What the hell does a badass even mean? No, it’s not a daredevil. It’s not a “super cool” person. To me, a badass is a unique, strong, confident, kind, and passionate individual whose intelligence lies more in the ability to think differently than in the ability to think like the rest of the world.

By default, badass chicks are wayyyy more badass than men, duh.

(Please forgive me for using the word badass too many times).

Now let me set something straight before you go thinking I’m a full on feminist. I’m not. In fact I get pretty annoyed with the obsessive feminist movement. Guys and girls should, and can, be badasses and this blog is meant for anyone.

Now the other thing about badasses is that they don’t think they are badassess.

A badass knows that they are a badass by believing in themselves and in their passions, but doesn’t seek external approval of being a badass.

This isn’t to say a badass is full of themselves. Hell no, a badass is a modest, kind person always trying to lift others up.

(Honestly, I’m just ruining the word badass).

Hence, I never thought I was a badass until others began telling me so. (Okay, but considering how many times I just used the word badass kind of makes me not a badass).

From the second my family decided to sell everything we owned, start traveling full time, and ditch conformity, I’ve been a weirdo. 

I’m a weirdo for being different.

  • When most girls were going to homecoming I was trekking through the French Pyrenees.
French Pyrenees, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
French Pyrenees
  • When most girls would spend their summers going to concerts and parties, I was searching for new climbing routes to lead in Smith Rock, Squamish, and Maple Canyon.
Climbing at Smith Rock, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Post multi pitch at Smith Rock
  • When most girls were studying for finals, I was sitting in a 3rd world village of Bali surfing one of the world’s longest lefts.
Bali, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Medewi, Bali

FOMO haunted me for months when I first became a nomad at 14. For 3 years I was faced with challenges most girls my age rarely have to face—persistence, failure, adaptability.

3 years later I find myself with a whole world of knowledge I’ve gained—both literally and figuratively. Adventuring across the world taught me a lot. 

No matter what you’re trying to learn, you can’t do it on your own. You need a school and a teacher.

The world’s mountains and seas were my school. My badass mom was my teacher. 

My mom is not “normal”. She’s absolutely insane but she also a complete badass.

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My mom stared adversity in the face and chose the road traveled because she believed in something more. She was passionate about adventure and chose to take a risk and chase that dream with 5 kids in tow (including me).

So what if she has 5 kids? There are rocks that need to be climbed, seas to be surfed, trails to be mountain biked, and peaks to be hiked to.  

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She’s a strong, unique, brave, and passionate individual…AKA badass #dontbejealous 

Though the harsh elements of the ocean and the mountains brought me face to face with challenges, my mom was the one who taught me how to overcome these and ended up teaching me a whole lot about life.

I don’t want to make this sound like an ode to my adventure mama, but to be completely honest my mom is the ultimate badass. My mom taught me everything I know about how be a badass (though I’m still not sure I fit the description).

It may have taken seeing 25 countries; surfing the powerful waves of Ireland, Scotland, and Spain; and multi pitching exposed faces in Switzerland and also completely failing on easy routes in Smith Rock. 

It may have taken driving for 8 hours straight in a tiny ass car with 6 other people and setting up your tents in the dark at your destination because that’s the only way you can afford New Zealand. 

It may have taken sleeping on the floor in a dozen airports so you can catch your 4am flight that was super cheap. 

Sleeping in the Airport, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me

It may have taken living in tents and RVs for the last 3 years with no electricity, water, or wifi at your disposal.

things to consider before buying an RV

I may have been forced to try and communicate with people in France without speaking an ounce of French.

It may have taken lots of crushing failures.

It may have taken dozens of hikes up steep trails to 10,000 foot mountain peaks. 

Hiking 10,000 foot mountains, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Hiking 10,000 foot mountains

It may have taken enduring criticism and haters.

It may have been a complete test of if your dreams are worth the hardship. 

BUT by the end of it all, the hard parts and easy parts, the lessons I learned were not only 100x more valuable than a high school education, but thanks to my radical mom who brought me around the world, it made me (almost) a badass.

So if I were to take this 3 year education and lay it out in a simple way (if only it were this simple) these are the 10 lessons my lifestyle (and my mom) taught me on how to be a badass:

1. It’s okay to be different

Yeah really. I know that this is like the most overused quote of all time but it ain’t wrong.

At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve wanted to “fit in.” But by doing so, you prevent your deepest sense of self to shine through.

Everyone is different, but it’s a matter of embracing your weirdness and owning it that makes you a badass. 

Persistence, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Persistence is hustling though the hard days because you know that if you just keep working, the sun will shine upon you

2. Persistence

Persistence isn’t having a hard day and continuing to wake up and live that same life.

On a daily basis, I’m faced with tests to my persistence.

There are so many days I want to give up on my dreams, on my sports, on my lifestyle because the hard times nearly outweigh the epic times.

But every time the doubt arises, I think about why I’ve done each thing as long as I have.

Because I love these things. And when you love something, you should never stop fighting for those things.

As long as you truly love something, persistence will emerge. 

Strength and health, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Strength and health shows how much you love living your life and improves your ability to live well

3. Actual strength and health

Now while strength can imply mental toughness, I’m talking about the guns.

Knowing what you love is great, and if you have confidence and own your uniqueness that’s even more rad. But if physical strength or fitness is holding you back from achieving you personal state of badassery (is that a word), then something’s got to change.

For me, my passion lies in in outdoor adventure so physical strength is necessary for me to continue to challenge myself in those passions.

Ignoring your health and being lazy about your fitness is not cool. 

4. Being smart and thinking differently 

A badass does not need have superhuman intelligence, but a badass does need to have intelligence to figure shit out.

Badasses use their intelligence not to indulge in schooling to certify to others their level of intelligence, but to figure out solutions to their own problems in life.

Badasses value the capacity to think differently and find solutions that others wouldn’t think of.

With these unique problem solving skills, badasses are highly capable of achieving things they want because they apply a different approach to planning and finding solutions. 

5. Failure 

Failure sucks. I hate failing, but does anyone?  We live in a success and achievement oriented society where you are raised to believe that winning 1st place makes you better than everyone.

Warning, another cheesy line coming, but the truth is: We learn from our mistakes.

If you always flash climb that route or bouldering problem, you’re probably not challenging yourself on a harder route where you might fail. And if you’re not challenging yourself and testing your comfort zone, then you’re not going to be forced to try a heel hook and add a new skill to your repertoire of knowledge.

Confidence, modesty, and self worth, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Know who you are, love who you are, own who you are, then stop there. Don’t go further. Be a person who can value what’s around them.

6. Confidence, modesty, and self worth

There is a HUGE difference between being conceited and modest. A badass recognizes that even though others often times confuse the two.

Badasses also know that you can’t have confidence without self worth.  And self worth comes from having passions that fulfill you.

Self worth roots from knowing what makes you happy and knowing that you don’t need praise from other people to make you happy. Once a badass finds self worth, they then recognize their flaws which keeps them modest, and their differences and strengths, which makes them confident.

Confidence is not simply knowing what makes you a great person, it’s knowing what makes you not as great of a person too

But remember, confidence isn’t treating others as if they are less amazing than you—that would make you conceited.

Confidence isn’t something that can be faked. The truth about someone’s confidence is as easy to see as the color of their eyes.

A confident person doesn’t hold themselves as if the are more or less than what they are worth.  By standing straight, shoulders pulled back, head high, you portray that you deserve to fill the absolute right amount of space in the world.

Passions, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Passions are your reason for everything.

7. Passions

Badasses have a reason. A reason to push themselves and endure.

Because when you have passion, nothing that stands in your way is going to stop you from trying to do that passion.

Passions create an enjoyment of life and is the single most important part of being a badass. One cannot become a badass without passion.

Independence and capability, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
Independence and capability: Being able to go conquer that mountain on your own

8. Independence + capability 

A badass can take care of themselves. They don’t have to rely on people to do things for them or make decisions for them.

That’s not to say they don’t count on people or trust other people. Badasses are simply capable of being self sufficient in many situations.

9. Entitled to nothing

Nothing drives a badass crazier then someone who acts like they deserve something. Like, DUDE, are you kidding me???

A badass knows that everyone has hard parts in their life and good parts in their life, and that no one deserves anything in life.

If you want something you gotta work for it and a badass knows this because a badass cannot become a badass without accepting that they are entitled to nothing. 

A badass works hard in every aspect of their life and is never lazy because of that. 


Kindness, How To Be a Badass: 10 Lessons Mom Taught Me
You are a badass, now share it with others

10. Kindness

A badass is a happy person, someone who has found their “why.” They know that happiness they’ve found feels complete and they want others to be able to feel that way.

Badasses are always trying to lift others up both in daily interactions with strangers and with close friends.

Badasses are so content in their own state of happiness, they have only kindness to give to the world. They use kindness so others can feel the same level of happiness and discover their own inner badass.

None of us ever truly masters all these elements—we all have places where we struggle— but I do think that the search for these element will make you a more stoked, radical, and happy human being.

While these differences may define you as a weirdo, they’ll also make you a badass.

I want to inspire other girls that it’s okay be different. It’s okay to not fit the mold. It’s okay to be weird because even though others may judge you, you will be a much happier person.

Because of this, my (badass) mom and I decided to create a film series:

Raising Badass Girls,

To inspire women to raise—or even simply to be—strong, confident, tough, capable girls who follow their passions, embrace their uniqueness, and aren’t afraid to challenge themselves.

The 1st video of the series is called Raising Badass Girls: Adventure Is A State Of Mind because becoming a badass all starts with mindset.

Adventure is a State of Mind is about embracing challenge in order to live your life got the fullest. It’s about how even if you’ve been somewhere a dozen times, you can always continue to grow as a person as long you continue to seek adventure. It’s all about having a mindset that seeks challenge. 

Head over to our YouTube to watch the first video of the series: Adventure Is A State of Mind

PS I sincerely apologize overusing the word badass

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How to be a badass: 10 lessons my mom taught me