There’s this new movie coming out about bravery called The Finest Hours. And the folks at Disney know that I love telling stories, so they reached out to ask me to share a #sponsored (but honest) story of a time when I was brave. I instantly thought of the time I flew to Hong Kong a few years ago. I'd already traveled a lot in my short life, but always for photography work or with friends. Never alone to a place where I didn't know anyone or didn't know what to expect. I knew I wanted to go. I wanted to have this experience, push myself to be more independent, and stand outside my own comfort zone. But I was so nervous. What if something happened to me? What if I spent the whole time alone? What if it was all a waste of money? But I wanted to go. I remember it being 2am at my house when I forced myself to book my nonrefundable flights. After I clicked Confirm I felt a rush of confidence and bravery and then more nervousness. Excitement and fear. I was doing this. At that point I devoted myself to the opportunity. I started reaching out to friends of friends in Hong Kong. I learned a few phrases in Cantonese so I could ask for help from strangers and maybe communicate with taxi drivers. And when I landed, I was ready. My fear hadn’t gone away, but now it was the driving factor for making this the experience I wanted it to be. It was my fuel. And even when things went wrong (and plenty did), I’d take a breath and figure out a solution. The entire experience was incredible. I met people on the streets. I made friends. I created photos and told stories I was proud of. I learned how to navigate the subway system. I carried a paper map everywhere. At the end of my trip, I didn't want to leave. I felt so so independent. So satisfied by setting a goal, not letting fear control me, and having a great experience. Sometimes you just have to get up and go. This isn’t the story of a time when I was fearless, because that’s not what bravery is. This is the story of a time when I didn’t let fear control me, because I knew that the experience I wanted to have would be worth it. Now I want to hear about your finest hours, the moments you were brave. #TheFinestHours

A photo posted by Branden Harvey (@brandenharvey) on