How it started:
I'm a kind of guy who loves to be in his comfort zone and would do anything just to avoid a conversation with a stranger, not a good quality to have if you want to travel solo. But I'm a strong believer of "Kaizen" i.e. One can continuously improve himself by taking up small challenges.
On last day of my internship I was looking for a way to pass the weekend and reward myself for all the hard work of last two months. “You should go to Kasol,” a friend suggested. I was sitting in front of my office computer aimlessly typing ‘unconventional travel destinations in North’ into Google. “You mean Kasauli,” I looked at him and asked. “No, Kasol,” he said, adding, “Look it up. I think you’ll like it.” I did few searches and concluded "Kasol is the backpacker's haven and stoner's paradise. It is situated on the banks of the River Parvati 4 Kms from Manikaran(sikh pilgrimage famous for its hot sulphur springs)".
Not more than an hour later I left for ISBT Delhi. I had no itinerary, no plan, no reservations only a bag consisting of few pair of clothes, some cash and a mixed feeling of excitement and fear. That moment reminded me of one of favorite song.
Aankhon mein sapne liye,
Ghar se hum chal to diye,
Jaane ye raahein ab le jayengi kahan
Luck was in my favor as I reached ISBT at 10 PM (Just in time) to board last Himachal Transport bus to Bhuntar at 10:05. Just 4 hours in my journey and I started regretting my decision of not to wait for a Volvo bus. But all the regret vanished as I opened my eyes to beautiful views of Parvati valley. Luckily I was sitting on the left side of driver. Those gigantic mountains covered with lush green blanket and silly Parvati river desperately trying to find its way out of this heaven, only a fool would want to leave this place.
Busy enjoying this magical beauty of mother earth I almost ignored a Russian traveler sitting next to me. She was carrying a large bag pack and wearing a kurta with "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama" printed all over it. She looked like a hippie turned yogi who has came to India in search of spirituality. That's when I realized, I would be better off if I found a companion for this trip. She was the perfect candidate for it. The feeling of social anxiety started running through my spine and like an efficient computer program my mind started to come up with excuses to avoid talking to her. 28, yes it came up with 28 excuses. Somehow I gathered courage and tried to chat her up, and failed. Maybe It was my poor conversation skills, maybe she wanted to be alone, maybe she did not understand English properly but I was happy that I tried at least. So I shifted my attention back to beauty of nature. It took me around 14 hours to reach Bhuntar and from there Kasol is just bus ride away.