At Destination Namaste we were honoured to have a chat with the inspiring Raha Moharrak the first Saudi woman to reach the highest peaks of the seven continents such as Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro. She also won the Emirates Woman of the Year Award in 2016 just to mention a few of her accomplishments to date.
Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself for those that don’t know you yet?
My name is Raha Moharrak, I was born in Saudi Arabia. Im the youngest of three and I’ve always been an oddball. I have an insatiable apetite and I wanted to see the world and explore every single aspect of it. I worked in advertising after graduating from the American University of Sharjah with a bachelor of visual communications and then I worked in advertising for a few years but I always knew I was destined for more. I always felt I had more to give than sitting at a desk and surely enough one day I decided to branch out and try something different and I fell in love with the mountains. I never imagined one day I would be known world wide for my life of adventure, hahaha! It happened!
How did the idea come about to climb the highest peaks of the seven continents and what would you say was your motivation and inspiration behind it?
It wasn’t an idea per se, it was a calling, a purpose, a sense of belonging a sense that I knew I deserved a life bigger than the one I had. I randomly sat with a group and one of them mentioned that she wanted to climb the highest peek in Africa, that’s where I got introduced to mountain climbing. I never imagined one crazy, curious thing would lead to such a shift in my life but I fell in love with it and that is where it started. I wasn’t an idea it was a purpose, I always say that it’s a purpose, not an idea.
What advice would you give women who still feel closed in by social roles and stigmas to break free and follow their dreams?
I have two pieces of advice and that is that you are the master of your life and you are able to create that life. Be respectful of the rules, know every single one so that you know which ones are worth breaking but then don’t be afraid to fail. The only shame is not trying to do something different, is not being too afraid go after your dreams. I’ve made so many mistakes and I wear all my scars with pride, so yeah, I would always advise girls to be bold enough to go after what they want and not to be afraid, and also don’t be afraid to be a bit different a bit unique, it doesn’t make you any less important or less special, it makes you even more special in my opinion.
What does your work consist of today and do you have any special future projects you would like to create?
My life today consists of four part time jobs, the first is being a graphic designer which now has shrunk because of my crazy climbing career and my second job is as an advocate, a voice for girls rights in sports and hopefully a role model and spokesperson, a motivational speaker. The third job is a being a brand ambassador for a few brands, representing these brands is very important to be. And the fourth is being an athlete, so my life is pretty much part time, four different jobs and then add to that my social life, training, family life, personal time, eating sleeping, movies, tv shows so it gets a lot, really quite hectic pretty quickly. But I wouldn’t change it for anything, I really am very, very bless and very fortunate.
We would be blessed to have you with us as a facilitator in the future! Most of our retreats and workshops are hosted on the Island of Corsica and as we know that you love hiking we have the beautiful GR20 trail have you ever heard of it?
Yeah, I’ve heard about it! I’ve climbed with a few people who have been there and they highly recommend it! I would love to go and to experience it, it would be an honour. My only request would be that I do the hike and then lest say if the hike is two days then I have two days of being in retreat and relaxing because I am one of those people who like to balance my life. I work my ass off and train like crazy, like an animal but like an animal I get days when I’m just sitting down being lazy watching TV with family and friends so I get to balance out my hyper side and my normal, lazy, down to Earth, chilling side. You know you don’t have to be climbing mountains to have a good time. You don’t have to do adrenalin stuff to feel good, sometimes you can just chill.
What does climbing and sport bring to your life in Meditative way?
When I started mountain climbing I fell in love with that rush, with that sense of adventure, that sense of accomplishment that completely surrounded me and that sense of belonging to a world that is so unique and so beautiful.
Her first summit was Kilimanjaro and it was there, between the clouds, standing on Africa’s roof that she saw that her spirit could no longer be silenced and that nothing could hold her back from her love of adventure.
Interview by Lara Boshoff and Anna Cetti