Disha Shetty, a young writer, has recently had her first taste of trekking. And she’s in love with the mountains. As a Mumbaikar, she has explored several treks in Maharashtra and is currently packing her bags for a week-long trek in the Himalayas. Here, she jots down her thoughts, saying that every trek has a take-away.
I believe trekking can change your complete mindset
While growing up, I spent more time in the library and on the couch, in front of the television, than on the playground. I spent the past two years working insanely long hours at a TV channel. When I quit and joined an online news portal, with more relaxed timings, ‘getting a life’ was at the top of my to-do list. I must say, I certainly did get a life and somehow, trekking became a huge part of it.
It all started with a small trek to Lohagad Fort near Lonavala early last year. Then, in December 2014, on a trip to Pune with friends, I insisted on trekking to Sinhagad Fort. While I wanted to do the trek for the novelty of it, by the end of the trek, I wanted more. Somewhere along the trek I understood my limits – both mentally and physically.
Until recently, I had thought I knew myself well, but I realised that I could push my body further than I thought. Even though I was never a sportsperson, I enjoyed the rigours of a trek – the view from the top, the adrenaline rush, the experience of the climb, the excitement that comes with planning, packing and travelling. I simply wanted to trek some more. So, recently, I went to Tung Fort near Lonavala.
We were a group of around 20 trekkers. We left on a Saturday night from Mumbai and reached the base of the fort in the wee hours of Sunday morning. At 6 am, after some rest, we were ready for the climb, fully equipped with jackets, shoes and torches in our hands. As we went higher, the sun came up, bringing the surrounding beauty to focus.
The sight was something to behold. Below us was Pawna lake, glistening and blue, next to lush green fields and quaint little homes scattered here and there. It was especially wondrous because we were not very far from Mumbai. Being raised in the crowded metropolis, my eyes are used to jarring sights of concrete across the city. Greenery is a rarity. And yet, just a few hours’ drive away from the overcrowded city, was this sight.
On Monday morning, I was back at my desk, writing and editing articles. But the high from the trek was yet to wear off. In my head, I had already begun planning the next one.
While it might sound strange, I feel that trekking has changed me as a person over the past few months. My mind feels free to wander like it had never done before. I feel no worries any more. Earlier, when I set goals for myself, the small steps needed to reach it seemed daunting; Now, I feel a shift in my perspective. The goal looks more important; obstacles will be easy to handle.
If you ask any friend of mine, they’ll tell you that “Disha is the kind of person who plans, organises and picks the safest path to reach her goal. She’s not a risk-taker.” But as I climbed higher and higher on the edge of the hill, I learnt that I was an adventurer. I loved the adrenaline rush. It was nice to meet this side of me.
It felt like these treks were defying my entire past, showing me a new person. For instance, I always thought I like to surround myself with people I’m close to. But I went on this trek with 20 strangers and I loved being with them. I believe it can absolutely help anyone get rid of self reservation, considering there is no privacy for anything. (You know what I mean).
Even my parents, who always thought of me as their little daughter, are suddenly looking at me differently. They have been watching me pack my bags and take off on all treks like a strong independent girl. I no longer have to wrestle any restrictions. I’m more confident about travelling as a woman. I love every bit of this change. I feel like I’m testing my limits, one by one.
I have just booked tickets for a week-long Himalayan trek to Sandakphu, something that I would not have even dared to think about. Me? Going to Himalayas? But here I am, readying myself, with trekking shoes, warm clothes and what not!
To every girl especially, whether on the road to self discovery or not, I would recommend a trek. You will be surprised to learn your limits, or should I say, the lack of them.