I recently put out a call inviting readers to share stories of their own fearful adventures.

Now it’s time to pick a winner!

I loved every single moment of this competition. I was so touched by the honesty and candidness of the entries, and I didn’t want the competition to end. It got me thinking that maybe I should start an ongoing series of guest posts on my blog covering the same theme. Hmm.

To everyone who participated in the competition: thank you. I’m so sorry to leave you all hanging on the results. There were 73 entries in total and I read through them all. That’s about 73,000 words of personal stories on facing fears—a novel of material!

As for picking a winner, I’ve been torn between these…

Two beautiful stories

Confronting the Past: A Story of Two Families – by James Pham of Fly Icarus Fly

One day, after a series of random internet clickery, I started reading this story about a Vietnamese/American guy and his family’s history of fleeing the Vietnam (or American) war. As I’m reading, I’m thinking: This is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in a while. Then I reach the end of the piece and I see my book cover… Huh?! I was totally confused. I read on and saw that the piece was part of the Fearful Adventure competition. WOW! I was so blown away to discover that this engaging, emotional story had been written for the competition.

Fly Icarus Fly

“Even if I wanted to forget my childhood connection to this country, I can’t. It’s everywhere I turn, even now, almost 40 years later.

It’s in my childhood home that I drive past, strangers now living in it, squatters who had their pick of homes abandoned by the fortunate / desperate. I wonder whether it looks anything like the neat, cheerful home in my baby photos, filled with toys and books?

It’s in the missing tip of the right forefinger of the security guard who scans my parking pass, an all too common sign among men of a certain age who voluntarily amputated their trigger finger to avoid a soldier’s life.”

The Shadow of My Fear – by Steph from 20 Years Hence

Another standout piece was this heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring story about one woman’s long battle with depression and anxiety. I was struck by the level of courage required to produce this piece, first in pushing on through the experience and facing her fear over several years, and then in writing about it on her blog. I was pulled into her story immediately through her writing:

“I wish I could tell you about the day I woke up and realized that I was no longer in control of my own life. The writer in me wants to tell you that story in the same way you would encounter it in a novel, with me huddled in my bed as a clap of thunder rattled the windows, followed by a lightning bolt arcing through the sky—and me—as the realization struck that fear was now my mistress.

But life is so rarely like books; it lacks their efficiency and clarity, and that is not how I came to know that fear ruled me. No, my fear came at me like Carl Sandburg’s fog, on little cat feet, swiftly yet slyly, and by the time I realized it had me in its grasp, I was already fully caught.

Mindfulness – by fearfuladventurer.com

More notable entries:

The Final Frontier of Fear – Part 1 and Part 2 by Sarah of Sarah Somewhere

Sarah jumped out of a plane in order to write a new story for herself. Her skydiving video made me cry a little bit!

My Honest to God Fear by Brian of Wandering Sasquatch

I was touched by Brian’s honesty in confessing that what he fears most is being honest with himself—perhaps something that a lot of us can relate to.

Getting Off the Hamster Wheel by Sarah Steenland

This was the first entry in Sarah’s brand new blog, and what a delightful read it is! Sarah tells of her scary journey from hamster wheel to grandiose adventure through a series of quirky sketches.

The 50 Year Old Vagina and Other Baby Fears by Kim from A Brave Life

The title says it all. I was so thrilled to discover this irreverent and offbeat blog, written by an unexpectedly hilarious grief counsellor.

Fearful Adventures in Becoming Unlost by Therese from The Unlost

Therese invents an armless grey blob to depict Fear. Through her illustrations, she shows how life is about being comfortable in the company of fear, rather than trying to eradicate it.

This is just a small selection of the many great entries. For a full list of the entries, click here.

Ahhhh! I hate having to pick a single winner, but here goes…

The winner is…

The Shadow of My Fear by Steph from 20 Years Hence!

This piece is the winner because of the writing and the courage it took to tell the story. I know so many other people who have been/are in/may one day be in this situation. In being generous and courageous enough to tell her story, Steph will no doubt have an impact on anyone who takes the time to read about her journey. I urge you to check out her piece and share it with anyone else who might benefit from the read. Follow Steph on Twitter and Facebook.

A huge congrats to Steph, who has won a round-trip ticket to anywhere worth up to $1,000!

One more thing…

If you  entered the competition, you are entitled to receive a paperback copy of Love with a Chance of Drowning as well as a signed postcard from me. Please fill out this form so I can arrange to have those items delivered to you. Thanks for playing along!

Love with a Chance of Drowning

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33 Response Comments

  • Sarah Somewhere  July 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Woohoo!!! Thanks for such great inspiration Torre and CONGRATULATIONS STEPH!!! It was such a beautiful piece, I absolutely loved it (and love her), and am so chuffed for her 🙂 I loved reading all the entries, well done guys!!

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Thanks for playing along, Sarah. As I’ve told you many times, your vid was so great!

  • Cat of Sunshine and Siestas  July 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Fantastic stories – I’ve just plowed through the first third of yours, Torre (thanks to a flight delay and too much reading for a master’s in Spanish of stuff I didn’t love!). Travel and love are both both big leaps of faith, and those of us who have done both are quite fortunate!

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Thanks, Cat! Enjoy the ending. 🙂

  • Rhonda  July 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    What a great idea for a competition. I LOVED all of the entries I read and was completely floored by the winner. Thank you for allowing us to share in such fantastic stories.

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Me too. Thanks, Rhonda. x

  • Hannah  July 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I was blown away by Steph’s piece when I read it, and was keeping everything crossed that she would win. I am so happy that she did! It is truly well deserved, and her piece is a beautiful testament to her courage, and incredible writing skills. And congratulations to you too Torre on inspiring such a huge outpouring of truth. I really hope you do make a regular feature of this!

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Thanks, Hannah. I was so pleased with the results of this competition! Totally exceeded all expectations.

  • Mid-Life Cruising!  July 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Torre, although my post didn’t win I’m so glad that you had this contest! I haven’t had a chance to read all the entries, but the ones I read (including the winner) have been great! It’s nice to read about other’s fears and know that we’re not alone … we all fear something. If not, we’re not living!

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:03 am

      Loved your post too! There were so many good ones. It kills me to choose only one.

  • Helen  July 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Well done Steph! Great piece, you so deserve it!

    And thank you Torre for the opportunity. As someone who’s just started blogging in the last couple of months, it’s been a great opportunity for me to meet some people in the blogging world I may not have otherwise and I’ve kind of felt part of a little community!

    Happy times! 🙂

    • Monica  July 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Loved this idea! James’s entry was captivating with all that family history and those amazing photos. And Steph’s was equally gripping and incredibly well written, especially considering the topic. I wanted to enter something myself, but I was too chicken. Well done, everyone!

      • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:05 am

        Monica—you’ll have to submit to me for my guest post series. I will not let you off the hook!

  • Carmel  July 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I was almost in tears as I read Steph’s piece and I couldn’t be happier for her. It has been a joy reading everyone’s tales of fear and inspirational to read how they are conquering them. Thanks for hosting such a fun competition!

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

      My pleasure. And I agree with you on Steph’s piece. Very moving. Very human.

  • Charli | Wanderlusters  July 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    A deserving winner, it has been such a joy to get share in each fearful adventurer’s tale. I loved James’ contribution such a touching piece, and I’ve just read Steph’s. WOW. Thank you for encouraging me to be more fearless in my writing.

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Courage is contagious. 🙂

  • Jessica Rose  July 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for hosting such an inspiring contest Torre! Awesome to read all the entries. Congrats Steph!

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:07 am


  • Ansie  July 4, 2013 at 3:10 am

    What a great competition and a worthy winner – congrats to all! I didn’t enter, but the competition set of a mind- journey about my own fears. Thinking about it and comparing it to other people’s fears started a process of confrontation, which might lead to great things….
    Thanks Torre, for daring me to look in the mirror and see the real me.

    • Torre DeRoche  July 4, 2013 at 11:08 am

      That is GREAT news. I’m so happy to hear it, Ansie. Best of luck!

  • TammyOnTheMove  July 4, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Congrats Steph! Well deserved. An amazing story!!! xxx

  • Kathleen  July 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Congrats, Steph! I loved following along and reading all of the entries. It was such a fun, and challenging contest with so many amazing entries. I look forward to watching the guest post series take shape and follow Steph as she takes on India.

  • Franny  July 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Congrats to the winners and honorable mentions! This was a really inspiring contest!

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)  July 5, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Thank you to everyone who has left messages of support in the comments both here & at 20YH, and thank you to you, Torre, for hosting this competition and giving me the kick in the pants that I needed to finally write this post. Even without the big prize, I felt like I had already won (as cliché as that sounds!), so truly being selected from such an amazing field of entries and getting the chance for an epic adventure is just the icing on an already delicious piece of cake. When I first heard about the competition, I had toyed with many different fear ideas to write about, but after I started reading people’s entries (like Sarah’s!) I was inspired to really dig deep and go for broke… but I never expected it pay of like this!

  • Kara  July 5, 2013 at 11:31 am

    What beautiful stories (as people before me have already said) – thank you so much for sharing these with us and for hosting the competition in the first place! The guest post idea sounds great to me, I’d love to keep reading these.

  • Libby  July 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Congratz to all who submitted! Torre, great choice on the winner-Steph def put herself out there. Not easy to do. Looking forward to hearing where she chooses to use the ticket for!!! Cheers

  • Cindy  July 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Warm congratulations and well deserved! Thank you everyone for sharing your stories!

  • Anne M. Beggs  July 16, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Fantabulous idea to host such a contest-as a sufferer of clinical depression, it rings true in the most painful ways. And I must thank Copyblogger for sharing your interview and leading me to your book as well as these amazing stories. Fear really is the ‘little mind killer’ and causes more damage than people give it credit for.

  • Victor@Wildlife Tours Melbourne  January 2, 2014 at 1:33 am

    They are indeed beautiful stories and very touching. Thanks for sharing


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