Where Fear and Adventure Meet: Monica Goes Show
When I thought of doing interviews, Los Angeles based Monica Ortega was the first person that came to mind. The Monica Goes Show has delighted, motivated and inspired me ever since I came across Episode 8 two years ago , while researching my own trip to The Narrows in Zion National Park. I found a positive role model who charged head first into her fears, while stumbling, shaking and laughing the entire time. So you can imagine my excitement when she took time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions!
The fear factor, this sometimes debilitating, often irrational barricade that stops you from enjoying or even trying new experiences has been a thorn in my side for a few years now. I am terrified of heights; I can barely get on a step ladder. Irrational. So of course my first question to Monica who proclaims "I am pretty much afraid of everything" was, what was the catalyst that spurred you on to try and conquer your fears, what is the bigger draw, an adventure or to conquer a certain fear. Or do they work in a symbiotic way? Monica explained that "In college I started working at the Double JJ Ranch and Resort as an entertainer to sing and act and got thrown into doing stunt shows, jumping off buildings, and riding a bull. I quickly learned that if there was an audience, I could find a way to push past my fear and do things anyway. As I got older, I got even MORE afraid of everything but I knew I didn't want my fears to hold me back and by doing the things I am afraid of, I found I ended up fully present in my life and feeling stronger and more confident in myself. The adventure is the draw for me. I don't think I ever 'conquer' a fear but I have learned they're not going to keep me from doing the things I love."
Speaking of fears, a lot of people are afraid of public speaking, get stage fright or even anxiety which prevents them from accomplishing even the simplest public tasks however Monica takes the stage quite often! Triple threat, singer, actor and dancer I wanted to know if she has always been passionate about the arts? And if she had a background. "Yes. My first love was musical theater. I actually graduated from Western Michigan University with an acting degree. I moved to Nashville to sing and write country music and ended up getting into commercials and film which brought me to LA. Now I just sing in cover bands and teach line dance for fun. I had been hosting live events on the side for years and when I finally stepped back to look at what I really wanted to do I realized hosting is my true passion. The great thing about being in Los Angeles is I get to do it all!"
Most of the time my fears can be attributed to self confidence, and as I experience more and get a little older I discover a lot of things do not matter as much as I thought they did. When asked what advise would she give herself 10 years ago, "Oh man! Not to worry so much! And not to worry about what other people think or the plan I 'think I'm supposed to have.' I used to think every decision I made was permanent and I quickly learned that if I moved somewhere and didn't like it, I could leave. If I had a job I hated, I could quit. It's ok to let negative things go and surround yourself with the kind of positivity you want to put into the world. I used to put so much pressure on myself to make the 'perfect choices', I've learned more to go with the flow, have fun, and that other people really don't care as much as you think they do."
Travelling in the United States as a Canadian I have always sought out the National Parks. Ever since I first laid eyes on the geysers and hot springs at Yellowstone I have been enamored with the vastness and beauty of your park systems. Monica is a big advocate for the National Parks and Monuments in the U.S and when I asked *politics aside* if she was concerned with the health and well being of these vulnerable lands or is she finding a new generation of like minded people ready to take part in order to insure survival, her passionate response was very telling of the current climate and ideals. "I am very concerned. Today's society revolves around technology and expansion. Getting "off the grid" is getting more and more seldom for people. These protected lands are the one place people can be assured won't change (fingers crossed). At the same time, I came to discover national parks way later in life and I've met a lot of people who've done the same. I think technology has the potential to be good by using social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube to expose people to these incredible sites and create a desire for them to go see it for themselves. In that way, a new generation is finding a love for travel and nature."
I definitely remember saying NOPE to myself when I first watched episode 7 Part 1 of your hike up Angels Landing in Zion, which you have said is your favourite National Park because it "...has a very special place in my heart because it was my first big Monica Goes adventure and Angels Landing really tested my fear of heights and my desire to create a show where I push past them. It's also unlike any place I've ever been before. I usually like green trees and waterfalls so I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I do. It's truly magical!"
Monica doesn't stay close to home, recently we got to watch episodes taking place in Ireland and Iceland. Iceland seems to be a new hot spot for adventure (and for very good reason) the footage and photos that Monica shares are breathtaking. I asked her what her most memorable moment of the trip was and this was her response. "Iceland was a completely unplanned trip! I found a flight for $250 so I figured why not? It was incredible. So much more than I could have imagined and definitely worth the hype! It's hard to pick a favorite adventure but snorkeling between two tectonic plates in the Silfra Fissure was pretty unreal! It's the only place in the world you can do this and the water is freezing and delicious!"
FUN MONICA FACTS!
Early Riser late to bed; " I usually get up around 5 or 6. If I'm not injured (currently nursing a sprained ankle) I go for a run or get a workout in, then meditate and have some bible study time before getting to work. I spend the day working on the show and then at night I work at a restaurant for some extra income. If I'm lucky, I'm in bed by 10 or 11."
The amount of time spent on editing a video; "Around 20-25 hours goes into editing, especially now that I've added some behind the scenes videos. The rest of the time is spent on social media, marketing, networking, and planning among other things. While the editing itself has become more efficient, I'm now shooting with 2-5 cameras and have a lot more footage to work with. "
Does she have free time?; "Free time? What's that? Haha, yeah there's not much free time but luckily I LOVE what I do which makes 'work' really fun. One thing I've tried to do more is get back to hiking for myself and not just the show. I also really enjoy reading and binge watching tv shows when I give myself a free day. And of course, finding random adventures! There's always something happening in LA so it's fun to explore."
My biggest fear isn't the fact that I failed at something it would be the fear of regret that I didn't try. So when I asked if Monica ever regretted an adventure I loved her response. "I've never regretted any actual adventure, they've all been amazing in their own way. I have been unprepared at times and regretted not bringing warm clothing or comfortable shoes, things like that. There's also been a few times where I felt like I wasn't fully present or I was super tired that make me want to go back and do things again. But overall, every experience is unique and amazing! "
Because I am super nosy and love the feeling of anticipation almost as much as the experience I needed to know what was next! "Right now the show is in the pitching process so I've been really busy researching and pitching to production companies and sponsors. I'm working with a potential online network about a series and have been shopping the sizzle reel around. I'm trying to find a way to keep the show sustainable for the long-term. I'm also editing a few awesome episodes including white-water rafting which blew my mind! In terms of travel, I'm working on a Michigan series to hopefully shoot in the fall. Ever since I started Monica Goes I've wanted to feature my home state. There's also a potential trip to Denver, and Jamaica in the works, so lots of awesome things coming up! "
YAY more to come!! Thank you so much Monica for taking the time, and can't wait for your next adventure!
Luv K8e Author : Katie Green
Monica's Top Three Adventures