It may sound like a cliché but if we think about it, isn’t it so true? Before I started travelling in 2011, I was a lazy couch potato, someone who couldn’t think of living without having the luxury of internet, electricity, telecom and running water!! Yes, still in many parts of the world running water is considered a luxury! I was an arrogant soul, a self-righteous person living in my own world surrounded by my age old beliefs and my “esteemed” social circle with whom I’d meet for discussing (read criticising) world matters (politics, religion, social issues, you name it!) without actually doing anything about playing any active part to address those issues. It would be all talk over a mug or two of coffee, some cookies and cup cakes.
Rakaposhi Basecamp – Nagar Valley, Pakistan
Credits: Nida Aziz
Travel made me walk that talk and gave me an opportunity I never tried seeking before to discover myself. It all happened by chance. Maybe it was written. I was supposed to go attend a family wedding in Rawalpindi in summer of 2011. It was the first time I was stepping outside Karachi, my comfort zone. So, we decided to make the most of the trip and added a couple of hill stations to the list.
What I thought would be an amazing rendezvous with the mountains turned out to be a disaster. I fell ill, developed altitude sickness and just couldn’t wait to get back to Karachi. After that unsuccessful first date I thought as if travelling was not my calling. But I just couldn’t live in peace after coming back. It was as if I had left a part of me there and I just had to go back and retrieve it. Somewhere in my heart I have always had a love for mountains, a longing for them which I never realized till I met them again the following year. It was as if I had always belonged in the mountains. And with every passing year I kept adding more and more places in my travel bucket list and it kept on getting better and better. For me I found solace and a new home in the mountains.
Minapin Glacier – Nagar Valley, Pakistan
Credits: Nida Aziz
Travelling teaches you what you can never learn at school. It is an experience where you discover yourself. You find in you a strength you never knew you possessed. Luxury is a word unknown when in the mountains. You learn to live with the basics only. When in travel, days and nights tend to feel longer. You catch a chance to reflect critically on things that matter; your family, your dreams, your relationships, your life! There’s nothing like sitting atop a hill gazing deep into the vast green valleys with rivers flowing in the midst of them. You connect with the nature and get to look at the bigger picture outside the box you have always lived inside and yet in that moment everything just becomes about you and that is the best feeling one could ever wish for.
And as far as my heart is concerned, it is still somewhere out there in the mountains. I just don’t want it back as with very beating it calls me home.