Because it is women’s day, I thought I’d let you in on my little secret! My little secret is about how to get started with travel. I get a lot of mails asking if I could take them on any trip along with me. I get equal number of mails saying how they want to do what I do, travel like I do. The point of this post is not to brag, but to tell you how, read on.
Let’s take a trip down the memory lane, let’s go back to 2008. I had just come back from Ladakh and I was crazily obsessed with the idea of travel and adventure only with no means or resources to do so. I knew I wanted to travel and explore but I just didn’t know how. A turmoil, rather the size of a cyclone in my mind was keeping me restless, how I do I go to Himalayas, how do I camp in the wilderness, how do I be safe, when do I, how can I, what should I and so many more questions were killing me. So how did I overcome these problems?
To tell you the truth, there’s no secret. Would it surprise you if I said, it was by trial and error? First I pestered my friends to come along. They couldn’t keep up or rather didn’t want to keep up with my voracious appetite for travel. Then I considered going for a trek with some adventure group but I didn’t know how safe it would be for a girl to go trek in the forest with strangers but I took the risk and it paid off well. Today I have so many wonderful friends who trek along with me. Then I decided to go however possible and it just so happened that I found company and when I didn’t, I went ahead anyway.
Even after going to Ladakh and going for few treks in Western Ghats I still wasn’t sure I’d be able to go to Himalayas anytime soon. But when the Roopkund trek was announced, I registered. Believe me, it was such a big deal and there were butterflies in my stomach whenever I thought of the fact that I actually signed up for a trek in the mighty Himalayas and that too a high altitude one at that. But all that anticipation turned into admiration when I reached Himalayas, I had reached home after all. Before I took that step, it was a big deal to go to the Himalayas and once I took the first step, I wondered, what was the big deal at all?
Don’t tell me you weren’t scared to come to an unknown city and earn you living. Don’t tell me you weren’t scared by the thought that your family isn’t close by to take care of you. But you did survive alone in the big city, didn’t you? When it comes to a crunch, we all find a way around the problem. Just go ahead and take that trip you’ve always dreamed of. Age is not an issue, money is not an issue, time is not an issue and above all, gender is not an issue. If we truly want to, we will find a way. If you don't believe me, see what Deepa Mallik did despite being paralyzed waist below..
There is a reason why we can’t understand what the other person means when he gives us a good piece of advice. His knowledge comes from his experience and until we experience it ourselves, we’ll never understand what he meant in first place. It is quite easy to assume that since we are traveling so much, we can guide you on the path to eternal wandering. But that is so not true! Frankly, I do not know the answer. I cannot tell you how to travel. You have to find your answer. You will face problems and you will overcome them in your own way, it is not necessary that the same solution will work for both of us. It is not necessary that we will both face the same problem to begin with. But you already have crossed half the hurdle by making up your mind that you want to travel. Crossing the other half just requires you to take that first step. If you will never take that step, you will never know what could’ve been.
I promise, there will be no looking back after that!
P.S – It’s nice to say all this but it doesn’t mean I am suggesting you throw caution to wind and set out. Travel, but be safe. :)
Here’s few places where you can start.
Bangalore Ascenders – I go for treks around Western Ghats with them, good bunch of people.
Indiahikes – I go for Himalayan treks with them, good locations and good crowd.
Youth Hostels Association of India – I go with them for some interesting events like cycling, trekking across desert. Comfortable arrangements. A little old school but definitely worth the experience.
Chennai Trekking Club – Used to go with them for a lot of adventurous treks in South earlier. Not sure of the present condition and crowd.
Bangalore Bikers Club – I have never been with them but they do have a lot of events and crowd for folks interested in cycling
A heavy dose of inspiration to explore the unknown – BCMTouring
A Wikipedia of travel and trek information and travelers - Indiamike