- Born in 1967
- Lives in Espoo, Finland
- Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration
- Adventurer, motivational speaker, travel agent, coach
- Passionate about: Adventure and travel, sports, yoga, nature and animals
Carina Räihä’s book: Top to Top
THE FIRST FINNISH WOMAN TO CLIMB MT. EVEREST
On May 17 th 2010, Carina Räihä made Finnish mountaineering history when she summited Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world, as the first Finnish woman ever. Just a year earlier, she was still working in the banking business, building a successful career after 20 years in finance and managerial positions. In 2008, at the age of 42, she made a courageous decision and left her Senior Vice President position at one of the world’s biggest banks to pursue her dreams, one of which was her lifelong dream to climb Mt. Everest.
“Anything is possible, if you want it bad enough”
My story is an inspirational real life example that my motto, “anything is possible if you want it bad enough” is indeed true. My decision to pursue my true dreams and inspiration and the success in life ever since has proven to be not only a life-changing experience for myself, but also for many other individuals struggling to make brave decisions, inspiring to believe that the impossible is possible and showing that strong motivation is the most important factor in getting you to the top.
I have always loved adventure, sports and new challenges. Whenever things become too easy and familiar, and I’m not learning new things anymore, I get bored. After turning 40, I realized that twenty years of my life had passed by being busy building a successful career in finance and banking and not living the kind of life I was passionate about. My days were filled with travelling, long hours in the office and taking on always bigger responsibilities. I spent innumerable hours at airports, in phone conferences and meeting rooms, where I often kept thinking that there must be more to life. After the glamour started to fade away, the independent job, status and financial compensation were no longer enough to keep up my motivation. I felt like I was wasting my days and my life doing things that I neither particularly enjoyed nor did I always respect the values of. The meaning of my life was missing, my heart was somewhere else and the intensive work pace took its toll. Finally I made my decision. I did what I believe many dream of but for some reason or another are too afraid or just not able to: I quit my job to change the course of my life totally.
I had always dreamt of adventures and travelling in all the interesting places in the world, when I would have the time and opportunity. I wanted to exercise more than ever and live healthier than ever. Do the things important to me, without constant lack of time, and not for money. At first, I did all that, travelled, did sports, took it easier and volunteered for causes close to my heart. The freedom and healthy living worked their magic; I began to crave for new inspiration. Out of this feeling of being able to do what I really want to do in life arose a sudden urge to challenge myself like never before. I decided to pursue my biggest but also most impossible dream ever; to climb the world’s highest mountain.
To the Top
The spark for climbing had ignited on my trip to Borneo in 1997, when after seeing Mt.Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, on the spur of the moment I had to climb to the top to find out what it would look like. I almost run up in excitement and the challenging journey was rewarded with great sense of achievement at the summit. It was love at first climb.
Years went by climbing, travelling and trying out other extreme sports on my free time from my busy career, finding every opportunity to fulfill my adventurous soul. Finally, I dared to trust my heart and see where the courageous decision to jump into the unknown would take me.
From Dream to Reality
My life change, climbing Mt Everest and succeeding in becoming the first Finnish woman to summit thought me that the doors are indeed open for anything when you truly set your mind and heart to it and that our capacities are not limited by the things we’ve studied or are familiar with. I had initially started climbing when I decided to face my fear of heights eye to eye and even if I’m still afraid of heights, I guess it’s fair to say I’ve learned how to deal with it which has changed my attitude towards being afraid of new or difficult things. After returning from Everest with my impossible dream fulfilled, I wrote a book called “Top to top” to inspire others with my example to have courage to make brave decisions and pursue their dreams and goals.
So far the road has taken me from a banker to a mountaineer, an author, tour leader, motivational speaker, personal trainer and lately travel company owner organising unique trips to mountains, seas and jungles all around the world and allowing me to share some of these experiences with other people. I still love physical and mental challenges so I find myself always planning new adventures, looking for new experiences and new things to learn to live life to the fullest. I value the quality of life which for me nowadays is health, happiness and ability to pursue things that truly motivate me. After succeeding in making my own biggest dreams come true, I enjoy helping others and giving my part in making the world a little bit better place by volunteering in causes close to my heart. After another big life change adopting vegan lifestyle, I am in better condition than ever physically and one of my greatest passions today is to promote ethical vegan lifestyle in line with my motto to live without causing harm to other earthlings.
I started my life change by following the principle of engaging myself in things that truly motivate me. That principle has taken me to places and experiences I never would have imagined and I continue to follow that principle in life. I am anxious to see where it will take me, as I am sure the road is going to be long and wide.
As indeed, if the road is too easy, I tend to get bored.