The seed behind the thought that "life has to be lived exploring outdoors" was sown during my graduation years at the university. It was time to execute and live what was thought. What followed was outdoors as a way of life. This write-up describes one step at a time that I have been taking to explore the outdoors and adventure sports.
Hiking and Cycling
As my professional career started. In parallel, I went for many one-day, and two-day hikes. Almost every other weekend long-distance cycling. Distances ranged from 50km to 80km. Some within the city and some on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Job change led to a change in my location. From Bangalore, I moved to Gurgaon. Gurgaon weather is unlike Bangalore weather. Neither is the environment the same. Outdoor experiences took a step back. Managed to only go for one long-distance ride that started from Huda-City Center Gurgaon to Qutub Minar (Delhi).
Within Delhi-NCR I could not satiate my urge for outdoor experiences. Soon on Good Friday weekend. I headed solo to Rishikesh. Me a non-swimmer. Decided to give hard shell Kayaking a shot. Extreme fear of water. Apparently, in my worst state when it came to fitness. On top of that left-handed. Mind you, for left-handers many things are different.
Did a 3-day Kayaking course. Miserably failed at learning any rescue technique. With the bare minimum of what I managed to learn. I tried negotiating Class I and Class II+ rapids. God's grace, my kayak flipped upside down only once. They re-flipped the kayak as I couldn't do it on my own. And, I was back paddling. Constantly at the back of my mind fearing the flip. 3 days passed.
A disheartened me was on my way back home. With 2 parallel schools of thought in my mind. On one side I was happy that I attempted. On the other side sad that I couldn't do much.
Despite the fear, there was some itch in me that made me take the decision to attempt again.
On my next visit, I made a choice to do inflatable kayaking. As it is relatively easier than hardshell kayaking. This time it was less fearful than before. Everything around me was beautiful. I was seeing something that I believe could only be seen when you are in the river rather than out of it.
Reflection on failure and transformation
Failures and embarrassments hit hard in the given moment. They also teach lessons for life. If you reflect on failures. They help you bring positive changes in yourself. The lesson for me was to focus on fitness and learn to swim.
Focused on nutrition. Finally, learned to swim. Lost 10 kgs of weight. There is still a long way to go. Relatively, have become more fit than before. Mind you, consistency works wonders. Good fitness is a confidence booster.
While I was happy with the transformation and progress. I wanted to test out:
- How comfortable I am in the water?
- In what other areas is losing weight helping me?
- Am I fit enough to attempt other adventure sports?
2 Weeks, 3 Adventure Sports
To celebrate the progress. In April, I went on a solo trip. Spent a day in Delhi. Followed by around 5 days in Rishikesh. The trip was a combination of multiple experiences. Long walks, cycling. Sitting around ghats. Playing with river water. Experienced arti at ghats. One evening at Parmarth. Another evening at Triveni Ghat. Mornings were dedicated to adventure sports.
For 2 consecutive days did inflatable kayaking. On Shivpuri to Rishikesh river section paddled the inflatable kayak and negotiated class III+ rapids. This was it. From the inflatable kayak, I jumped in the river on my own multiple times on Day 1 and Day 2. Once in rapid and other times in relatively calm section. On day 2, a planned flip was done. The only difference being I was unaware at what moment the inflatable is going to get flipped. I could see my progress, they could see my progress. And, my happiness and no bounds.
The next activity on the cards was Bungee Jumping. By chance got a slot for Bungee Jumping. You go and stand at the edge of the cliff that is at a height of 83 meters and jump off.
5 days passed by in a jiffy. I was back home. Our onsite was scheduled in Mumbai. The next day I started for Mumbai. Apart from the main purpose of visit. I was keen on exploring the outdoors (beaches) and seeing if any adventure sport can be done.
The weekend that followed started from Mumbai and reached Lonavala by train. Got down at Lonavala. Stayed in a hostel. Went to Kamshet by road for Paragliding. Instructional Paragliding to be precise. 20 minutes of flying in the air under the guidance of an experienced instructor (pilot). You control your glider.
When paragliding ended. In retrospect, I thought about my journey. Hands down, a change in perspective and meeting the right kind of people in life at right time can do wonders.
I believe you are never fully ready for it. After exploring more. I am back again with more self-awareness of what I need to improve and work on. Until next time.
There are some adventures that life has in store for you. Then there are some adventures that you choose. This time finally it was my chance to make a choice.
Many more chosen adventures to go. 'Life' to me is this. :')