The Curious Conqueror
Raha is the youngest Arab woman to summit Mount Everest and a Belmond Good Living Experience Maker. She believes that life is best lived by challenging yourself every day. Get to know Belmond’s Curious Conqueror.
Born into a traditional family in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Raha is the youngest of three siblings. After schooling in her home country, she moved to the United Arab Emirates where she acquired a degree in Visual Communications.
Raha has always been driven by her curiosity and adventurous streak. It challenged her to start training as a climber, and she first conquered the highest Argentinian summit of Aconcagua.
With experience and expertise under her belt, on May 18, 2013, Raha Moharrak made history by becoming the first Saudi and youngest Arab woman to ever climb Mount Everest. Raha has since travelled to the seven continents and climbed each of the highest peaks.
As a Belmond Good Living Experience Maker, Raha will guide guests on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to Bhamo. Travelling through the untouched north of mystical Myanmar, she'll host a group of intrepid adventurers aboard the pioneering river cruise Belmond Road to Mandalay. She will share her knowledge and expertise of reaching the summit of the world’s tallest mountain. Raha will also be creating guides for those looking to follow in her footsteps.
What does Good Living mean to you?
Good living means having a happy, full day. Not necessarily meaning happy all the time, but doing things that make you happy, doing things that fill your heart and not just your pockets. Doing things that expand your mind, in a way that a typical kind of lifestyle can’t do. To me, Good Living is having a full life.
What is it that connects you to what you do?
There are lots of people that live, but are not alive. I think what connects me is being passionate about something. Someone once asked me what’s the thing I fear the most, and they expected me to say a mountain or something drastic, but the thing I fear the most is boredom.
I think that is where people lose themselves, when they’re bored. When they’ve been sitting in a place that has become mundane. That’s the thing that I fear the most and try to avoid.
What does being a Good Living Experience Maker mean to you?
I’m honoured to be part of this project, because as a traveller if you don’t feel comfortable where you sleep you feel hectic. I think Belmond don’t just offer that kind of comfort, they offer a lifestyle. They offer an opportunity for you to live an adventure with style, and I love that.
Nadia: I think people fill themselves up with so many things they ‘have to do’, not just the things that they enjoy doing. Everybody waits until they’re retired to do things they enjoy. But it’s important to find time to do the things that bring life to your day.
What one thing would you do every day, no matter where you are, to stay feeling great?
The one thing I do everyday is learning something new. It can be a word, or it can be an experience, but every day is a teacher for me.
Your passion for adventure is infectious. What advice do you have for those looking to put more curiosity into their travels?
Most people are afraid of being curious, of leaving their comfort zone, because they don’t know what to expect. But for me that’s part of the beauty of life. I always advise people to take that first step. A journey as big as Everest started with a step and ended with a step. One of the most important things you can strive for is the curiosity to go after those things you don’t know.
You were the first Saudi woman to conquer Everest. What drives you to these sort of feats?
The short answer is that they told me I couldn’t do it, so I wanted to prove them wrong. The long answer is, no one gets to define who you are. No one gets to tell you what you are capable or not capable of doing. So I guess I climbed because I wanted to prove to myself, first, that I could attempt the impossible, and maybe even live the impossible. What better way to prove people wrong than standing at the top of the world?
What has been one of your most unforgettable travel experiences?
I’m so lucky to have stood on the seven continents, and that has been incredible. But I would say the people have been the most incredible. Meeting people is the thing I gain the most from and I cherish. I love that I can sit in a place with strangers and then walk away with friends. Yes, the monuments, the beauty of the Earth is amazing. But nothing means as much to me as people being their authentic selves.
What makes the Inca Trail so special and such a big draw for travellers today?
The Inca Trail was one of the most special experiences of my life. It had everything I wanted; beautiful scenery, amazing hikes, lovely people, great food and a rich history. So when people ask me, “Where do I start hiking?” I always say the stairs. Then the second thing I say, is to go to Peru. It has everything you could ask for.
Where’s currently top on your travel bucket list?
You’re talking to someone that has a huge travel bucket list! Before I kick it from this world, I want to see everything. I have to say Japan, Cuba and lots of places in Latin America. Tibet, Madagascar - all of these are on my list. You’re asking me an impossible task to choose just one. No way!