By Georgetta Morque
For Brandon LaBella, Rye High School class of 2013, traveling has been an eye-opening adventure. Having visited 36 countries in the last 13 months has helped him find his true self, and now he’s on a mission to help others do the same.
As a Finance major with a concentration in Entrepreneurship at the College of William and Mary, LaBella secured several interesting opportunities, working with the Ministry of Tourism of Bali, NASA, and IBM, and conducting fundraising research with Ecuador NGOs for the U.S. government. After graduating last December, he figured he was ably qualified for a finance job in the city where he would make a good salary and follow a traditional path. But that didn’t happen.
Unable to sit still, he took off to explore more of the world, staying in hostels, befriending locals, and embarking on new experiences. A transformation occurred while climbing Table Mountain in South Africa, where he met a homeless man who sprinted up the mountain every day with the hope of playing pro soccer. In awe, LaBella felt grateful for all he had and learned the significance of chasing dreams.
He created a website with a blog about his journey and the life lessons learned, brandonlabella.com, and produced a podcast series, “Failing Up”, consisting of 40 episodes of interviews with inspiring millennials who use confidence, fearlessness, and positivity to better themselves to achieve their full potential.
Then it was on to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to finish his book, “The Journey to Failing Freely”, available on Amazon in April. LaBella covers issues such as how to be free from insecurities and self-doubt, how to escape from society’s leash — you don’t need to be a celebrity, he says — and how to grow by embracing challenges. LaBella is on a nationwide book tour, giving motivational speeches to spread positivity and share his story. Recently, he spoke at a drug rehab center in Kansas. Feedback has been very positive.
A determined individual, LaBella set a record running the fastest marathon on crutches at the New York City Marathon last November. He was committed to run to raise money for the charity, Pencils of Promise. “Life is really a marathon,” he muses. “We need to grow every day.” He wants to help others “awaken” as he has and make every day purposeful.
LaBella has put his heart and head into being the best version of himself, living mentally and physically healthy every day, to be in the present moment, and to live life with meaning and no regrets. “You need to know how to be yourself,” he says. “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.”
Brandon LaBella at the 12 Apostles in Australia