I am a mountain lover and would love to settle there. They have given me the warmth of a mother, the company of a friend and much more. This time I took to the mountains in a big way by going on a 17 day trip to Himachal Pradesh with a day in Punjab.
Little did I know that the presence of these mighty structures would add a touch of magic to my trip where I would end up doing so many things for the first time ever in my life!
Taking an excerpt from an article on theatlantic.com, I quote:
“Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions. The idea that experiential purchases are more satisfying than material purchases has long been the domain of Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. Since 2003, he has been trying to figure out exactly how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material purchases. In the journal Psychological Science last month, Gilovich and Killingsworth, along with Cornell doctoral candidate Amit Kumar, expanded on the current understanding that spending money on experiences provide[s] more enduring happiness…”
Agreeing with the above research, I believe money can be earned but not time. Now is the time to do stupid, exciting and scary things because if you don’t do them now then you will have a boring adulthood without anything exciting to recall and feel nostalgic about, right?
I would without a doubt remember these experiences for a lifetime.
Couchsurfing: Yes, it is India. Yes, we were girls staying at a guy’s apartment. Yes, we were anxious. Yet we couchsurfed with Rajesh Mehta aka Sunny in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala. A helpful, courteous and sweet human being, he hosted us not only for a room at the guest house but also took us around the local area and treated us to delicious food. Thank you Sunny!
I have a brother: Yes, you heard it right. We met a bunch of Sunny’s friends while at the guest house where we were couchsurfing. Conversations opened up for everyone and within two days, we 10 people at the guesthouse, forged a lifelong relation. We can’t define the human connection it possessed but we can only feel it. Everyone was sharing their life experiences when some talks affected me and Surjit in a very different way. And in that very moment I found my brother. The tears, talks and tea had worked their magic.
Paragliding: A pending item on my bucket-list came to life at Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh. Here I took the leap of faith and jumped off the mountain to fly high amidst nature. Pure bliss. This once-in-a-lifetime experience was made special with pictures clicked with the Go-pro. Oh buoy, we nailed it!
Catching colourful dreams: We all dream. Some of us day-dream. And then some of us attract good dreams with dream catchers. That is how an evening was spent by me in Bhagsunag, making a dream catcher. People around thought I missed going to the Bhagsunag waterfall. They failed to notice what I gained, a skill which filled me with happiness. The colourful threads, the interesting people, the happy vibe makes me want to go there again!
Stargazing: Experiences are priceless. Stargazing was one such experience. Imagine looking at the milky way with your naked eyes! India Is truly Incredible! Yes, we saw the milky way, countless falling stars and a million odd stars. For once, our eyes were feeling small to capture the expanse of stars that nature had to offer to us in those few nights.
*Pic by Krishna Ganatra
Trek to Rasol: I like trekking and have been to treks around Mumbai. But this was the first time that I attempted a hard level trek while in Kasol. Trekking to Rasol, a small village, meant 4 hours uphill trek full of stones and improper roads. I attempted and conquered! What a tiring day it was when I look back but the one that was totally worth it for all the pain that we endured.
Meditating amidst nature: I always dreamed about this one. And finally, I did it! Sitting by the river side on rocks with mountains around, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Many such calm and peaceful breaths followed and time flew. Thoughts flowed just like the passing river and stopped at few important people and events that are rocks of my life.
Experiencing a local fair at Barot: How does a local fair in an isolated village sound like? Definitely a lot of fun to me after visiting the annual fair at Multhan in Barot valley. The cute kids hovering around the rides, the housewives all dressed up in their finest garb shopping and the men chatting while eating their favourite flavour of ice-creams made for a different experience than a city fair
Local bus journey across the trip: Yes, we were on a budget trip and the local buses were our only option to stay true to our budget. Countless buses, countless people, nameless faces and interesting talks helped us reach our destination. Your trip to Himachal is incomplete if you do not soak the local bus experience where you will be stared at, talked at and be amazed at.
Draw at a café: After reaching our destination, McLeod Ganj, a little later in the day, we decided to chill in the local area and headed to Dharamkot on foot. Known for its café culture, we entered Moon Light café and ordered for snacks. While looking around the huge expanse of books on the rack, the sketch books caught my attention. After the initial excitement of glancing through the poems written, the sketches made and the thoughts written by fellow travellers, I got down to serious business of pouring my creativity on those blank pages. Never have I done this before; sitting in a café, sipping on hot chocolate and sketching my heart out on canvas. Did I just say, I want to do this more frequently?!
Travel indeed opens up new doors and satiates your curiosity like no one else can.