Why should you trek?

Srikrishna Chaitanya
Published on: August 2013
The Tagline of a company that makes popular trekking equipment goes thus:
'The Outdoors Lie within...'
It sounded quite arcane at the very outset. Just about a month later, my patterns of perception to that phrase and this world in general, have changed in their entirety. I now understand in the silent depths of my soul, what that really means. One would have to wonder, what I would have done in between. I Trekked!

Mihaly Csikszentimihaly, a legend in contemporary psychology is known for his famous book 'Flow: a Classic work on how to achieve happiness'. Mihaly believes that in order to live a life that is enriching and fulfilling, one needs to improve his quality of experience. According to the author, a 'flow' state of mind is what makes life deeply satisfying. He defines 'flow' as a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity and results in the achievement of a perfect state of happiness.
why should you trek,perception
Here is what many trekkers said about climbing:
"You look back in awe at the self, at what you've done. It just blows your mind". "The mystique of climbing is climbing itself... you get to the summit, glad that's it's over... but really you wish it could go on forever"

I can deeply relate to these truths after having been on the Goecha La trail in Sikkim, with Indiahikes. It is a widely accepted dictum among trekkers that some of their best friends are the ones they made on treks. While I myself would gladly testify to that statement, it always remained an enigma to me. I would wonder, "Why do I end up liking all my co-trekkers so much!" I found an answer in the words of an experienced mountaineer.

"There's no place that draws out the best from human beings than a mountaineering situation. Nobody hassles you to put your mind and body under tremendous stress to get to the top. You're all in it together. Who can u trust more in the 20th century than these people? People after the same self-discipline as yourself.

The Goechala trek is of extreme charm and profound natural beauty. Hot Maggi, freezing cold, unbelievable campsite, some stunning views of the snowcapped Kanchenjunga, 'Dark nights' and evenings affluent with a bunch of Nepali songs from the locals... I could go on... memories for life were these.

On Day 4, you wake up at 3 AM to prepare for a climb to the Dzongri top to witness the sunrise. You see the first golden rays of the sun touching the mighty mountains entrenched in snow. You transcend to a state of inexplicable joy. I was one with nature. For many days after that, I felt I didn't have the right words to describe this emotion. I now know that the word for it is 'Yugen' (Japanese).
Lakshmi Maya makes her living by serving tea and Maggi at Dzongri. Hers is one of the most soulful smiles I've ever seen. Her singing prowess in Nepali folk will leave you spellbound and high spirited. I had a chance to have some quiet time with her after she made me some great morning tea. I asked her how she managed to remain so youthful and enthusiastic in spite of such frugal means of living. She said, "Yeh sab Bhagwaan ne humko diya hai...Bas, Har din ko manana chahiye" (Everything is a blessing of God. We should just celebrate every day). She just proved to me that life looks so much better from behind a smile. Somehow, the elusive 'bright future', and life in general look so much more promising when among people with similar passions and ideologies. The world after all didn't seem a bad place to live in.

So friends, Indians and Gentlemen, just travel! More importantly, just trek! A great trek brings with it, wisdom that would otherwise not come with hundreds of books, deep peace that would otherwise not come with years of spiritual contemplation. When you are one with nature, nothing can touch you. It's not the peak that you conquer, but yourself. After all, isn't that the route to greatness?
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