I travel to feel an adrenaline rush – from something as simple as a flight taking off to an unplanned journey. For me, the feeling of being on the road the entire day and not knowing exactly where I’ll stop for the night is what gives me a thrill. As organised as I may be, I’ll never travel with an itinerary, and definitely won’t book a tour package. I believe that the thrill of travelling lies in taking to the road, meeting new people, sharing new experiences and living in the moment. I can’t imagine having travelled from Delhi to Manali any other way. It took me 3 nights to travel the 550 kms to Manali, with stopovers at Kufri, Shimla and Mandi. What I experienced on that drive was a great deal more than I ever could have, had I taken a flight directly to Kullu.
What’s more is that I would have never gone river-rafting in Kullu either. If you think you get an adrenaline rush from doing something you love, try doing something you absolutely fear. The thought of me immersed in water frightens me to my very core. Cold water splashed on me has even made me breathless. So, I completely surprised myself when I agreed to go river rafting in the chilled Beas river during the peak of winter in Kullu. Much like everything on that trip, it was a spontaneous decision. Before I could even complete nodding my head I found myself being strapped into a life jacket, and subsequently into the raft. There was no going back now – the only way to get out of the raft was at the end. If I didn’t realise exactly how cold it was that January evening, the melted ice jumping over rocks in the Beas was an icy reminder. As the raft moved ahead, the only thought in my mind was “What if we topple over?” I could even imagine myself gasping for breath in the event that it happened. While I did get out of there alive (albeit, feeling more alive), there’s an image I can never wipe out of my mind – a 10-feet high wave that came crashing down on me as the raft nose-dived into the river. It’s the moment when I saw the wave rise high above me that I looked my fear dead in its eyes. There was no other way for me to overcome it. Though it finally soaked through every tissue of fabric I had on me, and numbed my skin all over, when I came out of that wave, I felt an adrenaline rush unlike any other I had felt before. There I was, numb from cold, and shivering in the cold January breeze, yet feeling more alive than I ever had. Like Cinthol said, Alive is Awesome! Every goose bump on me was proof of that.
That experience left me with more than just fatigue and pairs of drenched clothing, it left me with a feeling of being free, of knowing that I wasn’t tied down by my fear, and knowing that truly living meant facing your fears head on; it meant not giving in to your inhibitions, because that’s when the real memories are made; it meant going that extra mile and completing the journey. Truly living meant completing a day-long trek, and waking up the next morning to another trek to one of nature’s best kept secrets – the Valley of Flowers.
Surely, if you were as fit as I am (which I’m not), you would expect to be dead after a day-long 16km uphill trek, followed by a 5km trek immediately the next morning. Your legs feel like jelly, your back seems to have contorted into a peculiar position and your body is so close to giving up that you need every little support you can get. Despite every bit of pain I felt, a mere glance at the Valley of Flowers and I came alive to the misty mountains, pure air, gushing rivers, blooming flowers, sky-scraping trees and chirping birds. That feeling overpowered every small ounce of pain with an adrenaline rush so powerful, yet calming; so energising, yet comforting.
So, have you felt the adrenaline rush? What’s your Alive is Awesome moment?