High on the Mountains – Trek to Tarsar Marsar

This blog is not just about trekking or my experience during the Tarsar Marsar trek, but something much bigger. This blog is about connecting the dots, it is about pushing ourselves, it is about realizing that in reality, we do not have limitations or boundaries that we bind ourselves by, they are just in our mind. It is about how I went to Wayanad, Kerala with ‘On His Own Trip’, how that led to the Tarsar Marsar trek and how eventually due to that Rishikesh happened, and how these three trips altogether in three months changed my life forever.

Impact of Writing

I would like to start by telling you all how recently I have realized that writing is way more impactful than I thought. Earlier, I always used to think that my writings were just about me trying to inspire traveling by sharing my stories. But lately, I have realized, it is so much more. With the kind of life I live, where each day offers something new, each week is unpredictable, and each month some trip or person happens that leads to life-altering decisions, life has become really fast-paced. I live in the present mostly, and neither dwell on my past nor think about my future. At such a point, writing gives me the opportunity to sit and realize how much has changed just in a few weeks or months. Like at the moment, it made me realize how in just four months I have grown so much, realized so many things about myself, met people who have become so close, and took decisions that altered my life for good. So, this journey of blogging whose sole intention was to inspire travel has ended up being one of the major contributors of self-reflection and growth for me, further strengthening my belief that whenever one tries to do good for others, the universe somehow returns all of it to them at an even larger scale.

How I decided to do the trek – ‘If I think I can’t do it, then I will definitely do it’

It was the last week of June, I was in Wayanad with the travel company, On his own trip (OHOT) with Captain Nero aka Neeraj Narayan as my trip leader. 2-3 girls from the trip had been discussing about going to Tarsar Marsar trek next month with OHOT. One fine night, on a random stroll, with my roomie cum friend that I had met there, Rahul, a conversation about the Tarsar Marsar trek struck. He asked me if I am thinking of going and my precise words were ‘No, because I know I can’t do it’. A little background to that statement: a lot of major health issues had happened in the past few years, that combined with my last trek experience, made me lose faith in my fitness, and ended up in me deciding that I am not fit enough to trek till I attain at least basic fitness. While I have talked a lot in my writings about how trekking or anything requires mental fitness more than physical, and I knew I had good mental fitness, but I still felt my physical fitness lacked so much that there was no chance to do trekking.

On the last day, when everyone had left, except me and Captain, I got up early and took myself on a date where that conversation with Rahul and that statement I said came back to me. That very moment, the pain and the intensity behind that statement hit me, and I asked myself if I really feel I can’t do it. The answer came immediately ‘Yes’. Then, at that very moment, I decided, I HAVE TO DO IT. That was the day in my life when I decided that every time I say ‘I can’t do it’, I will do it. That momentary decision, plus a little talk with the captain; 2-3 days later while I was traveling and exploring Kerala on my own, I finally booked Tarsar Marsar trek. Now, there was no turning back. Not only that, but I also left my flat on the same day, while in Kerala, because I realized that this was the life, I wanted to choose for myself, a life of discomforts and growth and doing all the ‘cant’s’ rather than following all the ‘shoulds’ set by the society.

Tarsar Marsar Trek

A little nervous, a little scared, I boarded my flight to Kashmir. Even though Kashmir, its beauty, and the mountains were enough to shed away most of my inhibitions, I was still a little nervous the night before the first day of the trek. I remember talking to one of my friends cum elder sister who I initially had met at Wayanad, and telling her how I was feeling a little uneasy.

I think hardly 10 minutes into the trek, and no one could ever take me back to the Kajal who said she thinks she can’t do it. It was difficult to remember even anymore why I even had such a thought in my mind. 10 minutes. That’s all it took for the mountains to remind me that I was born for this, to trek and to travel, and even if there are multiple hardships, I don’t give up, like ever, so why was I even hesitant to come, what was the worst that could have happened really.

Contrary to my expectations from myself, most of the time I was actually running, helping other people out, or hopping around, merrily enjoying the trek. There certainly were moments when it was getting so difficult that I was literally counting every minute like when the rain was pouring endlessly, my shoulder was paining like anything from a previous injury and the destination was nowhere visible. But to be honest, it took me quite a while to even remember this incident because even though it might have felt overwhelming and difficult at that moment, it doesn’t even matter today. All that matters is that I did the trek, happily, so much so that now I don’t want to just trek often but increase the difficulty level with each trek, so much so that on my next birthday I want to be at the peak of a trek, so much so that now even when my leg is injured so badly and I am on bed rest and barely able to walk, my first question at every doctor visit is when I will be able to trek again.

I had been holding this inhibition, this insecurity for months and months before this trek happened, and had been feeling so utterly bad about the fact that I thought that I can’t trek. And all it took was just that one push, one thought, one decision, to realize how utterly stupid I was, and how it was way more in my mind than in the reality.

We are the only thing that can limit ourselves

It is not just about trekking, but life in general. I realized that sometimes we create these limitations or boundaries for ourselves which actually don’t even exist in reality, or at least are not as bad as we think of them to be. While things might be hard, they might be difficult, but nothing is impossible, really. We actually don’t have any limitations in our life, the only limitations that exist are actually in our own minds. Think about it.

Connecting the dots – Steve Jobs

I have always been a big fan of Steve Jobs. In his speech at Stanford, he talked about a concept called ‘Connecting the dots’. He said that everything that we do in our lives ultimately connects to each other in a magnificent way, and we can’t see this connection right now looking ahead in the future, but we certainly can look in the past and see these connections years later.

Since I have started writing, it has been easier to see these connections. And, today, while writing this blog, I see the dots which connected since the starting of 2021 and led me here today.

As 2021 started, I did 3 back-to-back trips (totally unplanned). A few days after I returned from the third one, Goa, in January end, someone I met there, died. This made me take a day off from work and think about life in general. The day ended on the note where I gave my resignation from the company.

Fast forward to April, the notice period of 3 months finally came to an end, for me to finally travel, but fate had other plans and the second lockdown happened. In this lockdown, I reconnected with my habit of avid novel reading and read this book ‘The guy on his own trip’ by ‘Neeraj Narayan’. This guy, and his story, was so relatable and inspiring that I ended up immediately booking his very next trip. This trip was Wayanad, which led to Tarsar Marsar Trek, further breaking my inhibitions about trekking.

Almost at the end of the trek, I met this guy, who I talked with, for hardly 5 minutes, but things he said made me question my decision of not wanting to convert my passion of traveling into my profession. We ended up connecting on Instagram and going on a trip to Rishikesh, where I met yet another two beautiful souls, who not only ended up being up and close with me further in my life but further somehow made me ponder about converting travel into my profession.

So, this guy, who I met for barely 5 minutes at the end of the Tarsar trek not only ended up taking me on one of the best trips of my life (Rishikesh) but also changed my perspective about so many things in such a short span. He finally resolved my dilemma of if I wanted to convert my passion into my profession, by giving me the last much-needed push, and ended up playing a big role in my decision to pursue travel full time. A decision that led me to alter everything else that I had planned for myself in the past few years of my life. It is amazing how the dots connected, right?

It all started with me leaving my job. At that time, I had no idea I would ever consider converting traveling into my profession. So much has changed since then. I further left my flat, then these amazing trips happened, then the realization about treks, about myself, and all of it ended up in me attaining my happiness and ‘sukoon’, and making some major life decisions about traveling, my passion.

You see now how the dots connect? One thing led to another. The only thing I probably did was that I stayed open to changes and whenever an opportunity knocked, I shouted ‘YESSSSSS’.

I don’t know where life would lead me next. But one thing I can say for sure when I will look back to today at the end of 2021, so much more would have changed already, and so many more dots would have connected that I probably can’t sit and guess right now.

Hi! I’m Kajal and I love to travel. Follow along as I travel around the globe and share my favorite places.

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