And amongst many other things, what made this craziness more memorable and worth every penny, time and effort spent, was when I discovered my love for adventure sports like never before. Whether jumping off a cliff, trekking through the Himalayas, rafting in the Ganges, from cycling in the bylanes of my Bandra to enjoying a cycling expedition in the wee hours of a wintery Delhi morning over a stretch of over 50 kms, to keeping quiet for 10 days and discovering an interesting new side of life at a Vipassana course (yes-this is no less than an adventure), I couldn't have added more adrenaline rush to the year.
Call it the love for testing my endurance level or fighting challenges, adventure sports shall for sure be my favourite lover for this decade. When jumping off a plane flying 15,000 feet high is a constant dream, this life makes complete sense.
And while weaving such adventurous dreams, when you meet like-minded enthusiasts, life seems on the right track. A dear friend dragged me along for a workshop organised by the Himalayan Club (started by world-renowned Himalayan trekker Harish Kapadia) promising me an interesting Sunday. Thank God that I didn't let my laziness precede over my decision of subjecting myself to a breathtaking experience. The reason was Kate Harris. A nomad who lives only to travel across the 'borderless world' (as she puts it). A rebel to those who imagine money to be the most important facet of travelling, she turned the tables around by adopting the most economical and eco-friendly mode of transport - 'cycling' to travel. A path not new but still, chosen only by the daredevils.
A young girl who learnt cycling in 2006, went ahead to follow her heart and cycled across the Silk Route fighting treachorous weather conditions, rough terrains besides setting a joyful ride in to a 'life-transforming' example for many. Like me. And to interact with this humble soul was a cherry on the cake. Even if I achieve half of her energy and determination, it shall mean - asking for a trip to the space in this lifetime. That's the effect Kate has had on me ever since I have met her. Nothing seems impossible!
I wish I meet a Kate Harris each year -
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.
Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well.
Allons! be not detain’d!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
-Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
Paragliding, Bungee Jumping, Skydiving, Scuba diving (and swimming before that), Cycling expedition to the Sahyadris, Sailing, Trekking to the Everest Base Camp - these are just a few dreams to conquer in this lifetime. Hope I make it!