Most people talk about moving mountains, or climbing them, or conquering them, but I only have this to say- Try breathing them in!!!!
You live in a city. You have an okay-ish job with a great pay, and life is stagnant. Work all week while waiting for the weekend, then fear the end of the weekend, and repeat, endlessly. On the internet and television, you come across beautiful pictures of pretty landscapes so far removed from your reality, that you have become almost desensitized to them. No, these pictures are not doing anything for you. However, somewhere deep inside, stirs a dull ache, a longing for something you can’t even name. You have read countless blogs, about people who quit their day jobs and became nomads travelling the world. But such impracticality is beyond you, you say, it’s people from the first world countries who can afford such luxuries.
I am not here to give you a sermon about how it’s very much possible, nor tips for nomad 101. I am here to tell you, that near your city, there are mountains, maybe 2 hours away, or even 5, or even 8 hours away. Have you ever been?
For once, don’t wait for the “best” time. Don’t wait to achieve a milestone in your career. Going away for a weekend should not be such a big deal. You have made numerous plans with your buddies in a semi drunken state of which you think nothing about once the weekend (and hence the party) is over. Here’s how you should go about with that “plan“ –
1. Call your friends and ask them if they want to get away for the weekend. If they agree, make a plan. If they don’t agree, make a plan anyway.
2. Do your research. Look for resorts / home stays online. If you find something of your liking, go ahead and book it. If not, you can go look for hotels once you reach. Even that is an experience in itself, and is highly recommended if you are looking for some adventure. It sounds scary and near impossible, but once you’ve done it, you will tell others what a piece of cake it was.
3. Next on your list should be how you get there. Do you own a car, and are confident enough to do those hairpin bends like a pro? Then go ahead and prep up your car for the long journey. A tire puncture repair kit is always valuable.
However, my favourite form of mountain travel are those rickety buses, which are pocket friendly to the core, and despite sounding like a dying beast most of the time, somehow always manage to get you to your destination safe and sound. And then there are the Volvo buses, which are slightly expensive, but well worth the money in terms of comfort, air conditioning and the absence of dying beast noise.
4. Next stop- Packing. Now this isn’t rocket science, and the most important thing to remember is to pack light. If there’s one thing you don’t need, it’s lugging around excessive luggage.
Things you will need in the mountains- Jackets/sweaters, shawls, comfortable walking shoes and a few pairs of warm socks, a warm cap and gloves. The mountain weather is quite unpredictable, so an umbrella wouldn’t go amiss. Skin care products (lotion/lip balm, etc) will help beat the harsh sun that graces the mountains often.
Things you will not need- fancy footwear, jewellery, a tripod (unless you’re a pro photographer), hair dryer, a load of books that you haven’t opened since forever but pack “just in case”, and other decisions lacking common sense.
A first aid kit is vital, and apart from the general/prescribed medicines, it should contain medication for mountain sickness. You may not be averse to the serpentine roads of the hills, but your ill-prepared friend/s might be. And trust me, there is nothing more pleasant than breathing the wafts of vomit instead of the aforementioned mountain air.
5. Carrying cameras/ laptops are completely by choice and not at all essential. You’re not going to the mountain to see the views through a lens. Remember, you’ve done that already. Don’t miss the real thing now.
….And you’re packed and ready to go breathe in the mountains. Mark my words, you will not regret this incredible adventure. You’re going to return a changed person (if nothing but lack of stress can do wonders for the skin), and changed for the better you will be.