The idea of a solo adventure can be daunting for the uninitiated. It’s a bit like riding a scary rollercoaster for the very first time but the thrill of that ride can be a driving force for experienced travelers. This holds true for Adventurist Monica Morell, who embraces traveling and exploring the outdoors with compassion, excitement and an understanding of Mother Nature. Whether globetrotting alone or with friends, she’s ready to conquer her world — and it’s a great world to be in.
Morell currently works for Red Bull of North America while Venice Beach, California serves as her home base. “I like living [in Venice],” she says. “It’s wild and attractive. There are so many places to discover, people to meet and foods to try, and I don’t need to jump on a plane to find these gems. No matter how much of L.A. you try to see, you will never discover it all — every time you turn down an alley, the alley seems to change behind you almost immediately. [It’s a city of] revolving doors. She keeps me guessing.”
As a veteran explorer, Morell has racked up travel miles across the U.S. and internationally with her visits to Puerto Rico, Brazil, Austria, Germany, France, Italy and the Bahamas. As a kid, Morell was a troubling-making tomboy and adventure seeker who took her first trip at age 9 and her first solo trip at age 22. She now has a passion for the ocean, sailing and bettering the planet, and is inspired by accomplished nature lovers like Sailor Liz Clark, Marine Biologist Sylvia Earle, TOMS Shoe Founder Blake Mycoskie and Actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Morell’s passion for the outdoors stems from being one with nature. “It allows me to escape my reality, even for just a moment and focus on the world at a larger picture,” she explains. “Camping specifically forces you to be one with Mother Nature, and you are always at her mercy. It is humbling, gratifying and scary all at the same time.”
Morell’s latest solo camping trip was at a California location that she chooses not to disclose. “I am at the age now where I just want out of everything,” she says. “I want out of the corporate world, I want out of the petty gossip among friends, and I want out of the everyday [social] distractions. I could have invited some people [on this trip] but then I would have had to coordinate with them on food, what time to leave, etc. and, honestly, I just did not want to deal with other people.” While relishing her much-needed time alone, Morell became more empowered. “I felt refreshed, alive, vulnerable, brave and happy. I didn’t even feel like I was in California. I was alone on a glass beach with the most beautiful sunlight. I wrote three stories that weekend and I know I wouldn’t have been able to write that had I not left home.”
Morell’s adventures have led to some helpful insights for everyday living. “Stop worrying about what other people think,” she advises. “Even as adults, we’re scared of what others will think. We retract back to elementary school when the bully would tease us in between classes but why? Who the fuck cares about what some bro is thinking about? People need to let go of these childhood memories and just start living.” Morell learned a major life lesson while stepping outside her comfort zone — “[I now know that] people are nice, the darkness is welcoming and the world is majestic,” she says. “If you’re always comfortable then you are complacent and our generation is complacent. Get out, do something, create positive impact, find yourself [and] live.”
Of all of the international locales that Morell has experienced, her most favorite is France. “One of my most beautiful moments ever was in Austria but my favorite place was France,” she notes. “France was the pinnacle. This was the next place after New York City that I’ve always loved from a young age. I have always been drawn to France for some reason and I was able to visit France, St. Tropez, Cannes and Rome last August. I went with my best friend on a spur-of-the-moment trip [and] we had to figure everything out as we arrived. We posted on social media and asked friends if they knew anyone and anywhere that we could stay with or meet with while visiting — and it worked! Every city we visited, we had free lodging through a friend of a friend. It was like couch-surfing but better. Without her, I don’t think it would’ve been everything I hoped for and more. The city really is magical.”
Morell enjoys living to the fullest because she realizes that one day she may be a wife and mother, and her life will drastically change. She encourages all single women to take advantage of their current freedom. “I want every woman in the world to travel alone one day, to do something they were scared to do, or to just get out and explore because the ride does come to an end,” she says. “And when it does, I want everyone’s mind to be fully expanded and their approach to life to be altered — and it will be, for the better. That’s what traveling does. You become enlightened. Go find yourself, lady. I promise you will never regret your decision.”