Every single time I start off a journey,I feel nervous, so nervous to the point I want to cancel it. Yes that’s how it has always been for me. All that excitement built up over the days to the trip leads to me thinking of opting out. Maybe it’s the whimsical Gemini side in me.
And then what I do is take a breath and say hey, it’s ok, you can do this, ultimately you will jump into it and have the adventure of your lifetime and it turns out that way.
The road to travel, not the mainstream one with schedules, but my kind of travel has been edgy,rough, filled with surprises and amazing experiences. I realise that the more one enjoys being in the moment, take it as it comes like for instance a bus missed, a road mistakenly taken often leads to good things ONLY if we choose to open up to it.
Before I get more philosophical or cryptic let me get down to what I had signed up for and what I eventually did.
I had signed up for Pin Bhabha Pass trek with my friends Pankaj and Bhim. If you have read my blogs so far, you do know them and how they appear on and off(more on than off!) so the three of us doing this meant a riot! It always helps when we sync perfectly, be that treks or our conversations, sometimes intense thoughts and mostly loud laughter.
It was all going perfect, a week before the trek until Pankaj fell sick. Some long journeys along with stress made him drop out of the trek.
And that’s when destiny prevailed. Even before Pankaj dropped out, I was keenly following my trek friend Bunny’s posts about his trip to Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. He had just come back.
It was unique. It’s spectacular barren landscapes could create a myriad of emotions in a nature lover and not yet ‘exploited’ and commercialised like Ladakh. And I remember wistfully thinking looking at his posts, ‘Shit wish we could do that’.
As a matter of fact, last year in May, Bhim and I intended to backpack to Spiti after Rupin pass trek. But our adrenaline adventure with all of us almost losing our lives shook us up and we decided to take a rain cheque on it.
So when Pankaj called me and said I am opting out, my heart fell and it is what it is. And at the same time a totally crazy idea came up, why do Pin Bhabha?! Why not Spiti?
Immediately I tried reaching Bhim and mind you this was less than a week before the trip! The suspense was building up as my mate was not lifting the phone and when he called, I was not around. Call it The Law of Averages. Finally when I got to him and told him about Pankaj, he had the same reaction and then I said it.
This was the convo from me to him. ‘ Dude, I have a crazy idea’ Bhim: Yeah? Me: Let’s chuck Pin Bhabha pass and do Spiti! Bhim: Yes!!
Yup that’s exactly how it went and like that we were on to an adventure, a place with no plan. When two crazy mates with equally crazy temperaments sync and travel together, it would be a roller coaster ride.
I spoke to Bunny to get his entire schedule of Spiti. It was also a long time I had spoken to him after our Deorital trek in 2017. We spoke, gossiped for an hour, catching up and he very sweetly gave all the info, including the places.
What he did was with his friends, he hired a tempo van with a driver and travelled across the whole Spiti Valley. Now we didn’t have that budget nor could afford it but atleast we knew the places we could visit and the route. We still didn’t know how to travel to all these places.
Babubhai, our friend had been to Spiti Valley thrice and gave us another route/possibilities of visiting the villages/places in Spiti. But again this was also because he travelled in a vehicle.
Now how were we going to do this? In our crazy way, we decided to first reach Chandigarh as we had booked our tickets till there anyways and go as it happens.
So now you understand my nervousness, excitement and that vague feeling of should I? Shouldn’t I??
As I took the flight to Chandigarh with a handful of cash, a strict budget for Spiti, I was having butterflies in my stomach, that heart beating thump thump like that first crush you feel for someone. I was all set for Spiti. Or Was I?
To be continued…