Beaches or mountains?
I have often been asked this question. Both have their own charm. But if I were to pick one then it will surely be mountains because firstly they remind me just how small and insignificant I am in the scheme of larger things and secondly they understand my silence like no other. They always have an answer to my troubled mind. Whenever I have no way to go, mountains are my go-to partner.
A very close friend of mine once gave a great insight - we all look for the locus of control. Some have an internal locus of control while others have an outer locus of control. When imbalance strikes some prefer solitude some a shoulder to lean on. For me, mountains seem to provide that locus of control. They seem to stabilize my unstable mind.
I still remember when I was a kid and my dad took me to Dehradun for the first time. I was so mesmerized by the sheer beauty and magnanimity of the mountains. I watched them without batting an eyelid. I didn’t want that journey to end. I just wanted to marvel at them as long as possible. That curiosity and happiness are still so vivid in my memory. In fact, every time I travel to mountains that feeling rekindles. If mountains were a boy then I would happily marry him
Besides being a source of beauty and happiness, mountains prepare you for the fights of the life. They not only challenge your physical stamina but mental strength too. Sometimes abstract can teach you more than living beings. The treacherous windings of treks, the struggle for basics in life, the sheer pleasure of having Maggi and adrak walli chai on top of a mountain, the sweet symphony of wind, the chirping of the birds, the steep dives of valleys, the moodiness of clouds, the dew like freshness of air that purifies even the impure, everything has a message for you. In that emptiness, you can completely lose yourself to find a new you. That’s why these small little breaks are so important for my survival. When the world and its selfishness gets too much to handle I take shelter in mountains.
And this behaviour isn’t unique to me. Many people like me have found themselves by getting lost in mountains. Just a few days back, I finished reading Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, written by Cheryl Strayed.
The book isn’t a masterpiece but definitely a good read. It is based on a true story and somewhere I connected with the protagonist. Our life conditions are different but mindsets seem to be the same. Let me give you a brief synopsis of the book.
Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. Her mother died of cancer, her family scattered and she was divorced. At a stage where she thought she had nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Well, she did it. And how! When she completed the journey she was a different person. She wasn’t weak anymore. She took life in her control. Today, in personal life she’s is well settled. Professionally, she is one of the best selling authors in the US. A Hollywood flick was made on her book.
Why I loved Wild so much was because of the sheer honesty and simplicity with which it was narrated. It had nuggets of suspense, style, warm, and humor. It powerfully captured the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Somewhere all of us, at some part of the time are broken inside. And we all look for that healing source. As they say everything heals with time. But what you do in that healing period decides the healing process duration and pain you endure.
Whether you travel to heal yourself or just for pleasure isn’t important. The important thing is you should travel. Travel not to check box but to discover yourself.
And lastly, if you really want to know yourself – TRAVEL ALONE.
But be rest assured you’ll never be lonely because your BFF, mountains, will always be with you.
Ending this post with favorite quote from none other than Edmund Hillary
It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
PS: In case you are a classics fan you’ll love this Denver’s song