Have you trekked??
This question was posed to me almost 10 months ago by a young friend as we were busy walking through an unknown small road…
I honestly had to think quite a bit if I did! Did I? Ever??
I always prided on being a traveler, neither the backpacker way nor the luxury type but somewhere in between, hovering from upscale home stays to boutique hotels and sometimes luxury hotels in some exotic destinations of the world when my lifestyle and life was totally different. A different decade altogether…
So when I was asked this question and walking and keeping pace with this friend, I realized I actually didn’t!
I also realized walking for kilometers in beautiful cobblestone pathways around cities in Europe was in no way amounting to trekking 🙂
So yup with a sheepish yet inquisitive look I said NO!
Then he said, you know you should while you still have the will, the strength and the age to go with it! It left me puzzled, a little annoyed and curious all in one.
Here was someone whom I met just 4 days ago and here he was giving me Gyan on trekking and traveling – Hmmph!
My ego was saying, but you are a traveler, you have been doing this for almost 15 years for Christs’s sake. The vanity of traveling alone, the ego satisfaction of being where not many people have been, all that was running in my head honestly.
But better sense prevailed and I kicked my ego out and asked him, So, Have YOU trekked?? He benevolently smiled and said Yes I have been doing it for years and it’s something else, you should try it, Come On!
I met him at a meditation workshop. The place in which it was conducted was pure, pristine and way away from the city and it’s civilization.
After a couple of days of interacting with him, one day I saw him and his companions getting out of the retreat for a walk and I spontaneously joined them.
One thing led to another and early morning and evening walks became a norm for me. Just join in and walk walk walk.
With all my fears of confronting leopards in that area which was rampant, I would still go ahead and join them. I would see him being nonchalant about it and saying, If it comes, let’ see and funnily enough that actually gave me the courage to do it 🙂
So when this question popped up, I was flummoxed. So after my sheepish replies and grins he said, ‘Swapna, explore it once and it will change your life’.
After the workshop, I went back home thinking about it. Trek?? Me?? in India?? Yup that was exactly what was happening in my head.
That I loved traveling was an understatement but most of my travels has been out of India.
I always had the feeling that being a woman and having that freedom of traveling on your own could happen only abroad.
I didn’t have to worry about being accosted or get judgemental looks from people seeing a woman sitting alone in a bar having a drink or being seen as ‘available’. People left you alone there, it was normal.
So this was new, traveling in India, trekking no less!
So I signed up for a trek in August, around Kashmir no less and it also motivated me more because this friend of mine was also joining in. Having a friend with a trekking experience was an added bonus. His friend too joined in and now we were three of us game for a trekking expedition with a group.
We were all set!
But what motivated me most to join them? Was it traveling to a region I had no clue of? Because my definition of North India was Delhi, period. And you know what comes to mind when it’s Delhi…
Was it my desire of trying to conquer my fear of heights? Yup I panic when I go above 3 floors in a building. My feet start shaking, I imagine myself falling to my death every time.
Was it the thrill of seeing where it takes me?
In the end I realized what made me motivate the most..
My ‘young friend’ was 65 and his friend was almost 70 and they had all the enthusiasm, vigour and will of a 25 year old and I thought OMG if they have all this at that age, what the hell have I been doing so far??
And that’s where it all began…