Be A Honey Badger!

This post was last updated on 2024 April 21

If there’s one phrase I drop on the reg other than “I’m so excited!”, it’s: “be a honey badger!”.

A what?, you ask?

*Technically*, the honey badger is a weasel-like species from Africa – but I’m talking about the meme here. To fully appreciate the honey badger, you should really watch this video. But if you’re like me and refuse to watch most anything that isn’t a humorous and/or debaucherous tv show, let me sum it up for you in one sentence:

The honey badger doesn’t give a shit.

My good pal Urban Dictionary elaborates with further definitions:

  • One fearless motherf—er
  • Tenacious
  • Has such an insatiable desire that [he’s] willing to overcome great odds to satisfy it
  • Has disregard for others’ perceptions or beliefs

Honey badger
Photo credit: Peter Fong

Sure, on paper the honey badger looks like an asshole – but just think about it for a minute. How liberating would it be to fully and completely not care about what others think? To not let what someone might say keep you from doing what you want to do? To go after your dreams, no matter how big or scary or unrealistic they are?

We could all stand to be a little more like a honey badger, don’t you think?

Like when you’re scared to ask for time off so you can take that dream vacation to Paris or Maui, because you’re worried about what your boss will say or think of you.

Or are afraid to quit your job and give up a life of comfort and routine so that you can travel the world.

Or have a dream that seems so impossible to achieve that you stall and make excuses that just mask your fear and trepidation.

NYC sunset

I like to consider myself somewhat of a honey badger, but I’m definitely not all the way there. I still take offense the second someone says something that rubs me the wrong way, until I consciously remind myself not to let it bother me. And I sometimes let fear hold me back, like when I wuss out in Crossfit and don’t lift as heavy as I’m capable of. “You’re someone who doesn’t know her own strength”, my coach once said to me. I know it’s true, but dammit I’m terrified of toppling over with the barbell.

I’m still working on caring less about things that don’t matter, and pushing through The Fear so that I can continue to grow and improve myself. Every adventure I embark upon, every hike I tackle, every major change I make in my life has become easier with time – because they’ve made me a stronger, more confident person in the process.

everest base camp trek

To be clear, I’m not advocating *literal* honey badgering. Tearing off a cobra’s head and having absolutely zero regard for others is a tad extreme and would make you some sort of social deviant. But you can definitely have honey badger tendencies.

I look at the honey badger as one who doesn’t get hung up on frivolous things. He does what he wants without hesitation or fear. He’s determined, focused, and strong. A true badass, if you will.

So when I tell someone to “be a honey badger”, it’s my funny way of saying: Man up and DO IT. Stop worrying and start doing – and don’t be sorry about it.

You see where I’m going with this. If you want to travel, be a honey badger and DO IT.