Brave-ish in PRINT: Take 5 Magazine


Thank you TAKE 5 Magazine from Australia for writing about me and my memoir in this print story: “Fearless by 50!”

A two-page PRINT article on page 4-5 Issue 11, March 14, 2024.

Fearless by 50–My divorce was the catalyst for 50 life changing adventures

Slipping the letter into my husband‘s passport. I left it at the hotel reception desk. “I need space don’t call me.” it said. Then I caught the next flight out of Thailand. After another argument, I was hysterical. I thought traveling together might help fix us, but it wasn’t working and during my flight home, I wrote down everything I didn’t about our marriage.

Aged 47, I moved back in with my parents, into my childhood bedroom. Some days, I wasn’t sure how I get from breakfast to lunchtime. I felt like a failure and so lonely, my skin was crawling. I called my friend Richard for advice. “I’m filming a webseries for Orbitz l in Puerto Rico,” he offered. “How would you feel about co-hosting it?” A travel blogger myself, I accepted immediately. Maybe this was just what I needed…

Enkereri school children in Maasai Mara. Photo by Matt Payne
Enkereri school children in Maasai Mara. Photo by Matt Payne

During the packed shooting schedule, I got the opportunity to go scuba, diving and zip lining. It was strange doing activities without my husband, but I realized it made me feel strong. “I can’t go back to married life,” I told my mom and dad. “I want to keep traveling.” I filed for divorce and sold my engagement and wedding rings as well as the condo where we’d lived that I owned.

To fund my trip, I decided to write features on all the places I visited to sell along the way. Then, seeing some thing online, I had another flash of inspiration. My 50th birthday was coming up–I could try 50 new things before 50. It would make turning the milestone a huge celebration.

At lunch, I told my friend Ronit about it. “Start now,” she said. “Start what now?” I asked. “Let me help you order sushi,” she replied. This was a big deal for me. I had food allergies and was a picky eater. But I relented, and when I put the salmon sashimi she’d chosen into my mouth, I decided it wasn’t the worst thing I’d eaten.

My 50 new things had officially begun! I told a few people about my idea, and two weeks later my friend Zoey, who I’d worked with on a ship as a children’s entertainer, suggested a sail with her as a guest on another cruise. 

Lisa Niver working for Princess Cruises
Lisa Niver working for Princess Cruises

On board, I discovered a scarily high ropes course with a view of the ocean. This would be good for my list, I thought.

Terrified, I took deep breaths as I made my way across, almost giving up halfway. Then I screamed with excitement at the end. For my 49th birthday, I combined a series of trips to create an epic adventure. A month in the Caribbean, starting in Aruba, followed by Bonaire, Mexico, and Cuba. Finally, I was feeling brave-ish. 

While diving, we encountered a school of beautiful Caribbean reef squid. I also swam with bull sharks, went cave swimming and underground rafting —all firsts!!

The more friends and colleagues heard about my adventures, the more my list grew. 

I went salsa, dancing, made ceramics and skied with an Olympic champion. I even went mountain biking. After falling off a bike as a kid, I’d been terrified of riding again.

But I overcame my fear and as I sped downhill, it was like I was flying. I was so proud of myself.

Lisa Niver and Marcie Bradley Mountain Biking at Northstar
Lisa Niver and Marcie Bradley Mountain Biking at Northstar Specialized Bikes. (Marcie has the purple shirt and Lisa has the green one!)

And when I received an invitation for a trip to Shanghai, I jumped at the chance after arriving I felt like I belonged. On my own, I was confident, assured. 

Later, a trip in California saw me performance driving, whizzing faster with every lap like someone from The Fast and the Furious! Something I never would’ve done before. As I neared the end of my list, there was one thing I just had to include— an African Safari.

In Tanzania, my 100th Country, I got close enough to the elephants to take selfies. In Kenya, I took my hula hoop to a village. The children loved having a turn and even the warriors joined in! One laughed so hard he fell down! 

Then came my final challenge and my 50th birthday. I wanted to do something spectacular!

My entire life, I said I’d never jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but my limits had shifted. It was time to skydive.  On the way up, I started to tremble. “How can you be scared of this when you scuba with sharks?” he joked. 

Watch Lisa Niver on KTLA TV

As he pushed off the edge, we free fell away from the plane. Soaring through the air like a bird, the wind pulled my face back and the earth rushed up at me. Then, parachute deployed, we peacefully floated like clouds.

When I first left my husband, I was told I was brave. Now, I knew I was.

If I could jump out of a plane, I could overcome whatever came next. I turned my journey into a book, which was so cathartic. I want people to know it’s never too late to explore the world and create the life you dream of, whatever our age. Of course, there have been hard times. But there’s also been laughter and hope, and I know this journey I’m on is worth it. 

LEARN MORE in Lisa’s memoir, BRAVE-ish: One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.


Lisa Ellen Niver

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

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