Friday, January 29, 2010

Here is why...

It was back in October 2008 when I went on my first trek. Since then I have been on seven more treks. Although that is not much, some of my friends and relatives have come to think of me as a big time trekker! I must admit, I kind of like that :) But every once in a while people ask me, ‘why do you go on treks?’ and I have never been able to give them a satisfactory answer. I find it very difficult to explain it in one or two simple sentences. So this is my attempt at explaining why I go on treks.

The Place:
Right from my school day, I have always had a desire to travel. Travel shows used to be and still are one of my favourite. When I first started trekking, the fascination of going to a new place was the only driving force. None of my friends were keen on trekking. So when I went on my first trek with Club Adventura, I did not know even a single person in the group. I was there just to see the place.
The whole of first trek was through thick evergreen forests of Western Ghats and even at the mountain top we were not able to get a clear view due to the forest cover. But after a couple of treks I realised that the places we visited looked far more beautiful compared to commercial tourist places. One of the problems of tourist places is that there are simply too many people around. A place that would otherwise have been serene and beautiful becomes cluttered and noisy and polluted. Since the trekking spots are generally not easily accessible we normally have the place for ourselves. To top it all up, you get to sleep on mountain tops under starry skies and wake up to breathtaking sunrises or a waterfall!

Simple pleasures:
I know this is a cliché. But it’s true. Simple things like a piece of fruit or some small snack suddenly tastes delicious after a day’s trek. Adventura plans treks in such a way that we generally come across a small waterfall somewhere towards the end of the trek. I just love them. There is nothing like having a bath in a waterfall and playing in those shallow streams. Damn I need to learn swimming!

The Escape:
I work in Bangalore. So in the beginning weekends meant loafing around malls with friends. But after a while it got boring. And by Sunday evenings I would feel that I had completely wasted the weekend having done nothing. Now when there is a trek planned, there is something really exciting to look forward to. It’s a great escape from routine.

The Adventure:
I am sure everyone likes adventure. But there are some of us who are just not cut out for it. I am one of them. I was extremely scared of heights. I am still claustrophobic. I can’t stand cold. I easily get sunburnt and I can’t swim. But then it is very exciting to stand at the edge of a cliff or jump off one with a paraglidder.

We usually trek on weekends and it’s amazing how friendly we get with complete strangers in just two days. On a trek we are away from everything else that can be otherwise distracting. So it’s easier for everyone to mingle. And since there is nothing else to do we have enough time to share long stories or stupid jokes or sing old hindi songs or dance to new ones. Apart from this I also get to see a lot of different people and their lifestyle. It gives me a different perspective of the world around.

I don’t have to say much here. If you are a photographer, you’ll know that there are a lot of things that you just can’t do sitting at home.

The Challenge:
Apart from the people, the place, photography and everything else there is a sport angle to it. This was not so obvious to me at first. People used to tell stories about how they covered a 3 day trek in half the time and I remember asking ‘But why hurry? You had planned it for 3 days right?’. Now I know what they mean. There is a challenge involved. And that’s why we have a sense of accomplishment after finishing a trek. It’s a truly satisfying feeling which you have to experience to understand what I mean.