On the question of courage

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s the ability to overcome it.”

I’ve heard this line in plenty of movies, so perhaps it’s a cliche. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

I’ve been thinking about courage, audacity and boldness recently, after meeting people who have made some pretty ballsy decisions about their lives.

When I was in Paris, I met one of my online ‘heroes’. Steve Kamb runs a site called Nerd Fitness as his real, paying job. He earned a degree in economics, worked in the corporate world for a while and, ultimately, decided to get off that treadmill.

Over time, he built a website and a bunch of followers. He now earns money from the e-books he sells, but everything else on the site is free and designed to help people achieve their fitness goals. (I was in the midst of one of his programs, before taking a hiatus to eat and drink my way around France for 3 weeks).

Steve’s now travelling round the world on an ‘epic quest’ – a solo journey with a bunch of tasks to tick off. For example, he just achieved his goal of gambling in the Monte Carlo Casino (successfully, too). But his lifestyle is only possible because he created a business that can be run from anywhere with a modem.

Here in a French town called La Charite sur Loire, we met a lovely Canadian couple who are ‘living the dream’. Len and Linda fell in love with France and decided to build a business here. They’ve lovingly restored two historic homes that they rent out. And when I say restore, I mean they peeled off every layer of cement render, renovated every oak beam, chose every piece of antique furniture: it was damn hard work. And they had to learn French along the way.

Now Len and Linda spend most of the year in a medieval French village, hanging out with the locals, meeting the people who stay in their properties (like us), playing tour guide to friends from home – and running a business (well, two actually, because they also import French wine). In fact, they’re also about to start a new, much bigger redevelopment project.

I’m inspired by people who have the courage to take risks like this – betting it all on black, so to speak. Steve could have quit his full-time job and never made a dollar out of the online business. Len and Linda took a punt that the place they loved to holiday in, would also be a place they loved to live in.

Courage comes in all forms: deciding to learn a new skill, making a change in our lives, trusting someone with our emotions, recovering from a setback – well, the list is endless.

Courage  is also contagious – we’d never do bold things if we hadn’t seen others make it work. I guess the key is to recognise and appreciate these acts of courage in everyday life. And most importantly, find inspiration in them.

Posted by Belinda Thomson

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  1. You’re never coming home, are you?

    • Funnily enough, as enamoured as I am of all things Francais, I am ready to come back: as Dorothy said, ‘there’s no place like home’. Plus the cats keep calling and telling me they miss me. 😉

  2. So great hanging out with you and Heath in Paris.

    And yeah, if Heath wants to open a wine bar, just tell me where it is and I’ll add it to my list of places to visit 🙂


    • Thanks Steve! You will get an invite to the grand opening – our VIP as it were. 🙂

    • Dee Jensen
    • September 13th, 2011

    even though my dream of running a B & B didn’t work out, I think,at least, I had the courage to ‘give it a go’.It actually took a lot of courage I guess, but in failing, I also learnt other things along the way. I also learnt that if I could survive that nightmare, I can survive most things that life throws at me!

  3. So is Heath working up the courage to stay on and open up his wine bar?

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