The first Saudi woman to climb Everest Raha Moharrak says passion can help you do things that few people would even have the courage to dream of.
Does passion play a role in doing incredible things? Of course it does. When you do what you love, you enjoy life and succeed irrespective of the difficulties you have in your way.
Raha Moharrak is the first woman from Saudi Arabia who climbed Mount Everest. Though her passion involved literally climbing mountains, the cultural background was her biggest obstacle.
However, passion helped her overcome all the challenges and stand on the top of the world.
“In order for you to survive you need to be able to evolve and change.” Raha says. Driven by her immense passion, she managed to make her family accept her calling, break the cultural stigma, and conquer the highest peak on Earth.
She explains that when you fall in love with the process – the sky is the limit! Passion can be the catalyst that keeps you going.
Do you want to achieve things that most people barely dare to dream of? Explore this resource and remember to share it with your friends and spread the passion.
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AKA The Passion Guy
Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays, the best way to end the week and start another.
Our guest today is a phenomenally passionate woman. The first Saudi woman to climb Everest and she’s got a lot more passion to share with us, Raha Moharrak.
Moustafa: Raha, thank you very much for being with us.
Raha: Thanks for having me.
Moustafa: It’s an amazing experience to meet passionate people but when somebody as passionate as you challenges the norms of a country like yours being in Saudi and the culture and then also takes that passion to the extreme of climbing an Everest all in one go? That’s a lot of passion! So tell me more!
Raha: I think ah everyone ask me when did it start, how did it start? It, it never really started! I’ve always been this kind of passionately curious person. I’ve always wanted to try new things. I’ve always been sporty and outgoing. Ah so it, it never really ah…I’ve always been passionate I think. Peel away all of the, the terms and the things I’ve done with the core base is passion. Because I I’m so passionate about trying new things and exploring the world.
Moustafa: So when you say passion, what would you define passion is?
Raha: Ah passion is very difficult, very difficult to define but it’s so, it’s so, it’s so strong when you feel it but it’s hard to put in words. But for me it’s doing what you love. Doing what you love even if it’s difficult you still enjoying it. You know what I mean?
It’s a, a in my case it’s being cold, hungry, extremely tired and stinky in the middle of nowhere and in a tiny cam you having a smile on your face because you’re passionate for that…for the love of the mountains! Passion can be that. Passion can be when I play volleyball and it’s, it’s the camaraderie of my friends it it’s just, it it…passion shows and tell me different forms and tell me different colors, it’s very hard to define.
Moustafa: Amazing! So, so that undefined passion sounds easy it’s something that you feel.
Raha: It sounds easy but it’s not!
Moustafa: Sounds easy obviously not, not when you’re up at almost 30,000 feet and you’re kind of trekking and you’re, you’re…
Raha: And miserable.
Moustafa: And miserable and you’re thinking why I’m doing this in the first place? How do you find passion in such tough moments.
Raha: I, I remind myself of I don’t really usually forget but when I do if I’m very tired, or very aggravated, or frustrated I remind myself that this is something that a few people would even dream of. I’m doing something that few people would even have the courage to dream of and longer achieved and lived.
Raha: So I’m living this this thing I should take it with all its beauty and all its difficulties and just embrace it.
Raha: Do you know what I mean? And ah it’s it’s one of those things that it’s very difficult and very hard but you love it so much so it doesn’t matter.
Moustafa: So that’s how beautiful and again you know all due respect to you with the amazing work that you’ve done with you know climbing the Everest and following your passion. But there was a bigger mountain to climb before you even got to Everest and that’s the cultural climb that you have to to break through.
Raha: In many ways it was much more demanding and much more difficult than the physical climb. Because I come from a culture that has a specific ideas and I and definitions and blinds and borders and box whatever you call them. I come from that culture and I respect it and I understand. That’s, that’s, that’s the…my culture background but everything evolves. Everything in life evolves and for you in order for you to survive you need to be able to evolve and change.
So with the biggest hurdle was getting my family on board and, and, and my… they don’t understand. I wanna say understand but they don’t understand. To get my family to accept that this is what I love even if they don’t understand it. I wonder what my feelings once my dad said he was watching a video of one of my climbs and it was night, it was windy, I was tired and you could see in my face the pain yeah. He saw this video and when he was done he had like teary eyes and he looked at me and said “I don’t understand why you do this to yourself. But I understand that you need to.”
Raha: So this is the kind of thing that I had to build and I had to introduce to my family. Because in the beginning they were like, “Mah, climbing mountains? What!?” let alone the biggest ones created my climbing career.
Moustafa: I love it! And you obviously started with the hardest and you work your way down…
Raha: No, no I did…
Moustafa: If you can do it the other way around.
Raha: I did eight, I did eight mountains before Everest. Everest was Number 9.
Raha: So I, I did my due diligence.
Moustafa: So do you ever doubt that this is your passion? Because a lot of times people get excited with big achievement and I’m sure you know conquering and breaking through the cultural stigma and then conquering an Everest, once you do that a lot of people say and that’s what, what I call the Tiger Woods syndrome. You know he got so high that suddenly there was nothing higher to go above and the energy dies off. And that person is a shadow of who he was before, how do you deal with that?
Raha: The trick is, is not to hang your, your passion and your, your, your goals on one… in one big thing. One act one big ah…act. The trick is to love something, not to love a goal and accept…
Raha: Because when you reach a goal…I love mountains! I love outdoors!
Raha: I love climbing! I don’t love Everest.
Raha: That mountain! It’s just called Everest so the, it’s the, you have to fall in love with the act of doing something, with the process. Not just the finish line.
Raha: Do you know what I mean? I guarantee you Olympic Gold medal winners don’t love the actual piece of metal.
Raha: They love being recognized for the sport they do and the time they put in. The metal represents all the hard work, and all the years they’ve done. So you don’t hang it on something that you can frame and put them on the wall and that’s it. A few people asked me “What’s the next step after climbing the highest mountain in the world?” They think that I’m done. No, it it goes within a… Pallington…live the sky is the limit from there right?
Moustafa: Yeah great! And I know I, know you and me share, share probably share a similar passion which is going to space. So you wanna climb…
Raha: One day, yeah.
Moustafa: Mountain in space. I wanna deliver inspirational talk from space so maybe we’ll go to it together.
Moustafa: Yeah this has been a phenomenally amazing interview and I thank you for all the passion because well our viewers don’t know it’s actually your birthday…
Raha: Thanks! Thank you!
Moustafa: So I wanna say “Happy Birthday!” This is how passionate she is. She comes on her birthday to do a Passion Sundays interview.
Raha: I promised you that if I’m here I’ll do it.
Moustafa: You see that’s commitment and that’s true passion! So Raha, thank you very much for being with us today.
Raha: Thanks for having me!
Moustafa: I love it! I really appreciate it!
Moustafa and Raha: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I would really love to hear your opinion. So write your comments on the blog below and share it with your friends if you found it useful. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website, got to Moustafa.com. And until next episode, live passionately!