The Decisive question: Why do I trek?
Being a regular trekker, the most common question I come across, be at a workplace, be at home or at a trek itself, is ‘Why do you trek?’, ‘What makes you come back for another trek?’, ‘What keeps you going?’, ‘What do you achieve by doing this?’
Probably many of us, who have been trekking for quite a while, would have either come across these questions or would have asked themselves the same.
For better or for worse, for any trekker, these questions will haunt them forever, unless they find an answer to it. Cause, once they do, trekking will never be the same.
When we speak of any trek, it’s not just the climb or the ascent, its not just about making up to the peak and considering ourselves as achievers, we believe it’s much more than that.
Trekking is all about
Preparing yourselves and Making up your mind for the challenge
Every trek involves some amount of preparation. Be it physically, mentally, or be it in terms of carrying the appropriate gears.
The analogy over here is, many of them usually tend to underpack or overpack, who are traveling for the first time. Whereas trekkers who have been doing this for quite a while now, are much more prepared, they would know what to expect and the ample amount of gears to be carried. Almost every item they pack, they would have an explanation, reasoning, and thought process gone behind it. Even when the trek that they are attempting is all new and the trail is something which they are unaware of, but still they are rightly prepared.
When we look back on these, shouldn’t this be the thought process of facing new challenges in our lives? Yes, we wouldn’t be prepared for a particular challenge for the first time, but what if we keep facing them again and again? What if, do it for the nTH time, would we be scared of it as much as we did for the 1st time?
The companions you have through your journey
One of the invaluable essence of any trek is the chance for us to meet new people.
I recall meeting people varying from a 2nd-grade student to a CEO of a failed startup to a Ted-X speaker to an Army official. And each and every one of them had their own stories and their share of views.This is just a very small set of wide range of people that I have met.
You understand that your life isn’t as hard as the guy whose startup has just been shut down and he had bet his entire life on it.
You understand that sometimes you might have to slow down and think about your next move, when you meet a person who has just quit her job cause she isn’t liking the it anymore and going back to her hometown to understand whats next!?
You feel proud when you meet an Army Major and A Indian Army Sports coach and get to hear about their lifestyle and their stories.
So when was your last time you met someone outside your circle and got to know their side of stories? When was your last time, you met someone and you were inspired by their lifestyle?
The Trail, The Terrain and The Environment
The first thing we tend to notice when we reach the trailhead is the nature around us. No matter how times you visit the place, that’s the first thing you would notice and would never fail to appreciate its beauty.
And as the saying goes, the most important step is the ‘First step’. Once we start our trek, a lot of things unfold!! The trails tend to amuse you, the terrains look marvelous and everything around you looks so different from the world you have known!
The Climb itself
One of the most important part of any trek? The ascent or the climb itself!!
More the time we spend on the ascent, the faster we start losing our patience. All we could think of is how soon can we reach our destination, when would this journey get over? But, once we start going on more treks, we tend to get lesser such thoughts and rather appreciate and enjoy the onward journey and not worry about the destination much!
And it’s often evident that while we are on the trek, we tend to stumble upon a rock or a tree branch or a root, slip while crossing a river stream or wet terrain and fall. But what people tend to forget is that its all part of the journey. We don’t have to be over conscious about falling down, worrying about how awkward would it be or how bad would it be. It’s about how elegantly you pick yourself up.
The more the treks we go for, the more comfortable we get and learn the art of accepting that its all part of our journey.
The moments before the peak
Many people that I have been on a trek with, would have thought of giving up mid-way(or that’s what they think) or atleast once the question, ‘when is this all going to end?‘ would have crossed their minds.
And almost all of them, whom I have spoken to, who thought of giving up mid-way and later-on made it to the peak, had to say this, ‘I am glad that I didn’t stop there and made it to the peak!!’. It doesn’t matter if they had help or not, it doesn’t matter if they had to crawl the last part of it, but they were happy that they made it.
We had instances where two of us gave shoulder support to a fellow trekker so that he could reach the peak. There are instances on a Himalayan trek where the sherpas have literally carried down an injured trekker. We had instances where a trekker’s shoe sole was torn off but still managed to complete the trek.
Its the one last burst of energy that has to go through your mind before you can make it to the peak. when you feel like you have lost all the hopes but you still manage to pull it off.
The most crucial yet inconclusive part of the trek!
Most crucial, because that’s what we all have worked so hard for. Some got bruises, some have cramps, some are bleeding and some are tired, but most of us are there. We accomplished what we came for. The world looks different from up here. It seems less chaotic, much peaceful. It makes us all happy, for that moment while we are at the peak, all the hardship that we have gone through doesn’t seem to matter.
But why inconclusive?
Is that all? Just because we climbed one peak, does it make us the king of the mountains? We believe not. There are thousands of other peaks out there, waiting to be explored, waiting to be conquered and just one peak is like a needle in a haystack!
And finally, how can we forget about getting back down?
And that’s the most depressing part of any expedition and also the harsh reality. We cannot stay there forever! Such beautiful moments lasts only for a while, but stays in our memory forever.
Now, coming back to the actual question, ‘So, Why do I trek? What do I get from it?’
More than anything, trekking has been a life changer for me. It has taught me few important life lessons which we would appreciate as long as we live.
It has taught me, Patience and Perseverance towards our goal.
It has taught me, to be Humble, in understanding and knowing the other side of the story. To be humble in knowing, there are for more greater things than us.
It has taught me the importance of good fellow companions on our journey.
It has given me memories that I would cherish forever. And stories like these that I would be able to share.
And I will continue learning from it and keep coming back for more!