Toufic, a philanthropist, speaker, and full-time adventurer, hails from the village of Dhour El Choueir located in Metn District where he grew up in a family that encouraged sports. “During my childhood, I played karate, horseback riding, roller skating, and football,” he told The961.
In Lebanon, his love for nature began practically from birth. “Having been born and raised in the mountains of Lebanon, spending time exploring nature was part of our afternoon playtime,” he said.
“It was a habit to go for a trail run with my dog around my town and the neighboring towns, between the pine and oak trees. Soon enough, the curiosity to explore more terrains kicked in.”
“This curiosity led me to sneak out of my parents’ house and disappear for days exploring the Lebanese mountain range. By the age of 18, I started rock climbing, caving, and hiking regularly,” he told us.
His adventures in Lebanon were cut short when he had to move to the United Arab Emirates to continue his studies. There, he had to pick up multiple and various jobs to earn a living.
Career-life vs. Adventure-life: The constant struggle
His career path was focused on the advertising and marketing industry, but it goes without saying, he would have rather been elsewhere, perhaps on trails that few dare to venture.
“In 2014, I quit my job and traveled for some adventure and some philanthropic work. Between 2015 and 2018, I did some freelance jobs in the event management industry. Basically, I didn’t want to be fully employed in order to have time for my explorations.”
In fact, Toufic told us that one of his milestones in life was quitting because it wasn’t getting along with his lifestyle.
After quitting, he managed to embark on one of the biggest expeditions of his life: a 30-day expedition to explore the world’s deepest cave at the time, the Krubera cave. (After further explorations, the Krubera cave became the second-deepest cave in the world.)
“During this expedition, I learned a lot about fear and how to overcome it,” he reminisced. Toufic is no stranger to overcoming fears and challenges, however.
When he was 15, he had a roller-skating accident and doctors claimed his leg will no longer bend.
“Coming through this trauma,” Toufic said, “fundamentally reshaped my life and my mental strength as I knew it. I, with the help of good physiotherapists, managed not to only start walking again, but also get back to my sports.”
Although, that does not change that the adventure lifestyle comes with big risks.
Asked about major accidents he has experienced, he responded jokingly, “Oh! I am going to be in trouble with my mom. Don’t worry mom and all other moms, it is more likely that we have fatal accidents from taking selfies than in adventure sports.”
However, he added that “accidents happen all the time, some can be avoidable, others you have to be prepared for them. But some you cannot do much about them.”
“In 2018, a friend of mine fell to his death while we were climbing a mountain in Nepal. This was an accident that couldn’t [have] been avoided. A few big rocks fell off from above, and he couldn’t escape.”
“It is indeed sad to lose a friend especially if you had to witness it, but all I remember of Mike is how happy the mountains made him, and he died doing what brought him peace,” Toufic reflected.
As for himself, here’s what Toufic said: “The lamest near-death experience I had is when I was bitten by a venomous snake while installing a hammock at a beach! I was hanging by a thread in the ICU for 3 days battling to stay alive.”
The journey never ends
Toufic has become a member and instructor of the Middle East Caving Expeditionary Team and has led numerous successful caving training courses, treks, hikes, and expeditions.
When he found his finances were getting in the red zone, he jumped back to the corporate world for what he said was “one last time.”
Just before the pandemic hit, he quit again and moved with his wife and newborn to Poland. “We are currently not working, traveling around Poland, UAE and – hopefully soon to- Lebanon and spending our time in nature exploring.”
He hopes his milestones and life choices inspire his daughter.
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