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 Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. 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 times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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