I had to change my perspective. 

I hope people realize that change is possible. You just have to take small steps and that it is okay to start again. Going somewhere new, or taking a new job or leaving a relationship are just normal parts of life. Not everything will look like a perfect Instagram moment, but maybe it will be better. And remember what they said in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will be all right in the end, so if it is not all right it is not the end. The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.”

Lisa Niver at City Climb NYC. From Fierceness, Persistence, and Finding Joy in Brave-ish

What's up next for you?
I am very excited to return to the United Nations for GA 78. I have been twice before and it is always incredible to see nations joining together to help find pathways to a better future. I loved interviewing Ambassador Bryne Nason from Ireland. I am thinking about a project interviewing 50 ambassadors or maybe a project around the Olympics. I was part of the 1984 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Los Angeles. I am excited that the games are returning in 2028.

Where can people find your work?
Find me sharing stories at
We Said Go Travel
Jewish Journal 
Google News 

My videos:
My Podcast:
More interviews about BRAVE-ish: 
Social Media is all @LisaNiver

Lisa Niver diving Sidapan. From: Fierceness, Persistence, and Finding Joy in Brave-ish

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I am so grateful that we met. Thank you for all you do to create a supportive online community.

One of the questions I get the most when I speak at the Travel and Adventure Show is about how to get started. I am working on a series of articles on starting your book project. I have a three part series currently online about book promotion.

In Part One, read about treating your book launch like a campaign with consistent social media and a newsletter. In Part Two, focus on realistic goals, being a great guest and research research research. Part Three is about how your community matters.

Thank you so much and happy reading! Let me know what small steps you are taking to be more BRAVE!