There’s a lot that goes in preparing for your first trek - physical fitness, mental toughness and buying new gear. One common concern of first-time trekkers is the fear of the unknown.
‘What will it be like?’
‘Will I be able to handle this new experience?’
‘No shower for a week! What?’
‘You poop where?’
I get it. I was anxious too.
But anxiety is good, it means you’re alive and about to experience something new.
I can guarantee you one thing. You will come back transformed.
Here’s what to expect on your first trek.
A strong sense of friendship, loyalty and mutual support develops amongst individuals who share a common experience or goal.
In the army, camaraderie is often developed through the shared experience of military training, missions, and combat. On a trek, it’s the journey that all trekkers take to reach the summit and return to base safely. The experience of going through hardship together forges deep friendships.
Every time I go on a trek I meet people that I want to trek again with. On the next trek they bring someone that they get along with and the tribe keeps growing. My closest friends are people I met in Stok Kangri and Goechala a decade ago. We decided to always trek together. What started as a handful of us has grown to a closed knit tribe of over two dozens trekkers.
We inspire, push and stand by each other in any situation. That’s what you will find, if you’re open to it.
You get to meet you
We identify ourselves with our jobs, families, hobbies and friends. But forget that these are extensions of us. Once you take off from work, kiss your family goodbye and switch off your phone, you can’t escape the real you.
It’s been a while you met this person and now there is all the time in the world to catch up. It’s nice to get in touch with the person living inside your body from time to time. If you don’t know who you are, how do expect to grow?
That’s what you can gain from a trek, inner growth. It comes in the form of happiness or healing. But you will return with the realisation that there is more to you than you knew.
Spending time in the mountains will make you a better parent, child, student, employee, entrepreneur.
Time To Think
There will be stretches on the trek where it’s only you. You and all your thoughts. Many of them might have been under the rug for a while. Our daily lives don't give us the opportunity to sit down and have this dialogue. But now, they surface and seek your attention.
There’s no better place or time to sort them than in the mountains. When there’s no responsibility or task seeking your focus, you realise how easy it is to sort through your thoughts. Some call this process, meditation.
Thoughts are like pieces of luggage on a conveyor belt. If you don’t process them they keep going around and around.
When you meditate or do anything that is meditative, you pick a thought that has been circling in your head, process it and remove it from the belt. Forever. This gives room for new thoughts.
No wonder even after a challenging trek, trekkers come back rejuvenated. Trekking is the best thing you can do for your mental health.
We are one lucky bunch of Indians
Assuming you plan to trek in India, you are about to realise how fortunate we are. Aravalli, Satpura, Sahyadri, Eastern Ghats and the youngest one, Himalayas are in India.
Nature enthusiasts from all over the world plan for months. They apply for visa and pay big bucks to come and spend time in mountains that are in our backyards. You can be anywhere in the country and reach Himalayas in less than 24 hours. Now that’s something!
Not all treasure is silver and gold. Our mountains are the most valuable treasures of our country. They make our lives better and keep our country protected and powerful.
But with great power comes greater responsibility.
Every time you go to the mountains, bring your trash down. Ask your trek operator how they eliminate the collected trash. Avoid taking snacks in plastic and plastic bottles. Simple stuff.
Protection of our country and nature is not the responsibility of soldiers alone. We have a part to play too.
If Money is 👑 Health is 🏰
Mountains don't care about the state of your financials. They only reflect the state of your health.
Please don't mistake me to be someone who doesn't like money. My reasoning is that you should be healthy long enough to enjoy your money.
What a pity it would be to work your ass off in your 30's 40's and 50's to accumulate wealth and spend it on hospital bills in your 60's and 70's.
Spend time and money on your health today, so you have more time to enjoy money.
Play the long game. Good health is the fuel that will keep you in the game.