We completed our third trek in less than 6 months – not bad for a guy who is not even married for 6 months uh? I don’t know when I started to call my travel “treks”, or how I started liking them, but I have always believed in travelling frugal with minimal baggage – including just barely enough clothes, elementary toilet supplies, absolutely no medications, no major planning, and more importantly, just about enough money. I also believed a vacation essentially meant running as far away from civilization as possible – with access to basic human requirements – food, shelter and clothes (but I started longed for a credit card acceptance recently though).
So when I joined a group of people for regular treks, i was neither bowled over or nervous – excited I was though. Each of the 9 treks I had done were unique in one sense and common in another. Unique because each had unique experiences (of course, why else are there so many places in the world to visit), common because what I saw and you could say “learnt” were pretty much common.
Never try to fight nature
Because you cannot. Simple! Try to be with it. Nature has its laws and we try to continuously break it for our convenience. Just like its natural for you get drenched if you are deep inside a jungle when its raining, its natural to shift according to the calls of natural cycles (like business cycles?). And don’t worry, you will catch a cold or fever only if you move to a warmer place immediately, if you allow the body temperature to shift according to the outside temperature, you should be fine (I’m no doc, but I learnt this the hard way).
Never be scared by things you cannot figure out
If you cannot figure out or see something, what is there in it to be scared? Risk management is a very serious subject, but buffering just for the heck of it saying “we might face something – who knows” is not a good strategy. Either identify them and figure them out, or just ignore them. When we hear strange jungle sounds but cannot see them, we tend to either ignore them or figure them out. Freaking out never helped us. If we know what it was, we sort of know what to do. If we see elephant droppings in millions around us, we do freak out, but never stop walking. Irrespective of what the “risk” is, decide on what you would to face it and move on.
Remember there is only one way – Forward
You might be tired, you might feel like puking or passing off, but you don’t have a choice, just keep moving in the direction the trails take you. Once the focus is set right and goals clearly established, just go for it with whatever you have. There is not bigger motivator for you than yourself. You just cannot turn back once you are committed – what you would loose is much more that way.
Stick together with your herd
Just like elephants do all the time, the best way to survive a three day jungle trek is being with your group unless you are on a tested trail – and let me tell you, trekking is no fun on a tested trail. When you are treading a new path, better stick around with the team. Do yourself a service, please don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations of being an one man army. Such a thing is only fantasy.
Take things as they come
Extension of point 2 – no point guessing what you would see of encounter next. Just move towards the goal as a team and trust your instincts and nature. You would encounter numerous hurdles (whats the fun or better still, “challenge” otherwise), but try to figure them out and move on, you have a better chance of success.
Its OK to follow someone
Yes, individualism is important and thats what keeps a person going and motivated, but honestly its OK to follow someone. If you cannot figure out the trails and someone else can, just follow him/her. You are safer that way. Similarly, if you want to lead, better be sure where you are heading. You might be on the wrong trail, but if you have your fundamentals right, you would reach the right course one way or the other. Get your fundamentals right, you can survive any challenge. Read Gandhi’s autobiography or Steven Covey’s leadership materials to get an understanding of what right fundamentals might mean.
Reserve the biggest celebration only for the ultimate goal
We have gone for binges on the peak only to realize that we cannot cover even a single mile without being dehydrated to death – not literally though. But when we do the binge after reaching safe ground, its not only rewarding, but sometimes we get a feeling the body also easeing out a bit – hallucinations maybe.
You might not have water and now know when your next source of water would be, you might have to rely upon energy bars for nutrition (which my mom never allowed me to have more than 1 a day), you might not even have access to an ATM, but as long as you can find fun in what you do, you would not loose it mid way. Just enjoy what you are doing once you are committed, laugh at yourself a bit, don’t be too self conscious – just don’t worry, the world will survive 2012.
Disclaimer: If these sound very similar to the thousands of “leadership” articles you have come across already, I apologize – I read some too.