Not often will you hear stories of a Saudi adventurer and that too of a woman. But Haya AlSamari is here to shatter all stereotypes. She’s a petroleum system analyst by profession and an adventurer by choice.
A glimpse into AlSamari’s Instagram profile (@mykindoffridays) will take you to the world’s finest escapades through arm-chair travel. I kid you not! If you’re an adventurist yourself, it might make you want to go over your travel bucket list again.
The young explorer spends her weekends guiding groups of fellow adventure-seekers exploring the untapped beauty of the great outdoors in the kingdom and neighbouring countries in the Gulf. “Be fearless; you’ll never know if you never go,” says AlSamari.
Having begun her journey with Hussak, a group that aims to re-introduce the culture of exploration while educating the younger generations on the importance of nature and how to protect it and offering exploration trips to anyone with a desire to explore the world, AlSamari decided that was a path she chose to tread.
Speaking about the first time she joined the Hussak group on a trip, she says it was a life-changing experience. “The whole time, I felt like I was in a movie. I was staggered by the amount of scenery in Oman and I wondered why I haven’t been there before.”
An adventurist is a big word. Although it might sound as fun, it is equally dangerous. Because to be an adventurist is to be a hiker, a surfer, a trekker, a mountain climber, a skydiver, a scuba diver, a paraglider and a lot of other stuff that will make you step out of your comfort zone and try out something that brings out the adrenalin rush in you. But ask an adventurist to know if it was worth a try and they’ll tell you what the experience has brought them, the height of happiness they found themselves in and the eagerness to go on a second adventure.
AlSamari is no different. Wowed by the thrilling experiences of her first trip, she was tempted to venture on a second trip with the group. This time on a sunrise trip during which she met with Hussak’s founder Ali Husain, for the first time.
“I was actively helping fellow travellers and Ali noticed how passionate I was, so he challenged me to hike in very risky locations and I beat him every time,” she recalls.
From that moment, she became a part of the Hussak team as a guide. “When Ali asked me to join the team, at first I was very reluctant. I felt like I was putting myself ‘out there’ and I was worried about my family’s and my manager’s reaction. Still, in the end I made it work!”
The young Saudi wanderer’s experience as a guide is empowering. It allows her to pull the plug on the shallow things in life, to bring instant change into people’s lives and to let her heart flutter every time she guides a traveller through his first experience.
AlSamari recalls one of her most remarkable trips was when she went to Mongolia during the winter with the World Wildlife Fund. “Mongolia is a culture of people who consciously choose not to expose themselves to modernity,” she says. “It’s also got the best scenery you will ever witness!”
This Saudi adventurer is quite exceptional because she ventures into a new adventure every weekend. Just when we thought that she is bone-weary and exhausted coming back from an extremely adventurous weekend, she says, “When I go to work every Sunday, the tired me will just browse the photos of my weekend on my phone and regain all my energy. Every moment is worth it.”