How Trekking Helped Me Gain Life Perspectives : 5 Virtues I Imbibed

Mahidhar K
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself
5 min readMay 15, 2021
At Kedarkanta Base Camp, December 2018

Around 4 years ago, I watched Telugu movie ‘Yevade Subramanyam’. The movie piqued my interest to go on treks. My friends were very supportive and we decided on go on our first Himalayan trek. In the past 4 years, I have done many weekend hikes around Bangalore and 4 Himalayan treks. When I look back now, these treks not only gave me opportunities to view most amazing sights but also gave me life perspectives

1. Discipline

I was a measly kid growing up and never actively participated in any sports. I might be looking thin but extremely unfit to go on a high altitude trek. When my friends and I decide to go for Kedarkanta trek, we kept milestones for fitness

a. Able to run 5 KM

b. Do a weekend hikes around Bangalore

c. Participate in 10 KM run

d. Give up smoking

We stuck to this plan and achieved all the milestones. I did relapse into smoking after sometime but I eventually gave up smoking.

This was not an easy journey for me as I never did any exercise in my life and I was 27 years of age. The habits stuck with me and now I am fitter than I have ever been in my life (still far away from the fitness levels propagated by Gym trainers ). But the biggest gain was my ability to stick to routine and this shows in my work. My colleagues see me as someone dependable and I am able to build trust with them.

2. Perseverance

Trekking is not easy, period. High altitudes can give you headaches. Your legs hurt. While trekking down, toes hurt. I lost nails on my thumb after 2 treks. But at the end of all this, you get to have amazing sights.

Prekchu river on the way to Goechala view Point, Sikkim

But our brain cannot be tricked to put in the hard work when the fruits are so far way. Thinking about the goal demotivates us. This is true in our lives too. We all want to achieve certain goals and make good starts but lose way in the middle. Just think of the number of new year resolutions that get completed. One needs to take each step at a time. Focus on making the next step not how far the goal is. Just get on with it and make progress

3. Giving up illusion of control

I tend to think that if you plan things well and execute them, you reach the target. It did not take long for me to be dispelled of this notion. Mountains made me realise this. You might choose the right trekking group, be is best shape and health but you are at nature’s mercy in the mountains. The weather up there is extremely unpredictable.

I was accompanied by so heavy rains on 2nd and 3rd day of the trek in 2019 that we camped entire 3rd day without moving. We had to cut short for trial and return without making all the way. It took me a whole year to go back and get the views I missed. I now practice not to control anyone. Guide but not enforce. This helps to keep my mind at peace when I am dealing with many different kinds of people around

Day 4 of Goechala Trek, Sikkim, September 2019

4. Empathy

There is a Hillary step on the Mt. Everest summit, named after Sir Edmund Hillary who summited the peak for the first time. Tenzing Norgay, who helped Sir Edmund in the summit, did not have anything named after him but inspired a community of Sherpas which helped so many others summit the highest peak

The trekking market has plethora of organisations who collate demand but the trek is eventually organised by the local community. They are among the sweetest and humble people I have ever met in my life. They start the day earlier than the trekkers, arrange breakfast, pack the camp, walk faster than us, set up camp by the time trekkers reach and make food again. After all this, I have never ever seen anyone without a broad smile on their face.

Dinesh, our Trekking Guide, Goechala Trek, December 2020

I have been many times oblivious of what goes into running a home. After seeing the stressful conditions these people have to work with and the way they carry it out, it only helped me to pitch in wherever and whenever I could at home. All one needs to say at times in our relationships is possibly ‘I understand what you go through’ and it makes the other person so relieved. Understanding what other person is going through helps us to make better humane decisions

5. Minimalism

This is possibly something one should expect when going on treks. Treks are organised in the most remote locations. Trekkers will be eating simple (yet very tasty) food, sleeping in tents in a sleeping bag, basic washroom facilities and be sanitary without a bath for long time.

Stay at Dzongri, Goechala Trek, Sikkim

We tend to hoard things we rarely use and associate a lot of importance to every tiny feature/gadget we purchase. In a world of consumerism, it is important to take a break and critically understand what is it most useful for us. This aspect can applied to relationships and activities we do. It helps us to prioritise what we should be doing and who we should be doing it with. It helps us to prioritise how we should be spending our time and who we should be spending it with. Most importantly, figure out our life goals !!

P.S: Himalayas in India and Nepal, host the most beautiful trails with thousands of trekkers visiting every season. For those who are new, read up on the trails here.

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Mahidhar K
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself

A Product Manager | Interested in Mathematics, philosophy and trekking.