MEET MONIQUE FARMER: HEART OF ‘WOMEN WANT ADVENTURE’
Few can say that they’ve hitchhiked on a million dollar yacht after trekking through New Zealand’s stunning Bay of Islands. Monique Farmer can. When she and a mate embarked on a two day hike one New Year’s Eve, uncharacteristically hot weather spoiled all of their food. Unfazed, the pair finished their hike, happening upon local spearfishermen with whom they shared a fresh seafood feast. Just one of many crazy trips she’s taken, Monique’s approach to adventure is simple: “just go with it – you’ll figure it out, it’ll be fun!”
Adventure is in the 28-year-old’s blood – the reason she founded Women Want Adventure (WWA), a company that runs hiking and kayaking trips for women. She has parents who, in their 60s, continue to take overnight kayaking trips, and she grew up on the Woronora River, next to Sydney’s beautiful Royal National Park. She explains, “I’ve had my fair share of struggles and I turn to nature as a release. I feel strongly about what nature can do for your wellbeing.” Her childhood was filled with an array of outdoor activities: camping, snow trips, four wheel driving and fishing. Her passion for the great outdoors led her to pursue PE teaching and outdoor education at Wollongong University. Upon completion, she was offered a graduate teaching job in Dubbo – one which she readily accepted despite warnings that she’d get bored.
It’s difficult to get bored when you’re teaching in prisons and on cattle farms in rural NSW. And it’s in Dubbo that the seed for Women Want Adventure was planted, born out of a “desire to live a fulfilling life where I can be out doing something I love and sharing that with other people.” An avid gardener, Monique had begun blogging about her involvement with the community vegetable garden. She began sharing personal adventures on the blog, and before she knew it, she’d sparked up interest from female readers keen to get outdoors themselves. She fondly remembers her first official Women Want Adventure trip in the Blue Mountains with her mum, aunty, friend, sister, and Mia – her first paying customer!
From there, a “crazy ripple effect” saw Women Want Adventure progress from a one-woman band to the close-knit community of leaders and participants it is today. Women seek WWA out for a variety of reasons – divorce, personal stagnation, to simply have fun – and they walk away with a sense of connectedness. Monique had observed that women behave differently when men aren’t around while she was a personal trainer at Curves (a women-only gym) during her University years: “there’s no men, there’s no judgement – they can just be fully who they are.” And it’s this atmosphere at Women Want Adventure that keeps members like Ruth, who’s recently completed her 18th trip, coming back for more. As Monique puts it, “women are stronger when they come together!”
While her enthusiasm for outdoor recreation is obvious, few are aware that Monique continues to teach alongside her role as CEO at Women Want Adventure. She works a couple of days a week teaching K-12 at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, across wards including mental health and oncology. And while she wholeheartedly loves both jobs, it’s not always easy. It can be tricky finding the time to do everything she’s busting to do. She’s missed out on friends’ engagements and weddings while away on work trips. As a result, she thoroughly appreciates her down time and the simple things in life: a cup of tea, a movie, and some Vinyasa Yoga.
Monique Farmer has achieved a lot so it’s no surprise that this go-getter has big goals for the future. She hopes to move to the South Coast, start a charity, and eventually lead outdoor trips for Mums n Bubs. And with such a zest for life, there’s no doubting that she can do it all.
Find out more about Women Want Adventure here: https://www.womenwantadventure.com.au/
Words by: Amy O’Toole