October 24, 2006

Why do people trek?

Why do people trek?

When I reflect on that question, two faces come to my mind. One is that of a guy who was my room-mate. And the other is that of a girl who used to work with me. Both of them are owners of a mind that is extremely practical that sometimes, while talking to them, you would wonder if they are cynics.

The guy abhorred the thought of trek or anything that involved sweating out. He would buy such an idea only if it resulted in some tangible benefits, like attracting femme fatales ;-). The girl thought that all those who were into 'stunts' like trekking, did that because they wanted to attract the opposite sex! That there were better things one could do e.g. getting new stuffs for your home, washing, cleaning etc.

Both of them had asked me this question: "Why do you trek?" Sometimes I feel that that question is as good (or worse) as "Why do you watch movie?" OR "Why do you follow football?"

I trek due to many reasons
  1. I love photography and trekking provides me ample opportunities to click nice snaps
  2. I like to challenge myself physically and mentally. Have you tried clicking towards the end of an arduous and strenuous trek? You will find it difficult to apply your mind. Your mind will be tired; so will be your body. While trying to hold your camera still, you will find your hands shaking. You will cease to observe good frames that you would have otherwise noticed. On the top of it, if you are trekking in a team, others would want you to speed up and reduce the number of clicks, so that all can reach the destination asap. That demands striking the right balance.
  3. I enjoy the planning part of a trek.
  4. Trekking gives me an opportunity to meet excellent minds. Their good qualities inspire me.
  5. Trekking helps in building confidence
  6. Often I find myself exposing the daring side of me. Taking risks... I like that part.
  7. I get a chance to be with nature, far away from the 'known' city, exploring the 'unknown'
  8. Trekking gives me a sense of freedom
  9. It gives me that precious time to think about stuffs that I wouldn’t have if I had closed myself in a city.
I recollect reading somewhere that trekking builds character. I agree with it. Trekking is a process that has many stages. Each stage has something to offer. It is not just about reaching the destination. Preparing for the walk; walking the path, which leads to the destination; making the best use of your meager resources; all are equally enjoyable. I agree with Pirsig (on Mountain treks) when he says “Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustains life, not the tip. Here’s where things grow. But of course, without the top you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides.” That is precisely why I think photography and trekking go hand-in-hand.

I did a google to see what other trekkers think about trekking. Most of them had thoughts that were similar to that of mine. There were a few interesting thoughts that didn't cross my mind. One was that that some people trek to have sex!

This website (click here) says that "Discovery and excitement is arguably the single largest factor why people trek around. This is part of our human instinct and has never been easier to do so than now." Point to be noted.

The most interesting website I came across was this (click here).

Some of the reasons listed by this discussion group are
  1. To tackle difficult situations
  2. To develop and enhance human relations and other qualities like adjustments, flexibility etc.
  3. To make one more tolerant
  4. To gather experience that one can never get anywhere else
  5. To know how to be self reliant and how to handle difficult situations and of course different and difficult people.
  6. To learn how to manage meager resources and how to be ingenious
I think trekking is fun. And I love such fun. That’s the most important reason why I trek.

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