Finding My North Star and Claiming my Life with Martha Beck


I have been searching for the way back to myself.

It was a giant shock to my system to come back to America in February 2014 and leave Thailand without my partner. It was what I had to do to take care of myself. I made the choice for me. I have often made a decision based on what is better for other people. I had to put myself first this time and I did.

During the divorce my lawyer told me not to work on We Said Go Travel. I was worried that the site would fall apart but I was more worried that I was completely falling apart. I was also had no idea what would happen next.

martha beckI want to share Martha Beck’s book, “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live.” She talks about fear and change and finding your passion. I wish I had this book during my divorce.

The last two years have been full of changes for me. People have called me brave but I have not felt brave. I kept making small decisions and big choices one at a time. Most of the time I did not feel courageous; I felt like a failure. But I kept going. Actually I was fairly certain I was a giant failure but I cried and asked for help and I kept going.

Beck says that “Dante’s journey took him as low as a human being could sink, through his worst fears and most bitter truths, down to the very center of the earth. And then, by continuing straight “downward” through the center and beyond, he was suddenly headed up. Before him he could see “the beautiful things that Heaven bears,” things like purpose, fulfillment, excitement, compassion, and delight. He was still tired and scared, but he wasn’t sleepwalking, and he wasn’t lost. There was still a long road ahead of him, but it was the right road. And so, Dante wrote, “we came forth, and once more saw the stars.” Once you get that far, you’re on your way to Paradise.”

I did not believe that things would ever get better but I was wrong. People lent me their hope for me when I did not have any for myself. Things have gotten so much better.

Finding Your Own North Star Martha BeckIn her book, Beck says that “fear is the raw material from which courage is manufactured.” Maybe I faced my fears and then I was given courage. I am not sure but I am glad I kept walking in the dark tunnels. I was lucky that many people climbed into the deep abyss to talk to me, keep me company and lend me their flashlights. The process of starting again has been painful and felt like being in a washing machine on a rollercoaster. I cannot say I have liked it but I can say I have worked very hard every day.

Beck says that “an artist’s real contribution isn’t what she paints, but the way she sees.” I have been committed to re-building We Said Go Travel and to starting the new We Said Go Travel Writing Award. I hope you will share your story and the way you see. I am going to channel the turtle which is Beck’s favorite animal:

Turtles have everything I think a writer needs. They have tough shells to deal with criticism; soft, sensitive insides; the need to stick their necks out if they want to move forward; and the slow-and-steady patience to keep slogging away, day after day. (Beck)

Remember what your dream is and keep going!

Here are a few more thoughts for inspiration from Beck’s book:

Refuse to abandon your essential self, the way a great captain refuses to abandon his ship. Double-check your navigational equipment, plot your course, lash the wheel in place, and ride out the storm. You may take on a little water and lose a rope here or there, but if you’re really headed toward your own North Star, you’ll make it to smooth sailing with all your important parts intact. (Beck)

The drowning preacher turns away rescuers in a rowboat, a motorboat, and a helicopter, telling them that he doesn’t need them, because he has absolute faith that God will save him. Then he drowns. When he gets to Heaven, he asks God, “Why didn’t you answer my prayers for help?” “I tried!” says God. “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat, and a helicopter!”

  1. There is more than enough wealth, love, and happiness to go around.
  2. I am succeeding because of my choices, not blind luck.
  3. If something goes wrong, I’ll figure out how to make it right.
  4. I created this situation once, and I can create it again—and again, and again …
  5. If I lost everything, lots of people would be willing to help me.
  6. I can deal with my life at this moment—and that’s all I’ll ever have to do.
  7. Nothing can take my destiny away from me.
  8. There’s much, much more good stuff where this came from.
  9. I will always have plenty.
  10. I have free access to infinite richness.

The journey of a thousand miles begins from beneath your feet. —LAO-TZU

My dream is to build my YouTube channel and I now have over 500 travel videos and over 650,000 views across all my video platforms! I cannot wait for 3/4 of a million views later this year! Get ready to CELEBRATE!

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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