Cult Obsessed: Molly Steele
(Who we’re obsessed with and why you should be too.)
We’ve had our eyes on Molly Steele for awhile now. What started out as an Instagram crush (see our article on Instagrams to Follow for Adventure Envy), turned into a full-blown exploration infatuation. Molly embodies the true spirit of an adventurous soul. Look no further than her Instagram feed to feel inspired – she’s always exploring the coolest places! Her photography captures the solitude in quiet hidden creeks, the thrill of cliff diving into watering holes, and the grandeur of mountain road trips. Many of her adventures are just a short trip outside of LA. Read her story, grab your hiking boots, pack a backpack and prepare to be inspired. We could all use a little Molly Steele spirit in our lives.
CULT: Tell us about yourself!
Molly: I’m 24 (getting up there!) and originally from an herb farm in the woods of swampy, rural North Florida. Currently on year 6 of living in LA and now a student focusing on botany and agricultural policy.
CULT: Were you always inspired by nature and exploration or was there a moment you remember that inspired you?
Molly: I can’t say I’ve always been inspired by nature, because as a kid growing up in the country it was just a way of life, and not really an option. My family always chose canoeing, camping, and hiking for recreation. It wasn’t until I was a couple of years into my time in LA that I revisited my relationship with the outdoors as a means of finding happiness and being alone.
CULT: What made you decide to study botany?
Molly: Similarly to the rekindling of my relationship with the outdoors at large, my connection with botany blossomed when I was searching for a subject to study in school that made me feel fulfilled and inspired. I was a high-school dropout and started college late, partly because I wanted to make sure that when I did go, it was with a purpose. A co-worker of mine recently observed that I like plants more than people, which I can’t say I disagree with.
CULT: What turns you on creatively?
Molly: Recently, youth has been a real spark for me. I didn’t feel like a kid when I was young, and was set up with responsibilities perhaps when I should have been playing outside. However, I’ve been on my own for a long time now, and feel like I am only getting younger. In addition to youth, I’m inspired by hard times, dynamic and abstract human relations, and moisture.
CULT: Where are some of your favorite local hikes?
Molly: It’s hard to say which hikes are my favourite. When it comes to hyper-local hikes (within a few miles of my home in Beachwood Canyon), I really appreciate a sneaky back-trail near Trails that finds no climb in elevation. Additionally, Fryman Canyon when it is empty. However, hikes that aren’t very local that have a place in my heart include Sturtevant Falls, anywhere on the Evergreen campus in Olympia, WA, and almost any hike that involves a well-supplied creek.
CULT: What else do you like to do in your spare time?
Molly: Honestly, I have very little free-time. I’m a work-aholic usually juggling 3-4 jobs and being a full-time student half of the year. However, I’m obsessed with my home, so I spend a ridiculous amount of time hiding in it. I’m usually practicing banjo or hammered dulcimer. Reading finds it’s way into my life in between semesters.
CULT: If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
Molly: God…I have such a travel itch right now and for very specific places. The list includes Vermont, Scotland, France, Norway, North Carolina, Iceland, and Louisiana. Why? I miss swimming in clean and fresh water, I miss moss, I miss rain and the south, and I want to visit where my family comes from (Scotland and France).
CULT: Your best advice to amateur explorers:
Molly: Get out of bed and Just. Fucking. Do it. Oh and get a good knife.
CULT: What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Molly: Precipitation and legs that work. Also, clean food.
CULT: Words to live by:
Molly: Do whatever you want forever and ever, just don’t be a shithead.
Follow along on Molly’s adventures:
Great writeup. Keep on your direction, against the tide.