Four Women of Substance, Courage, and Bravery | Escape Haven Retreat

Inspiration Station

Only you can change your life….but these stories of some inspirational women of history might help you too! Check out Jen’s favourite inspirational women of history that may spark a little wondrous change in your life…..

Women of substance!

It’s easy when life gets busy to have to dig deep to find that motivation to reach your goals right? I  wanted to share a little about what inspires me to keep reaching for mine on a daily basis. Over the years I’ve learned that stepping out of my comfort zone is a constant commitment. It means taking risks and sometimes fighting adversity, old beliefs and even personal limitations to move towards the greatness that I believe lies inside. I know that every woman reading this has the same potential for greatness, power and incredible potential to achieve their dreams too. Our commitment to these goals are often tested when the road gets a little bit tough and it’s easy to give up and put our dreams and aspirations to the side. I should know, I did this with my dream of starting a Bali surf and yoga retreat Escape Haven, when I put the ‘plan’ in the desk drawer for a further 3 years before I gathered the guts to go for it!

So what do I do when things feel a little overwhelming? I seek inspiration from other women who have been on their journey, looked adversity in the face, perservered and smashed those road blocks.

In dedication to four of my favourites, here they are.

Four Women Of Substance, Courage And Bravery

  1. Annie Smith Peck
    From 1850 to 1935 Annie Smith Peck was what could only be described as a woman of substance. She climbed mountains like a total lady boss and wrote several books encouraging other women to explore and travel with the same complete disregard to the annoyingly restrictive gender expectations of the era (these included wearing pants!) In 1908 Annie became famous for being the first person to scale Peru’s highest peak, Mount Huascaran. It was a feat many men had failed to achieve before her and garnered her international acclaim which she used to further her opinions on women’s rights. I am inspired by her pioneering attitude and her passionate pursuit for following her dreams.
  2. Nellie Bly
    In the olden days, people used to believe that it was impossible to travel around the world in less than 80 days. But this seemed a little negative to Nellie Bly. At the time she was an investigative journalist, industrialist and charity worker who had reputation for her gutsy writing style. She had gained fame while writing for the New York World newspaper by going undercover as a patient in a sanitarium! She did it to expose the poor standard of mental health care that women of the time were receiving and her story brought about widespread change and massive funding increases to the mental health sector. A year later she decided with just two days notice to jump on a steamship with only the dress she was wearing and proceed to travel around the world in only 72 days. She wrote about her adventure along the way and proved everybody wrong. Again! I love Nellie’s courage and her willingness to get uncomfortable in order to do what she believed in.
  3. Valentina Tereshkova
    At one point in her life, Valentina was a Russian textile worker and amateur skydiver. Then she heard about a job opportunity for female astronauts and decided to give it a go. There were 400 applicants but she outperformed them all in the interviews and became the first woman to fly in space in 1963. She was up there for three days and orbited the world 48 times – completely trouncing the combined records of every other American astronaut who had been up before her! While she was in space she suffered nausea and lots of physical pain but managed to go forth and complete important research, fly her rocket back to earth unharmed and score a victory for smart, determined women everywhere. Valentina is still considered a heroine of post-soviet Russia and in 2014 she carried the Olympic flag at the winter games. I think the resilience and skill she showed under tough conditions is nothing less than epic and I thank her for her service to womankind.
  4. Malala Yousafzai
    Malala was born in northwest Pakistan in 1997 in a place where the Taliban banned education for girls and women. She grew up in an amazing family who taught her that she had the right to learn as much as any young boy. Taking that to heart she started spreading the word to other young girls, and from the age of only 11 years old, she became known for her outspoken stance on these beliefs. She was brave enough to write blog posts and speak about women’s rights in an environment that discouraged any free speech for women, let alone young girls! Then tragically,  In 2012 she paid the price for her courage when a Taliban gunmen attempted to murder her by shooting her three times in the head! Incredibly she refused to give up and while it took time to recover, she went on to found a non-profit association, write a book and fiercely continue to campaign for equal rights to education. This young woman has since received multiple awards including the Nobel Peace prize and inspires me beyond explanation. Such a shining example of courage, willingness and bravery under fire.

Say Yes To The Things That Scare You.

I think what sets women apart is their passion for making a difference, an impact and I thrive on seeing others do the same. As the founder of an organisation which seeks to empower women, there’s nothing more motivating for me than seeing the success, courage and bravery of my fellow sisters. I love it when women say yes to the things that scare them, the things that give them butterflies.  

There are so many current examples of incredible women, doing amazing things too and I’ve listed some organisations/online communities around the world that you can seek inspiration from too, when you need it!

I guess my message is to just say yes. Please, keep leaning into the challenges that life throws your way and don’t be scared to shine like the beautiful diamonds that you are.

I feel incredibly grateful and lucky to see our gorgeous women stepping out of their comfort zones every month on our Bali health and wellness retreats. It’s the little things that matter most to me. Like when I see a woman who’s scared of the water try surfing for the first time, or a woman who’s been injured become willing to attempt a difficult yoga pose or those that are terrified of travelling solo, then do it. The sense of conquer that is written over their face, is priceless and I love more than anything hearing what they do next after their comfort zone has expanded. That’s the cool thing about pushing beyond your comfort, before you know it those things that seemed daring are now like piffff, I got this!

And I’m equally thrilled to hear about their ongoing successes after visiting our yoga and surf retreats here in Bali. Many of our beloved alumnae stay in touch and come back to Escape Haven year after year.

We are going to launch a series of powerful, inspiring stories of our previous Escape Haven Bali Yoga Retreat guests. I know their stories too will motivate, empower and inspire you, like these ones.

Further information sources for inspiration
Collective Hub
Business Chicks – Australia, US
The We Network
Girls in Business

Some awesome motivational online women with inspiring video series

Much love to you all,

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