We would like to hear about your background; tell us about you.
Here is an ordinary woman who was gifted and blessed with extraordinary opportunities.
My name is Mariz Doss, a thirty-four, young Egyptian woman who loves mountains, running, adventure, and always strives to explore. I come from a beautiful middle-class family. I studied Business Administration at Ain Shams University – no, not any “X”UC. I don’t live on any heights, hills, or in compounds; I come from the heart of Cairo where all the magic came out. My career for the past eight years – and still going – has been in the insurance industry; I’m so thankful for my supportive employer. I consider myself a hustler, an observer, so determined, and a doer.
My climbing journey started back in 2018, having a dream to climb the highest peak of Africa. Being an Egyptian woman, I thought, ‘let’s start in my own continent and summit Africa. Going through this journey, I thought to myself: it has to be for a bigger cause, and then it came to my mind, I will work to create an impact for women who don’t have a voice, women who fell under the stereotype of ‘you’re a woman and you cannot play that sport because of your gender..etc’, and for defying all the false labels and stigmas that culture and society throw at us. Later, I went further to support education and creative learning for children, taking it from the very bottom so that we have enlightened generations to come.
Interesting! We would like to know more about your mountain climbing and hiking journey, the remarkable summits you have reached, the places you have visited, and your memorable achievements.
I reached the roof of Africa and fell in love with all what mountains can bring, starting from that magic that nature offers and its effect on oneself. From seeing the glamorous milky way in the middle of nowhere lighting up my lonely dark nights out in the wilderness, to meeting complete strangers and having them to be the closest lifetime friends by the end of each expedition, getting to speak about your deepest heart, soul, and mind with like-minded people, reflecting on how we’re going to carry on doing life getting back from the mountains to the city routine, and having each other’s back doing it all together.
After summiting Kilimanjaro, I got hooked with the mountains, learning my most remarkable life lessons. So far, I’ve done Everest Base Camp, Ama Dablam, and Annapurna Base camps in the Himalayas.
Only last month I got the chance to explore the technical climbing and mountaineering in the Alps, summiting four breathtaking summits: Punto Gnifetti on the Swiss Italian border, Piramid Vincent in Monte Rosa Massif, Aiguille de Marbees, and Aiguille de Toule.
That’s impressive! What lessons have the mountains taught you?
Talking about those life lessons I learnt back at the mountains, I learnt that a group is as strong as its weakest member.
I learnt that there are times to celebrate victory reaching high summits, yet you cannot stay up there for a long while; you must go back down – even in life. There are other times where you need to turn back and say let’s try again later; maybe not today; the mountains are not going anywhere. I learnt that our bodies do have limitations and I believe that we were not made to be superheroes, unlike all what the media is trying to throw at us. I learnt to choose a lifetime full of more opportunities rather than checking it done for that title or that moment of victory. I learnt to be humble infront of those gigantic rocks, hills, and mountains, realizing how tiny we are and digesting not having control being out in the wild. I learnt to put others safety and wellness as a priority as much as putting myself. I’ve seen people coming to the mountains for different reasons, yet the outcome is alway getting back restored. Up there you meet your strongest, weakest, and most vulnerable self, leaving you in awe.
On other technical mountains, I’ve learnt that it’s a different game; if you’re not fast then you’ll barely survive! That glacier or avalanche or rock fall will not wait for you. It’s a mental battle!
I believe that mountains can teach you in very few days what you cannot see or learn maybe in years, getting exposed to numerous situations and tough conditions throughout your journey up and down.
The mountain has the last call. No matter how fit you are, how hard you think you trained, or how ready you think you are for it, the mountain still has the last call. There is so much that is out of our control going up which we need to abide by and respect, just like sacred places.
These are wonderful lessons no one could have imagined the mountains could teach such invaluable lessons. Your list of achievements transcends the mountains’ summits; why don’t you tell us about them?
Asking me to list my other achievements is so humbling and encouraging; it helps me realize how far I’ve reached and what is still yet to come in my journey.
Besides summiting few mountains and crossing epic marathon finish lines, that curly-headed girl who ran the streets of Cairo back in 2019 got to be a guest speaker alongside Mr. and Mrs. George W. Bush, sharing my own story. The list was mind-blowing, having on board Bill and Melinda Gates, the world’s top CEOs, leaders, and many other impactful philanthropies.
That other day when I got invited to have dinner at their own place – yes, the former US president and the first lady – I looked around and thought to myself, ‘what brought me this far again, to stand right here right now should mean that something is going right.’
Another day when I was selected to be an Adidas runners coach and athlete in Egypt, I was taken to a fast flashback of 13 years old me: I had entered Adidas store and fell utterly in love with a running shoe. I wanted to get it so bad, but it was for EGP 300 which my parents could not afford back then. We went back home, and I cried my heart out over it for the whole night. 21 years later, I became the brand ambassador! Crazy! Yeah?
So thankful and grateful for my journey.
As much as I am so proud and happy with all those achievements, as much as I believe that the most important stop that we should pause, hold, reflect, and learn is at our failures.
Failures could break, stretch, and force us to look back, recalculate, and stand again even stronger.
This is so inspiring Mariz. Would you like to leave a message or share anything else with our readers?
Nothing to add for now; yours faithfully the marathoner and mountaineer, still singing a song that never ends, one that keeps me living and alive, makes my eyes sparkle and people wonder. My song starts with finish lines all the way to mountain tops. What’s your song?
This is beautiful. It was a pleasure listening to your awe-inspiring story, Mariz.