Out of the all the questions that starts with what, where, why, when and how, it is answering the question - "why" that has always been challenging to our rational minds. It is interesting that we always find our way out not to answer that disturbing why. Here We will try to answer that why does one trekwith what we have noticed through years of managing treks. Through years of evolution and development, we humans have reached a point where we have our lives designed for our comfort zone. We have GPS and traffic lights telling us where to go, we have our maids to wash our utensils and we have food that's mostly ready for us before we are even hungry. We have air conditioned cubicles that protects us from the elements of nature and we have safety systems on every machine so that you don't even need to think for yourself. We have whatsapp group chats more than chats over chai by the roadside. While all of this is making our lives easier, it is also stealing our ability to make choices and our natural ability to hold a conversation with someone about philosophy and ideology. A trek is where you get to experience a glimpse of all these in a week.
It is a paradigm shift that makes me want to write this article on why I want people to trek and it stands as my major influence to trek as well. While reading about Tony curz, George mallory, les straud and Alex Lowe I realized that there are certain human traits that these people possesed. These were those extra ordinary human values instilled into them by the mountains partially and rest by their genes. I thought if I followed a part of what they were doing, I could also adapt some of those traits into my personality. It has been proved that if one keeps a hobby for twenty one days, it could become a habit and habit create character indeed I made it a point that I will hit the trail atleast once in a month and will camp more often. After I realized that a trek is primarily a showcase of human values, it didn't took much time for me to leave my oil and gas career for a job in the outdoors industry where I get to influence people's lives as the mountain influenced mine. I realized that I get to be a part of someone's else story that they will share proudly . After spending days in the remotest and hardest environments with new people and culture, each of our trekker realizes that they have become more open to opinions, learned to empathize and help . They realize that all that they thought makes them happy aren't necessary. Somewhere in their mind each of the trekker starts to care for the whole team . Faith, integrity, perseverance and sustainable living are some of the other values that one takes back with them for life. If one were to examine how these values get instilled on a trek, this is how it would look.
Perseverance - The day one makes a choice to trek. They make a decision in their mind that there is a goal ahead and that's to complete the trek. There will be lots of hindrances on one's way as the way progresses but each day when one goes to sleep , they know that they have well lived and earned the day. They know that they have persevered through challenges and places that they otherwise wouldn't have without making the choice to persevere. As J.K. Rowling said - it's the choices rather than our abilities that we makes who we are.
Self Confidence - with each high altitude pass one conquers it is not the pass but ourselves that we conquer. The moment one takes up a new challenge or major project in their lives, one will always be a bit more confident not because mountains have to do anything with the project but because it has everything to do with your self confidence.
Faith - As a trek leader I have heard this many times before that even though I do bluff around with the distance to cover ahead, with me in the group the trekkers are not worried about completing the trek as they have faith in what I do. At some circumstances one has to rely completely on others. Mountains will force the seasoned trekkers to that extend that they will have to put themselves out there to faith and trust. Without faith there is no teamwork and without teamwork there is no Discipline and without that there will be no successful trek.
Discipline - Mountains are such place where it is actually cool to be Disciplined. Mountains teaches us that every minute counts in the mountains as with every minute of sunset it gets difficult to find a place to pitch tent and it gets cold the moment sun goes out of sight.
Teamwork - one of the most important factor many of us take for granted is the team work. We look at gruesome expeditions and climbers but forgets the Sherpas when it comes to credit. We tend to underestimate that being surrounded by people makes the trek a lot more different than a solo trek. Somewhere in between the conversations one might have passed since two km ascent and somewhere in one's mind one wants to complete the trek because there is an much elderly trekker climbing up slowly without any complaints. Peer pressure could be good and also bad.
Relationship - It might be a broad term as I have seen people making all sorts of bonds in the trek starting from friends, partners, mentor and even a father daughter relationship. We believe The bonds made in the mountains are the best kind as you are in your best possible form in the mountains. This is what mountains does and this is why I trek.
One starts a trek for a lot of reason and sometimes for no reason whatsoever, which in itself makes it more rewarding.
One has a variety of answers to ponder over starting from :-
It's a call from within to experience and live life . Treks are nature's pathways to be free , alone , get enveloped by the magic of the universe and feel oneself a part of it .It opens my mind in a limitless way to accept, to marvel, to respect, to change, to share, to love and enjoy the simple things of life.I trek to live life.
- Varma datla, deputy commissioner -taxes, government of India
The workout and feel good hormones after any Trek is a by-product which is obvious and welcome but it goes beyond the physical for me. Trekking for me comes close to Nirvana. Each summit gives a personal achievement and sense of purpose. Each day of the trek is like life with ups and downs and it gives us the mental strength to survive. It connects me to Nature and shows me how insignificant and trivial our daily life problems are compared to life in the mountains.
Trekking with family brings its own share of added benefit. It allows you to bond with your family members and spend quality time with them without the usual distractions which a conventional vacation has.
- sujit kolke, Manager, PTC Software, Pune, India
Modern life has made available many amenities and comforts. I trek in order to experience what our primordial ancestors did when thhey migrated through hardships crossing hill and vale in search of sweet waters and bountiful land. I do it to feel the vulnerability and fleetness of life. To envisage heights and sights unbesmirched by human hands, harsh, forbidding, alluring and peaceful. To know that my footsteps would vanish as the elements reclaim them with the sands of time. Yet in my heart claim those memories as mine.
- Chandrasekhar, CEO-Vision Earthcare
When you go some place with less expectations it turns out to be the best, as I speak this to you...now I'm sitting at the Dehradun airport waiting to board the flight to Delhi. Let me share why this trip has been the most wonderful trip of my life. It feels as though I've come back with new dreams which will be unfolded each day as I experience them. An accomplishment, An achievement . This five day journey to the summit has erupted an hidden personality within me, to let go off my fears and embrace the challenges with an open mind. It has taught me to take baby steps if I have to accomplish my aim/ goals in my life. To avoid a fall you have to step on a firm ground and most importantly it has showed me that it is only you who can walk this difficult path.
- sangeeta henjmadi, psychologist and counselor
On the road to heaven, a mountain is just a stair
A mountain doesn't dare, a mountain is just there
After more than a decade, of sailing the sea
I trek up a mountain, to meet the real me
- Commander sachin pawar, Indian Navy
I, as a trek leader feel more powerful as I make each of my trekkers powerful. When each of my trekkers take a decision in their life which could drastically put them out of their comfort zone and while doing that If They have thought about how they have persevered through the toughest conditions when they trekked with me, then I would consider it as a successful trek for them.