I am usually shy when it comes to describing myself. But here is how I have been describing myself lately. I am a very Random person so things that I like can sometimes be contradictory. But that also makes me versatile. Above all, I strive to live an authentic life. Living out of what I most enjoy and believe in rather than what society norms try to force on us. I enjoy solving problems and enabling people makes me happy. I love travel and I feel like I have been bitten by a travel bug lately because I have been hopping on airplanes like crazy, from Arabia to South America to Iceland to Southeast Asia to Scandinavia … all over the place! If I am not traveling that means that I am planning a trip. My love for travel is not in the touristic sense but rather in the wanderlust traveler sense. It has become party of my identity and who I am. In my travels, I have a longing to know new people and new cultures, bathe in new suns, walk down new alleys and hug a new tree. My other loves are horses, poetry, social work, my piano, and my car! I also love learning languages so I am multilingual and I would describe my proficiency levels as native Proficiency in Arabic and English, proficient in French and hobbyist in Spanish. I would love to one day speak all four tongues with the same fluency.
An interview with Ghalia Farzat
What does a life changing experience mean?
A life changing experience is one that makes you take a close look at yourself and ask yourself some very difficult questions. It turns you away from living a superficial life to making a strong commitment to find the true essence of your life and why you are here on earth. This is not just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo; I am describing it based on a real life experience.
What/when was your turning point in life?
My turning point in life was two years ago. I looked at my life and I was not happy with it. I had so many blessings but I still was not happy with it. Add to that some extraordinary stress levels creped up on my life and that is when I decided to hit the pause button, take a break from everything and reevaluate where my life was heading. Now looking back, I find that I am able, to a certain extent, to connect the dots and understand why certain events occurred and I am more satisfied with where my life is heading now. If you ever watched Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech you would know exactly what I am taking about.
I believe that some people may not even find their purpose in life, and I believe that is OK. The point is to make the best out of everything and live happily and honest. Do you agree? Have you found your purpose?
I certainly agree. My two joys in life are solving problems and helping people. I have recently been working on my purpose statement in life and the most recent version that I have is this: To believe in the basic goodness of people and in the abilities of people to achieve so that they can live their highest potential. See, I believe in the basic goodness of people and that people generally want to do great things and that everyone of us has the abilities to do what they want to achieve. I do not want to coach or mentor or preach to people. All I want to do is open new doors for them. I believe I can do that. And I believe I am doing that in this trip that I am organizing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and raise funds for the PCRF. Some of the people that registered said they had never thought they could do something like that before. Now they have discovered that there are possibilities in life that they had never thought of before. This puts a smile on my face J.
What is your next adventure?
For my next adventure I am heading to Africa! My next trip is going to be in Tanzania. I am going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, between December 26, 2014 to January 2, 2015. As part of this trip, I am going to be fundraising for a very noble organization, the PCRF , a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to healing the wounds of war, occupation and poverty for children in the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender. I am very much looking forward for this trip that I basically cannot wait for 2014 to finish (even though I like 2014 so far) so that I can start 2015 on top of Africa! I have a few adventurers who have joined me and we are posting updates about the trip here
What is funny is how this trip started. I believe when we are called to do something, it just happens and we find an inner drive to do it regardless of the circumstances. Two years ago after coming back from a volunteer trip to Indonesia, I was talking to the organizer of the trip and he said that his next project for the organization that he works with is to organize a Kilimanjaro Climb. At that time, I honestly did not know where that was. Days, weeks and months passed and we each got busy with our own lives. The following year, and after coming back from my volunteer trip to Nepal, Mount Kilimanjaro came into my life again but this time through the late wife of Omar Samra and her Marwa Fayad Toy Run. I got introduced to this sweet soul of Marwa who was a new inspiration for me to venture to Mount Kilimanjaro. That is when I got really curious and starting to google Kilimanjaro and that is when I learned about the tour company Wild Guanabana and started contacting them about my future climb. This was in September of 2013. They suggested to me that their next trip was in December of 2013 but I had already arranged plans to for a trip to the US, South and Central America so that wasn’t going to work. But I stayed in contact with them and I suggested October 2014 as a target date as my birthday falls in the first week of October. Later on and while chatting with a friend on Whatsapp, I threw out the idea to her in a very detailed way, I said: “hey I have a crazy idea, do you want to join me?” And her answer was “Yes probably”! And that is how we became a team of two! Then she told her friend and we became three. During Ramadan and as we are organizing our trip, we decided to do it for a cause. I contacted an organization that I highly respect, the PCRF who have previously done similar trips to see if they are going to do one this year so we can join them. They said that there was not such a trip organized but that if I wanted to organize one, then sure why not. So I thought the same way, sure why not!
My friend and I have been working on the logistics to turn this trip from a solo trip into a group trip. We opened up registration and now we have a team of 9 from Qatar and 6 from outside Qatar. We have a website that has all the information related to the trip, the cause, the PCRF, and the tour company (Wild Guanabana). We still have some spaces left if you want to join and start your year with an unforgettable trip have done some goodness to the world!
What does this trip mean to you?
My life took a turn a couple of years ago. I started re-evaluating things. As a solo trip, this was going to mark a milestone for me by celebrating my birthday having summit Kilimanjaro! This trip now means a whole lot more now that I am doing it with a crowd of adventurers who have united for a common cause. We will all be starting a new year together full of life and giving as we will have reached our goal of fundraising for the innocent children that need medical help. In other words, this trip somehow summarizes my purpose in life! I am very much looking forward to it.
If you want to know more about the Climb4PCRF and how you can participate or support the climbers in their journey and cause, go to Climb 4 PCRF and follow @PCRF_Qatar on twitter and Instagram. You can also reach out to Ghalia on @ghaliafarzat