The Forever Adventurer
Under open skies and endless green foothills of the rural Mountains of the Moon, Uganda, there once was a little girl who grew up dancing freely over the lush East African rolling peaks.
When this wee person grew up, she never lost that spirit of adventure and seeking. In fact, one could say that Alice Morrison has painted her life in a way that makes it possible to continue feeding her wandering, nomadic heart. With a hearty dose of courage and humor to accompany her ever-roaming soul.
Alice Morrison now calls mystical Morocco her home. Blink, though, and you might miss her within the country itself-she has moved from Marrakech, to Essaouira, to Imlil, since 2014. Her move to Essaouria was on a whim in 2017, she explains to me, with a self-deprecating laugh. ‘I went there in search of a cat box and I was driving down the lovely beach-front road and I thought at that very moment, I’m going to move here!’ And she did just that.
Alice had the same whimsical thought process in her move to Morocco. She came here to train for the strenuous Mararthon Des Sables, fell in love with this enigmatic country and never left. After losing her high-powered chief executive media job in Manchester, she has been ingeniously and innovatively tailoring her life and her job to doing what she loves best-adventuring.
This epiphany, of sorts, began years before in when Alice entered the ‘Tour D’Afrique’, where she cycled across Africa from Cairo to Capetown-over 8,000 miles in an astonishing four months. This was the catalyst for Alice; the turning point in her life when she realized that she could do what she loved and make money doing it.
‘It was really a progression’, Alice explains thoughtfully. I guess it was always in me, this nomadic, adventuring spirit. It took the development of where I was in my life at that point to make me realize where I needed to be.’
Alice had grown up a product of exploration and vivacity. Her gutsy parents were teachers in Uganda, West Africa for much of her young childhood from the early 60’s until the early 70’s. After Uganda, her intrepid family moved to Ghana and then on to the Middle East. Discovering, unearthing and trekking were part of their family mantra. As Alice describes carefully, ‘I think I needed to realize later in my life that I was coming full circle back to simplicity and what makes me the happiest. As a child, I was raised to roam freely. As a young adult, I craved the opposite and I sought the city life for a solid period of my life. As I continue to grow into myself, I find that I crave the freedom and openness of my youth.’
She explains further, ‘In fact, if I think about, my Mum is probably the greatest adventurer of all. Just six weeks after I was born, she upped and sailed off to the African bush with my father, sight unseen. You just can’t get any more courageous than that.’
She goes on to explain more, ‘I can see now why I’ve been led to this undaunted lifestyle. My parents, in fact, taught me common sense, coupled with no fear. This is the greatest combination of gifts that a parent can give a child. They gave me a simple childhood with adventure, no limits, wide open spaces and wild African countryside, and with this inevitably came love of nature and simple beauty.’
I curiously ask Alice what scares her. I have to know. Failure, she says, almost immediately. ‘But then the possibility of not finishing spurs me on, time and time again.’ This is from a woman who has been charged by a herd of wild elephants, physically threatened on different occasion and also sadly assaulted during yet another terrifying incident. And through it all, Alice is modest and bold, considering all of her fascinating experiences. And she still continues to thrive, despite the huge challenges.
Speaking of unpretentious grace, I ask Alice what matters the most to her and her answer is reflective. ‘Behaving honorably’, she says firmly. She goes on, ‘Uncomplicated loveliness.’
Alice is certainly mesmerizing in her playful, genuine endeavors. I recently watched a gorgeous clip where she candidly sits on a step with a Berber woman drinking fresh milk (still warm!) and the two women laugh and talk together, sipping their fresh, creamy delight. So perfectly sincere and authentic. And funny. Alice embodies not taking herself too seriously. Which is the most interesting blend for an adventure-travel writer because it always makes things captivating!
Not many people would be willing to run a race up Mt. Everest. Let alone climb up the gargantuan rock. But this is exactly where you will find Alice this November; not slowly and methodically walking up Everest but with great gusto in the Everest Trail Race. Yes, apparently it’s not enough just to hike up 50,000 of steep ascent over six grueling days!
Lucky for us, Alice is also a longtime fan of Mushmina. In fact, the vibrant tangerine-orange scarf she wears religiously throughout her successful BBC 2 adventure series, Morocco To Timbuktu An Arabian Adventure, is a Mushmina custom original. Alice chuckles and tells me, ‘I’m in need of another durable, versatile scarf as I have worn this one on treks for the past three years and I have wiped a lot of sweat and grime onto it!’
You might just find Alice where the wind takes her next; going with her gut, following her instinct. Which is just fine by her. As long as there’s an adventure for her of which she can tell the incredible story.
On a personal note, my parents also spent many years in Uganda, of all places, where my father was a teacher and my mother was a nurse. At the same exact time period when Alice’s parents were in Uganda. It’s likely that they ran in the same circle, perhaps even met one another, and knew each other’s close friends. Life’s beautiful mandala of connections.
By Tara Fraiture, Mushmina blogger