The world's first Egyptian to climb the highest summits across all seven continents, Omar Samra, 37, is a mountaineer and inspirational speaker.
While Samra is well-known as an adventurer, few have seen the personal side of this inspirational man. Two years ago, many of Samra's fans and friends shared their condolences when the news about his wife's death spread. Many of those who knew him personally have said that he never was the same person again.
On Tuesday, Brandon Stanton of Human of New York (HONY) shared a photo series of Omar Samra from when they met in New York.
Samra's words always have their way into people's hearts, yet this time, silence replaced what would otherwise be applause. A sunken heart replaced what would otherwise be a light spirit. But nonetheless, respect for this man remained, and grew far beyond expression.
Not only is Samra an adventurer and an inspirational speaker, he is also an entrepreneur and the founder of the adventure travel agency, Wild Guanabana, which, full disclosure, I work with as a journey facilitator.
Below are snippets of Samra's interview with Brandon Stanton. You can find the full interview on Humans of New York on Facebook.
“It’s not healthy to be that goal oriented. And Everest is a perfect example why. [...] If you’re thinking of nothing but the final goal—all those years, all that effort, and all the personal growth that you achieved, becomes worthless if you don’t reach the top.”
“My daughter helped me realize how harmful it can be to focus on outcomes. In Egypt, if something happens to the mother, custody of the child goes to the mother's family, and not to the father. [...] It consumed me so much that I couldn’t even enjoy the time we did have together. I was never present. My mindset wasn’t helping me, my daughter, or the situation.”
“I still wear my ring. I never thought I’d get married. Before I met her, I’d always been about non-attachment and freedom. We only had a short time together, but during that time, all I thought about was how to make her smile. I felt like I belonged. It was a ‘finally home’ sort of feeling—that sort of thing.”
“She was young and healthy and we were very relaxed about the birth. [...] But then Marwa said to me: ‘If something happens to me, take care of our daughter.’ And I burst into tears. ‘Don’t say that!’ I told her. ‘Why would you say that?’”
“The birth went fine. Teela was born early so they took her and put her behind glass under a blue light. [...] Eventually Marwa got better to the point where she could sit in a wheelchair, so I pushed her down the hall so she could meet our daughter. We all took a picture together. [...] When I got to the ICU, they told me, ‘We lost her for a bit, and if she comes back now, we don’t know how much of her will come back.” It didn’t feel real. It was like the movies. [..] And then I heard the doctor say ‘Time of death.’ [...] And when I walked out of the room I felt so empty. Like I was nothing.”
We now leave you with this video about Samra's mountaineering journey: