Why we do what we do

'Why do you want to travel 300 kilometers from the city only to walk another 20-30 kilometers? You could as well walk from the place you live, to the city center and back, if you really want is to walk', a friend of mine asked me as I got back from another trek. I just smiled without answering the question. The way I limped as I walked away, made him believe that he in fact did pose a logical question. My calf and thigh muscles were really aching from the rigorous workout they got over the weekend. I wanted to tell him it wasn't about the kilometers you walk. The pain wasn't a misery, but a sweet remembrance of the great time I had in the wild, much like the hangover in the morning is a reminder of the good times you had the evening before. There are a few things which cannot be explained using words and expressions.

But then, why do I do the things I do? Why do I run away to the woods or the mountains at the slightest opportunity? Behavioral psychology might relate this to childishness or the inability in facing the realities of the 'real' world. This habit might even be labeled 'leftover-animal-behavior' like phantom limbs in amputees. I am no one to argue the grandeur or fallacy of these arguments, but I know there are much more evident and worthwhile explanations. I for one don't subscribe to the 'life is guided by purpose' philosophy, which forces you to follow set patterns, and follow the herd through the optimal path to Nirvana. I would rather take life as a by product of curiosity and wonder, and let it slowly unravel, even though this might not go well in a world where religion and elders have already explained all that is there to know, by the time you are ten years old. If you restrict your sense of excitement to discount sales at the mall and free parking spaces, you are no better than a dead man walking the last mile.

When we were discussing this topic during our last trek, Rob said that the pictures we take during these trips should be good enough answers to this question. The best we can do is to squeeze this multidimensional experience into a two dimensional matrix of colours. I always felt music and travel are things that everybody can enjoy. If somebody is not able to, the real issue is that he or she was never exposed to it. Everything in life is not to be 'understood', some things are to be 'appreciated'. While understanding is a function of the intellect, appreciation is more of an art. But how would you make somebody feel the excitement, the adrenaline rush, the tension, the awe and the wonder we experience during these get-aways?

Imagine sleeping under the open sky where the city lights don't over-shine the stars. Imagine seeing an endless array of mountains and hills bathed in the moonlight like the sand dunes in the desert, at 5 in the morning. Imagine waking up above the mountains and watching the golden rays of sun shine through a sea of clouds. Imagine the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas turning orange as the first light of the day falls on them. Imagine drinking the ice cold water from a stream formed from melting glaciers. Imagine seeing a carpet of flowers along the river banks or seeing the fishes that swim around unaware of the human eyes watching them. Imagine sitting on a lonesome rock surrounded by mountains, sipping a glass of fine rum, staring at the clear blue sky.

Imagine walking along a pathway in the forest and see a bunch of Bisons blocking the road ahead, only to find a Bear walking towards you as you take a U-turn. Imagine the adrenaline rush as you sit at a distance of 200 meters from a herd of elephants, sipping hot tea. Imagine sleeping in a tree house and see wild boars roaming around and monkeys stealing food from your bags. Imagine leaning on to a rock at 1200 meters and find yourself surrounded by a colony of honey bees as some bird disturbed a beehive on the other side of the rock. Imagine losing your way to the top of the peak during a moonlight trek, stranded in the middle of nowhere, getting wet in torrential rains, and then taking out your harmonica and singing songs till daybreak. Every time it is an awe inspiring and humbling experience, which at some level reminds you that life is more than just pay cheques and iPhones.

At times it is good to walk out of the reality created by the TFT screens at office and home and get a taste of the real deal!

3 comments:

Daria said...

Beautiful pictures and words!

"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen." Henry David Thoreau


"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you...
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." JOHN MUIR

attiDuDe++ said...

Daria, Thank YOU for those beautiful words! :)

Anonymous said...

Could not be explained in any better words my friend. Bravo!

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