This essay is a journey experience that changed the life of the traveler.
I have always loved travel, but this is the trip that converted travel from a hobby to a life goal. It was the end of college and I had a couple of placements in a few companies that I had to choose from regarding my next step. To clear my head and take a small vacation I and my two best friends set out to the supposed heaven on earth - 3 girls, on their own, on a journey to an unknown territory. We survived the minimal food and dirty train bathrooms and after three days of this grueling journey reached Delhi. Travel does teach you a lot! Even the slightest bit of the Priss in you runs for her life. We reached by noon and booked a bus scheduled to leave at nightto Kasol from Kashmiri Gate. We spent the rest of the time freshening up.
After a ‘Sleepless in Delhi’ night, we began another roadtrip – and I must say, it is not for the faint of the heart. I have got to say this about drivers of the bus route to Kasol, they know how to work magic on those curves. We pass cliffs, sprawling lakes, rivers and the huge bridges across them. A biting cold wind brushed against our faces. Somehow the chill in the air seemed to warm me up. As morning approached the bus stopped at an apple orchard, and we had apples straight from the tree for a light breakfast before resuming the journey. We were also a bit afraid to eat much, because we feared we might throw up during our bumpy ride. But we had to put something in our mouths, and something within budgets. When you are travelling, you also get to understand how financial resources must be allocated. We were all excited now because the journey had just exceeded our expectations. To explain it to someone, who hasn’t been here, I would put it this way – think of it as a roller coaster ride, except there is actual real danger here.
Kasol stood at the banks of Parvati River and reveled in the magic that was being woven by the clear waters of that stream. The water cascading over huge rocks, created a symphony that melded with the cool breeze and soothed my soul to its foundations. Crossing the river we finally reached Chalal village, a tourist hotspot, dipped in Tibetan culture; a fact that was made evident through their dressing and the colours streaking through the village. We found other travelers like us staying there in tents and rooms. How often do we dear daughters get to experience something like this so opposed to the comfort of your home?
Our destination was Malana village that could be reached only after an 8 km trek from Chalal. We stocked up with food water and other provisions and downsized our back packs to the bare essentials. Talk about how girls usually pack their handbags, and now this! The trek took four tiring hours and we finally reached the village. This was the most trying test of endurance that we young girls had undergone. Four hours of braving the boulder-y terrain in a hostile climate. But we failed to reach in time and could not watch the sunset so we settled for visiting their sacred temple which was covered in such colour that it was in stark contrast with the surrounding.
While Chalal was in the valley, Malana was nestled among the peaks. We tented and settled in for the night after setting our alarms for five in the morning so that we can enjoy the sunrise. The next morning we woke up and found a spot to enjoy the sunrise from. Finally the sun slowly rose up from between the mountains. Sitting there on that cold morning watching as the first rays of the sun hit earth; it wrecked everything that I was. And then as the rays fell on me, it warmed the deepest corners of my soul. Something awakened inside of me. I was built from the foundation up, watching the sunrise from the mountaintop. Everything changed for me that day, my world tilted on its axis and goals shifted until finding this again became a priority. I was reincarnated.
I couldn’t even remember the journey back home, all I could feel was that the air of Kasol had altered something fundamental in me. The day after reaching home I woke up and found myself yearning to experience that magic again. Everything had changed; one desire stood tall shadowing every other route to my future. I realized that I didn’t want to be among the millions who sacrificed their passion because of the fear of the unknown. Maybe it was the stupidest decision I would take, maybe the smartest, only time will tell. By evening that day, I had mailed all my potential employers apologizing for not being able to take up their offers. Our trio had laid the ground work to start our very own travel agency cum blog that would take people like us plagued with wanderlust to destinations that would change their lives, just like it changed mine.