Hiking can mean so many different things to different people.
To some people, hiking is a form of working out and getting a breath of fresh air. To others, it’s a way to be more sociable and a way to relax. Then there are those who enjoy hiking to travel to different places in the world and find themselves.
So, without further ado, here are five reasons to never quit hiking. Or at least, as long as your health will allow, of course.
1. HIKING AND GOING ON A HOLIDAY ARE TWO DIFFERENT CONCEPTS
Going on a holiday means resting, getting recharged and doing a little sight-seeing. Hiking is about going on a journey.
Be it to discover a new place or culture, or broadening your mind. You go with the intention of learning, whereas if you’re on a holiday, you’re mostly chillin’. And for me to learn, I need to go hiking.
2. THERE’S A GREAT SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT TO BE DERIVED AT THE END OF THE TRAIL
It could be tiding through a moment with Russian hikers, or surviving a 8 hour hike. It’s the sort of moments you can look back and say, wow, that was quite a hike.
I’m not sure how to put this across, but at the end of the “suffering” during my trips, all I am clear is this – I wouldn’t have appreciated the things I had seen if I haven’t suffered that much.
The best part is always where the trail ends and where you say – Yes! I’m different than when I first began!
3. EXPERIENCING AND TASTING LIFE OFF OF THE MOUNTAINS
Mountain trail aside, hiking in a new area is about braving new environments and trying out new things. If not for hiking, I would not have tasted the best of India’s chai in Jaipur (it’s a tiny makeshift prata restaurant tucked at a street corner).
I would not have chanced upon India’s best breakfast offering at 4am (after a night hike) – a teenage boy frying bread and egg at his little stove at the Kashmiri Gate bus station in Delhi.
4. IT’S THE BEST CHANCE TO MAKE FRIENDS AND SEAL BONDS
It’s hardly a secret that you meet people along the way during your hikes.
It’s through hiking in Myanmar did we meet Ara, our Korean friend, who later brought us around Seoul when we visited many years later, and introduced us to Korean culture and a great local restaurant.
It’s also about sealing bonds of friendship. Remembering the epic things you did together, and the beautiful moments. When I think about the sunset among the pagodas in Bagan, or the volcanic ash days at Mount Bromo, I’m just glad to have friends there to tide over the difficulties, and share the great moments together.
5. ONLY THEN WILL THE STORIES UNFOLD
It was by hiking – my failure to take a taxi to the trail starting point, did I meet several of India’s street children, and took so many lovely photos of them.
It was by hiking – my insistence on walking past a small town did I meet a Tibetan refugee in India, who brought me to her home and told me her story.
It was by hiking that we met The Ordinary Man in Yangon, Myanmar.
It’s through hiking did I meet Simon, the Italian hippie and the holy man of Tiruvannamalai who shared stories of their lives. A very different perspective indeed.
If I haven’t hiked, there wouldn’t be any stories.
Hiking is not just for people who love to travel and experience the mountains
It’s for people who love pushing their limits and trying out new experiences, see different environments, be it for better or for worse.
There are two types of people in the world. Some who create stories as they go along, and others who are happy to take a backseat to watch things happen around them.
Which one are you? Or are you a mix of both? Do share your thoughts.