Extraordinary story of my trek leader

I had recently gone for a trekking trip to Valley of Flowers with India Hikes . Before I share the story about the trek leader, some brief about valley of flowers:

  1. Valley of Flowers (VOF) is located in Chamoli district, Garhwal region in the state of Uttarakhand India.
  2. VOF is remotely located and it takes minimum 3 days to reach Valley of Flowers from Haridwar; approx 300 kms from Haridwar
  3. Ghangaria is the base camp for the trek to Valley of Flowers. No stay is allowed at Valley of Flowers
  4. At an altitude of 11,000 feet, VOF is famous for its alpine meadows; home to more 100 different species of flowers.
  5. VOF only opens in the period from July to Sept every year

Just so that you get a sense about the valley, some pics can be seen here:

Anyways, this is not about my trek. This is about one of the people I met on the trek. His name is “Imroz”, our trek leader. Once in a while, we meet people who inspire us not by words but by who they are and Imroz is one of them. Apart from being a great trek leader, his story was something that just shook me. For starters, the trek leader is not the guide but is the person who is responsible that everybody is safe. Being safe means that vital parameters (includes level of oxygen in the blood and pulse rate) for all trekkers are within normal levels and that nobody is getting lost in the trek. He did this job very well and took care of all 23 trekkers with 100% integrity.

Imroz’s Story

For background, Imroz as kid had not travelled much till 18. When he turned 18, he decided to go to a trip to Gulmarg, Kashmir with some of his friends. As luck would have it, all his friends backed out at the last moment. He was like “chuck it” I will go for it. Using all possible modes including bus, train, local train, etc, with a special mention for his journey via banihal express, he managed to reach Gulmarg. As he was wondering in Gulmarg, he observed a skiing course there (http://www.iismgulmarg.in). Somehow, he managed to enroll himself for a 13 day skiing course there. When he started doing skiing, he was like “this is it” — He identified his passion for adventure and travelling during that course. Lucky him!

Back home, his parents wanted him to become a typical CA/CS. So in addition to preparing for CA/CS, he continued to pursue his passion by doing some treks and other mountaineering courses. In between, he also got hired by Decathlon to use their products in different terrains and suggest ways of making better gears. Finally the time came for his articleship for his CA/CS preparation. In article ship, you need to work for CA/Audit company for 2 years. After doing desk job for 3 months, he was sure he will not be able to wear formal clothes and look at boring files for his life so he somehow managed to convince the company to give him the required certificate without coming to office. I know this sounds too filmy but this happened.

Imroz sharing his story

So in the free time that he got by not doing this articleship time, he started doing product trainings at Decathlon. During one of his product trainings, he sees his father come to the same Decathlon shop for shopping and all hell broke loose. His father was shocked to see him there. After lengthy conversations between him and his parents, they decided to give him 1 year to pursue whatever he wants. In between, he applied for a kickass 4 year adventure tourism course at a university in New Zealand. He even managed to get selected for the same and applied for a loan. All loan formalities were completed and as one of the last steps, the bank came to his home to check his residential address. As you may or may not have guessed it, his loan application got rejected as his parents were not in favour of him pursuing a mountaineering and adventure tourism as profession. Further to this, all his visa and passport applications would get rejected when the authorities come to visit his place. Please be conscious here that I am not blaming his parents and I am just highlighted what happened.

Why his story inspires me

I feel that he is living a life where he pursues his passion with 100% dedication and despite all setbacks and pressure, he has never stopped beleiving in himself and his dreams. And on top of it, he is only 23 and when he talked, he sounded more mature than me. His experiences have made him much more wiser and richer than me. He is kick ass. I myself would want to live where I am not scared of stuff and living life on the edge. He inspired me and moved something in me. As the trek got over, with unsaid words, we hugged each other. The hug meant “buddy you take care”.

I would like to end this by one of the things that Imroz had shared “Nature/Mountains has special way of changing you”

The whole travel did change something in me. So go travel and find stuff that you believe in and push for it with all force.