After months of physically-gruelling training and competition, Egyptian mountain-climber, entrepreneur and all-round inspiration, Omar Samra has landed himself one of Axe's coveted tickets to space. Amy Mowafi applauds the unstoppable shooting star.
Here is what I have always found to be the strangest thing about Omar Samra. He is the most unassuming man you will ever meet.
Yes, there is a strength and presence in his physicality, honed and hewed by the years of mountain climbing and physically-grueling thrill seeking. But unless he’s taking to a stage, a school, a conference room, tasked with motivating and inspiring – something that he clearly relishes – he will keep his charisma firmly tucked away. He will not regale you with tales of his adventures (unless pushed and prodded and only then in the most sincerely humble and self-depreciating of vernaculars). He will not draw everyone in the room towards him with the power of his presence or any of that special-person cliché nonsense. His voice is not big or booming, really quite the opposite. Sometimes you have to lean in a little to even catch what he’s saying. Whenever you see a picture of him atop a mountain or on some far-flung corner of the earth, he always seems a little surprised to be there.
Because Omar Samra doesn’t talk about doing, he doesn’t ‘do’ for the praise or the accolades or the awards (although they have been plenty coming). He does because he is seemingly driven by a desire to truly test what is possible, for his mind, his soul, his body. For you and for me. For everyone who has an outlandish dream but thinks it is unattainable, hampered only by a lack of belief.
When I first met him and would joke about climbing a mountain, and tagging along on one his big adventures, he would shrug and say, “Sounds good, we’re going in a couple months, want to sign up?” As if climbing a mountain were as easy as doing my makeup.
He lacks that voice in his head that says it can’t be done, or perhaps he’s learned to smother it beneath the force of his passion, perseverance and desire.
And so he has become the first Egyptian to climb Mount Everest and then to summit all seven of the highest peaks in the world. He has traversed the iciest stretches of landmass in the world and while he was at it, founded Wild Guanabana, an award winning travel business - one that gives thousands the opportunity to grab life by the balls and just have an adventure.
And now after years of reaching for the stars (and begging all of us to do the same) Omar Samra is heading for the stars. Not proverbially, or metaphorically, but quite literally getting in a spaceship and heading for the bloody stars.
After winning an AXE competition ticket, which qualified him for the final round of the Space Competition in Orlando, USA, it was officially announced, late last night, that he had landed one of the 13 coveted spots on the spaceship, with each person selected based on physically and mentally grueling competitive space-simulation challenges. “Tonight was one of those epic moments in a man’s life,” he wrote on his Instagram when the results were announced, clutching, of course, the Egyptian flag. “We do this to inspire a future brighter and better generation.”
In an era when Egypt seems only to be famous, or infamous, for its never-ending revolutions and revolutionaries, Omar Samra flies the flag (literally – trucking around that red, white and black, wherever he goes) for the best type of Egyptian and best type of human. One who is defiant and dazzling in the face of life’s biggest challenges - physical, personal, professional, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Thanks to Omar Samra, I can now one day tell my baby girl that us Egyptians have touched the stars. And that she can too…