As my stay in India nears to an end, I figured this would be a good time to write my first blog entry to reflect on my experience in the Himalayas.
40 days spent with 17 other folks (two other females) in, to say the least, challenging conditions. Besides the instructors, I was the oldest participant earning the distinguished name of JamieJi. I was also the slowest and probably most negative member of the group (I worked on this along the way). I learned early on that lugging a sixty plus pound bag up a mountain was not my idea of fun. What was even more distressing, I was one of the few people that felt this way, and I also came to this conclusion on around day two.
Besides the obvious mental and physical challenges mountaineering to 16,500 feet brought, it also allowed for spectacular views, amazing relationships with fantastic people, and learning a lot about discipline and how to stay positive in uncomfortable situations.
One of the amazing people I met was BabaJi, a sadhu that has resided in the Himalayas for the past 20 years. BabaJi wears a track jacket, a simple sarong, and flip flops along with a warm expression and a huge grin. My group had the privilege of breaking bread with the sadhu and listening to his simple yet profound words. When asked, why did you pick this spot to live, he quickly responded, “because this is the spot that I chose.” BabaJi told us that people tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, and with the right amount of discipline anything is achievable. I remember walking out of BabaJi’s simple abode that evening, onto the snow covered ground with a crescent moon and stars lighting the way to my tent, thinking all the pain of the climb has been worth it for this surreal experience.
My Himalayan adventure truly brought a dichotomy of thoughts and feelings. I felt great physical pain interspersed with euphoria from such simple things, such as warm sourdough bread around a table made of snow with good company, or a 10 rupee chai after a grueling four hours of hiking. I learned that you can live with less and be just as, or more happy. So, overall I took away a lot…would I do it again…Hell no 🙂