Notes from a solo trip!

I’m very excited while writing this blog as I’m going to write about my first full fledged “solo trip”. Yes! I was lucky enough to have been supported by my parents to travel solo. It wasn’t easy, neither for my parents, nor for me. I was nervous and experienced all sorts of butterflies in stomach till the end of my journey. Parents were of course worried for my safety. They always come to drop me; no matter whether I’m traveling in a group or I’m traveling solo. I saw fear in their eyes. Mom was perspiring in normal conditions where as dad was quiet. I remember my dad saying – “jab tak tu vapis nahi ati, hume dar rahega. Par dar se ghabrake ghar nahi baithna (We will be worried until you are home but the fear cannot make us sit at home)”. Tears came rolling down my cheeks on hearing this. Grasping all my courage, I picked my bags and boarded the bus to McLeodganj.

View of Himalayas from Green Hotel!

View of Himalayas from Green Hotel!

The next morning I was in McLeodganj at 5:45AM. McLeod bus stand is not far from Main Square. My hotel was near Main Square on Bhagsu Road. I decided to walk towards my Hotel and waited for the lady who is the owner of the hotel to open it and allot me the keys of the booked room. The chosen hotel for stay was “Green Hotel”. The lady is really nice and helping. I was given a room with the view of Himalayas. I took a quick cat nap to fend off the last night’s fatigue of travel. McLeod has plethora of eating options with some very good cafes and restaurants. So there is no need to worry about food when in McLeod. I got ready and had breakfast in Green’s restaurant. I spent whole day in leisure, just visiting two or three places. I was actually saving my energy for the trek for next day which was my main purpose of traveling solo.

 

Starting point to trek!

Starting point to trek!

Before I started the journey from Delhi till starting the trek to Triund, I was having different kind of thoughts in my mind. Sometimes it was looking for omen of good and sometimes for omen of bad. Like when I left the hotel in the morning for the trek, I had to take a cab till the starting point of trek, i.e., Galu temple. I asked the cab driver to wait for any other passenger or trekker to come so that I can share the fare with that person. 400 bucks seemed too heavy for pockets. Not finding anyone after 20 minutes of wait, it came to my mind that may be God is giving me hints for not going alone for the trek. Superstitious I was being. I then decided to pay 400 bucks and take the cab to the starting point. There’s a small shop at the starting point which can serve you with all sorts of chocolates, biscuits, chips and drinks along with butter toast, Indian masala chai, coffee and omelette. I had my cup of “pahadon vali cha (the mountain tea)” and started the trek thereafter. Before starting the trek, I requested a group of Tibetan students at the shop to let me have a tent nearby their tents at night on the mountain top. They were really sweet to agree to it. This was my first stance of talking to strangers and was now little confident about staying there at night. Since it was a backpacker trip, I had a rucksack on my back which weighed around 15kg and a small bag on my front. I started walking very slowly. I didn’t care about the time I would take to reach Triund but to reach there. The trek is considered one of the easiest treks in Himalayas. To be very frank it is not that easy for city dwellers like me who are more habitual of walking on plains. There are lots of pebbles on the way that will make you stumble and large stones that will make you take longer steps and thus will make the climbing cumbersome for you. Everybody coming downhill was motivating the people trekking uphill. I trekked well till the mid way where there is “Magic View Cafe”. It was only after here that I started to perspire and felt very tired. I had exhausted all my stamina and was only left with my will. There was a point when I felt like going back because I couldn’t take a single step ahead with my bag on my back. To my rescue came a porter with his three mules. I request him to carry my rucksack on his mule so that I can

Rucksack and I!

Rucksack and I!

climb to the top. He agreed to carry it with him for 100 bucks. I was now worried for getting my bag back. Everything was in that bag and what I would do if I didn’t get it back was a thought that came to my mind when I saw the porter going away from my eyes. I took good one hour of time to cross just a few metres of stretch which should not have taken more than 15 minutes. I very well remember at one point over here, an old man saying me – “It’s not that far. You can do it. God be with you”. It really motivated me to keep going. Anyways, after crossing all the hurdles, I reached the Triund top in 4 hours and 17 minutes. I took one hour lesser than the last time when I climbed Triund. The first thing I did on reaching the top was searching my bag. I got it with much ease than expected. Mountain people are descent and trustworthy! I then searched for the group of Tibetan students and got a tent booked near their tents. Ohh! I forgot to mention that I was going to be without network here for next whole day till I go downhill. The food is available here but little costly. That’s ok because getting a food at such height is a great deal in itself. I then relaxed for an hour and soaked the mountain sun. I have always felt the healing effect of soaking my body in the mountain sun. The mind comes to peace! And I get time to contemplate! This is the advantage of travelling solo.

The retiring sun!

The retiring sun!

After some rest, I strolled around the valley and clicked some pictures. Here I met two strangers – Jas and Sourav. Our language connected us well and we became friends. They clicked really good pictures of meJ. Who doesn’t like to get clicked? These are the memories that will always remain with me forever and I could go back to them whenever I will see the pictures. We then, strolled together and clicked some pictures till the sun was set to retire for the day. The sky turned into hues of orange and blue with the crescent moon, stars and lit up towns of Dharamshala and McLeodganj down the hill. It was gorgeous! It was a magical moment. We tried capturing the moment which came out quite well but it cannot be better than what the naked eyes saw. The shopkeeper who provided us the tents build up a bonfire and we sat with other trekkers to have dinner around that bonfire. We talked about photographs, places to which we belong, travel stories and trekking of course. Soon we were under the galaxy of stars with Milky Way visible to our eyes. It was both stunning and soothing to eyes. I felt cosmic energy in my body! It is hard to explain in words! As the bonfire was losing its fire and heat, we all joined the group of Tibetan students who were really high, fun and frolic. We then played antakshri (a game where teams are divided and one has to sing a song from the last word of the song that the other team has sung), sang random songs, talked on various topics from politics to religious to spiritual to being vegans. I remember Champa,

Gorgeous night view from Triund!

Gorgeous night view from Triund!

a Tibetan guy from Ladakh singing a Ladakhi folk song for us. Ishi, the guy from Bhutan sang a Bhutanese folk song. Varun, a Himachali guy from Kangra sang Himachali folk songs. And Sourav, the Punjabi guy from Jalandhar sang Bollywood and Punjabi songs for us. I too sang few songs and thanks to them for bearing my singing (it is actually very bad). Then Champa, Ishi and there one more friend made tea for everybody. I liked the way they served tea to everybody. Few hours ago I was nervous of travelling alone and now I was sitting among a group of strangers, chatting, singing songs and having tea. “A simple hello can lead to million thanks”. We then bade goodbye and dozed off in our Nomadic abode (tent). I couldn’t sleep at night because of freezing temp. I had an additional dread: I feared that my bladder might not hold out. And it was “freezing your ass” task to release the bladder in that freezing temp under the open sky. Sadly, I had no other choice. After this, I wasn’t comfortable for around next 20 minutes.

I got up little early to see the spectacular sunrise amidst hills. The locals said that it will not happen before 7:00am. Not taking a chance to miss it, I was up before 6:00am. The sun rose behind the hills giving the hope of warmth. I remembered this poem by Miachel Watts:

The sun is rising over the hills
Lighting the dark fields and rivers.

The red burning fire in the sky
Brings the shepherds warnings for the morning.

The fire is spreading, further and further,
Shining in the eyes of those that are stirring.

The passion of red overpowering the
Darkness, greyness and coldness of the night.

The redness spreads the heat of the fire –
Others cannot fail to be touched by its power.

The morning grows stronger and stronger –
Just like our love it is infectious and spreads.

The redness of the fire in the sky
Burns forever in our heart.

The fire in the sky!

The fire in the sky!

New day began with watching the sunrise and then brushing my teeth under the open sky. I was shy doing that as I had never brushed outside the bathroom in front of everyone. After having the last food at Triund, I hugged the strangers of previous night (now friends) and said good bye with a promise of seeing them again. I then started my journey downhill. On the way, I wished everyone good luck who was going uphill. My heart smiled every time I did that. It took me around 4 hours to reach back to McLeod. First thing on reaching downhill I did was to call home. I felt the pride in Dad’s voice. I then boarded the evening bus for Delhi.

At the end I want to thank Jas Kaur (a traveller friend), Raman (my brother), Manveen (Raman’s wife), Raj  and Sumit  for their endless support throughout my travel. This solo trek has not only left me enriched but also strengthened me to take up life’s challenge dauntlessly.

Here goes the picture blog!

Friends made at Triund! From left to right - Jaspreet, Amrita, Varun d Vegan, Sourav and I.

Friends made at Triund! From left to right – Jaspreet, Amrita, Varun d Vegan, Sourav and I.

Group of Tibetan students!

Group of Tibetan students!

_DSC0085

Down the valley from McLeod!

Series of Rising Sun - 1

Series of Rising Sun – 1

Series of Rising Sun - 2

Series of Rising Sun – 2

Series of Rising Sun - 3

Series of Rising Sun – 3

Melting with the sun!

Melting with the sun!

Triund Top!

Triund Top!

I belong to this mountain top!

I belong to this mountain top!

 

 

 

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Niyati Misra
    Nov 20, 2015 @ 21:27:13

    I love reading your articles, you inspire me in so many ways but this time you have made us all proud. I have been planning a solo trip for long but couldn’t ever muster enough courage to do so, but you sure have given me a reason to experience it atleast once! Loads of love! God bless!

    Reply

    • GurPreet Kaur
      Nov 23, 2015 @ 18:24:09

      Thank you so much Niyati for always motivating me. Yes! No matter what one should have this experience of traveling solo in life. It opens up to many things. You get to learn so many things about life, people, struggles, culture and beliefs. It also gives you strength to tolerate diversification in our country. Travel changes you!

      Reply

  2. blueinfos
    Nov 20, 2015 @ 23:06:19

    Awesome girl! Congrats for this amazing adventure u took, pics are amazing! 🙂

    Reply

  3. theoldfellowgoesrunning
    Nov 21, 2015 @ 05:03:56

    Wow…such a wonderful post. So awesome with such an accomplishment you have just made, I can feel the pride and the confidence through your words. Love how you talked about the strangers you met on your route, and some who would be new friends.
    You did incredibly well to keep going. High altitude can really sap ones energy. But you kept going right to the top.
    Such wonderful pictures. Your final one on the rock is absolutely breathtaking! 🙂
    ~Carl~

    Reply

  4. sudersansrini
    Nov 22, 2015 @ 21:47:01

    nice one! 🙂

    Reply

  5. Ity
    Nov 26, 2015 @ 02:41:28

    I can feel gurpreet what an amazing experience you had after reading your blog. It requires lot of courage not only for travelling alone but also to go somewhere where u dont even know a single person and you are on your pwn all the time. I had some kind of similar times in my life too. I am really happy for you that you got this chance to do so, not everyone is so lucky like you😊👍🏻
    Great job great experience and great pictures. Keep going!!
    All the best luv u😘👍🏻

    Reply

    • GurPreet Kaur
      Nov 30, 2015 @ 15:55:35

      Thank you so much, Ity! Yes, I remember when you went onsite for project. I think it would have been more difficult for you as you were not in your country among your countrymen. I think everyone of us is trying to participate and grow in our own way. I’m so glad that Suman too got a chance to go out and enjoy. Hope to come to you with her. chaaron milke enjoy karenge 🙂 XOXO

      Reply

  6. VipraK
    Nov 27, 2015 @ 23:30:21

    Hey Congo GP for your solo trip.. you made it dudette..
    God bless you with loads of happiness, courage and success ahead in your life..keep going..

    Reply

  7. Wanderer's Soul
    Jan 04, 2016 @ 16:25:09

    Thank you so much for mentioning my name in your notes.All the pleasure is mine.I am proud of you dear.We girls are not made of sugar and spice, we girls are made of Adventure. Wishing you more and more Adventurous trips….Long way to go. 🙂 🙂

    Reply

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