My Little Secret (on How to get started with Travel)

Thursday, March 08, 2012


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

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24 comments

  1. I follow all the above groups. And trekked, cycled with them all except CTC and BASC.

    I am trying to graduate to self trek - with or without friend. I've solo cycled for 6 days but haven't trekked alone.

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    Replies
    1. Trekking totally alone will require some nerve, at least for me! Good luck with the solo trek. :)

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    2. Even I am trying for solo trek, but sometimes think, what if I can get some one, two will be better to manage things..

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  2. very nicely written, Neelima!! lots of people i meet come up and ask me how i manage to travel so much, esp with a kid in tow, and i have never known the right answer to give them, because how can they understand unless they have the same urge to travel as i have!! the next time anyone asks me that question, i will forward this article to them :)

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, if they want to, they will. We can take the horse only to the pond! ;)

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  3. Ultimately, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. The only way to get over it is to plunge right in!

    I sound so brave but I am yet to learn swimming :)

    Gouthami

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha, same here! I keep thinking one of these days I should take my own advice. ;)

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  4. This is nice, inspiring story :) I can only wish you lots of luck for many many more adventures ahead...

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  5. Wonderful site. ! it different.. ! shows up all your time and effort you have invested.. All the Best.. !

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  6. Hi, this is so inspiring :) I love to travel but none of my friends in much interested in it so i feel so frustrated. But i took some risk and went to Dharamshala & MCleodganj with 3 male friends (none of my female friend was willing to come). Then i went to a countryside farm with a group of total strangers and loved it!! I have just started but i do want to do a lot more of this :) God job by you.

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    Replies
    1. Glad to know you've taken things into your own hand and started traveling. :)
      While it could be a lot of fun, solo travel, you also need to be that much careful about where you are and with who you are. Travel, but safely. All the best for your future travel.

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  7. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info specially the last part :-D I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck. For me this kind of information is very important because I am not a regular traveller, as a traveller I have only experience of Frozen River Trek.

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  8. Thanks so much for the links of adventure groups!!
    I have absolutely no friends who want to travel except one fellow who I'm not allowed to go with! I'm still working on convincing my dad to let go of his Indian ideals.

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome Anisha! :)
      I exactly know what you mean. And I have many friends who have successfully convinced their parents to let them go on treks and such. Do try out Bangalore Ascenders for treks around Bangalore. And if you are situated elsewhere, do drop me a line. I can connect with you groups around those places as well.

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  9. Thanks. :)
    I will try Bangalore Ascenders! Have you ever gone with Basecamp Adventures?
    Good to hear that people have succeeded in convincing the parents!

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    Replies
    1. Nope, but I know Basecamp Adventures because it is run by my friend's friends. :)

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  10. Good going Neelima !!
    From past few years I have been wanting to travel to lot many places but had the same problem of not having company. Finally I some how plunged into the waters of Rishikesh for a rafting trip with a women's club.This was a good start and I realized that its not very difficult . I have booked for a roopkund trek next month.
    Just started to explore the world of travel, better late than never !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's wonderful news! You are right in saying it is not that difficult, once you take the first step. :)
      Roopkund is one amazing trek, I am sure you will have lots of fun. All the best with your further travels.

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  11. All the best neelima...Great job

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  12. Well, if, your grown up children want to go out for an adventurous road trip with friends, you can assist them finding the top suppliers of MPV rentals at the preferable location by clicking Mpvrentals.com.

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  13. Good on you, the only way to travel is either o n foot or in a rental car, my preference when in Iceland is car rental . 4x4 would be my choice but they can be expensive.

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