Women in business

Women in business: Meet Monique Farmer, founder of Women Want Adventure

Meet Monique Farmer, founder of Women Want Adventure

More women are reaping the psychotherapeutic benefits of being in the wilderness, thanks to an innovative business that encourages them to explore the outdoors.

Monique Farmer is a lifelong adventurer, an outdoor education and physical education teacher, and the CEO and founder of Women Want Adventure. She created Women Want Adventure about eight years ago, to offer planned day trips, overnight hikes, canoeing and yoga retreats, and overseas adventures.

Farmer’s mission is to create life-changing adventures for women that broaden their comfort zones and renew their belief in themselves and their ability to do challenging things. Her business also exists to remind us of the healing nature of the great outdoors.

Despite the well-documented benefits of exercise and getting outside for better physical and mental health, women face more barriers to immersing themselves in the wilderness than men. Narrow gender stereotypes and biases, lack of early encouragement, and fears of gender-based violence make it more difficult for women to feel liberated and empowered to explore the great outdoors.

For Farmer, these barriers were merely motivation to do even more adventuring as a young girl and woman.

“I’m not sure if it was about proving to men that I could kayak, camp or go on solo missions, or more about proving to myself that I could challenge myself and enjoy it. I don’t listen to any society-imposed limitations on women’s ‘smallness’; I never have or will,” she said.

Farmer’s love of the wilderness was encouraged early on by her parents who adventure together to this day. She was raised to believe that being able to climb mountains and hike alone was inherently feminine despite what broader societal norms dictate.

“I wholeheartedly just believe in women,” she said.

Despite the notion that men are typically more outdoorsy, Farmer believes this is likely due to an incorrect assumption that adventures require a specific type of rugged physical strength. In reality, some of the most challenging adventures are much more about mental strength and resilience than muscle mass.

Packing up your tent in the snow with frozen fingers, finishing an arduous hike when you’ve forgotten your trekking socks, and working in collaboration with your surroundings is often more important than physical abilities.

Meet Monique Farmer, founder of Women Want Adventure

Women in the wilderness: Dispelling the myth that adventure is inherently masculine

“It’s funny because there are actually more women adventuring than men,” said Farmer.

“Certainly, a lot has changed in women’s sports, adventure, and the promotion of these activities. We’ve been out there doing these things; it’s just more publicised now, which is fabulous.”

The most common barrier Farmer sees in her participants is believing in their own ability to pursue adventure. Many people come to her expressing a desire to hike or camp, but they don’t feel confident doing so alone. Some used to go trekking or camping with their partner or husband but don’t anymore and feel like it’s a thing of their past.

“More than anything, women need confidence to just start again,” she said.

“That is what I help women do every day.”

While Women Want Adventure helps participants with the logistics of their trips, the real support comes from empowering women to believe in their ability to do things they once believed were too hard or scary.

“Adventure sparks curiosity to feel more, see more, be more,” said Farmer.

“The irony is that you realise you need less, have enough, and are everything. I find adventure important because it helps me disconnect from a noisy world and reconnect with myself and nature, which is part of us.

“Women, like everyone, in my opinion, need to spend more time outside. A simple day walk, a camping weekend, or a paddle down the river with your kids in a canoe — this kind of simple, back-to-basics living is not hard to do; it’s grounding and normal.”

Getting lost to find yourself

Farmer helps women discover a new appreciation for things they take for granted, from a warm bed to readily available food. She said that even our commute is an opportunity to get out of our comfort zone, going straight from the office to the wilderness to camp or hike, then returning to work the next day.

“If the thought of that makes you feel a little nervous, good!” she said.

“That’s because of the surprise factor. You don’t really know what will happen, but trust me, it’s worth it.”

Farmer created Women Want Adventure to connect women with nature, their community, and life outside their comfort zone. Feeling uninspired by the nine-to-five lifestyle, she started the business from home as a side hustle to her teaching career.

“I aimed to transform my experience as an outdoor education teacher into a business I could shape and transform,” said Farmer.

She created her business model based on what other women in her life told her: that they craved the experience of adventure but didn’t have anyone to go with.

“That’s precisely why I created these women-only trips — I can help women find a tribe of other supportive, amazing women and show how fun it is to do so!”

Meet Monique Farmer, founder of Women Want Adventure

Reaping what you sow in nature and business

Farmer said that starting her business was similar to gardening and harvesting vegetables.

“You decide what you want to grow, get the seed, water it, look after it, change the soil, and enjoy it,” she said.

While the creation of Women Want Adventure happened organically, she acknowledges that entrepreneurship is always a journey with ups and downs. She describes herself as being in the business of people, which means figuring out the demand and being responsive, adaptable, and patient.

“I’ve found that you must build systems and processes to support the business as it grows,” she said.

“A strong CMS and ways to create lead generations are essential to be in dialogue with your clients and getting feedback. If you don’t know how the trip went or about your product, how can you improve it?

“There have been many challenges, of course. Fires, floods, a pandemic. These have all shut down operations completely from time to time.”

At one point, Farmer lost all income, and things looked bleak. But her grit and determination saw her through, knowing it would eventually pass. She also leaned on the support of her Women Want Adventure community during tough or uncertain times.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Farmer has many words of wisdom. She encourages longer-term plans with specific goals that you revisit daily to stay aligned with your purpose. She stresses the importance of adaptable systems that you can scale up or down and automate whatever you can.

Farmer also recommends surrounding yourself with smart, supportive, encouraging people and having fun whenever possible. Authentic passion and commitment to your business speak loudly to potential partners, investors, and customers.

Of course, you also need to work hard, find time for high-priority tasks and projects, and manage your finances and numbers. But, ultimately, Farmer said the most important step, whether climbing a mountain or building a business, is to start.

“Ignore the fluff and months of manifestation or brainstorming and get started. You may have to make changes along the way, but remaining inert until everything is perfect could mean you are waiting forever. All great journeys begin with a single step in the right direction,” she said.

Looking to the future, Farmer has aspirational goals to create even more opportunities for women to get out into nature, including Australian and international trips, day hikes, and meet-up groups to connect with like-minded people.

The past eight years in business have included many challenges but even more amazing highlights. Farmer said that most women turn up to their adventures alone, often having powerful lightbulb moments when they realise they have found their tribe.

One of the many memorable moments Farmer reflected on was when a client cried on her shoulder at the top of Mt Sonder on the Larapinta Trail.

“Her husband had died six months earlier, and this was a huge moment for her to come along and complete the trek. The whole group ended up in one giant hug as the sun was rising,” she said.

Through this and so many other stories, Women Want Adventure shows us how looking outside ourselves to the big, wide world can help us better understand our hearts and minds. By connecting to what is so much bigger than us, we can really find our centre and become more embodied, authentic, powerful versions of ourselves.

“If something is inside you that wants those lightbulb moments yourself, where you might be craving a bit more of you, then you have just to say ‘yes’ and get outdoors,” Farmer said.

Emma Lennon

Emma Lennon


Emma Lennon is a passionate writer, editor and community development professional. With over ten years’ experience in the disability, health and advocacy sectors, Emma is dedicated to creating work that highlights important social issues.