What happens when you work in a cubicle all day, but your heart longs for the mountains? You daydream about your NEXT trek for months in advance! We were super impressed with Richa when she first called us to book her trek to Hampta Pass for a couple of months later. But when she called us for the second time recently, to book her Chadar trek a month in advance, we just had to talk to her.
Here’s how Richa Joshi makes sure adventure is a part of her year!
The Great Next: Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do for a living? What kind of adventures do you like? What do you do for fun?
Richa Joshi: I am a 27 year old IT analyst working for TCS in Hyderabad. The tag of IT Engineer was a choice I had to make, under the painful circumstances of not being happily allowed to go for Aeronautical engineering or Aviation school.
I was brought up in a small city called Haldwani near Nainital. My hometown is surrounded by the hills, and all my weekend getaways with my family were in Nainital and all the other nearby lakes and hills. I remember those weekends as the most blissful memoirs of happiness that I couldn’t find anywhere else till I started travelling again. When I moved out of my hometown to pursue higher studies, I wanted to travel as much as I could but it was difficult to do so in the monthly allowance that was provided strictly to meet the needs and requirements, not the wants. I would save some money every month for my travel goals.
It took 6 years of struggle through B.C.A. and then M.C.A. to get to where I am now. Part of me enjoys the work I do, but the life of an IT analyst is not adventurous. I’m working in a cubicle every day, and that’s where travel becomes my saviour and keeper.
Breaking the monotony of a metropolis life with the rush of adrenaline and anticipation amidst the mountains is my favourite adventure. There is something strangely comforting and refreshing in scaling mountains and going on road trips. It’s as if I belong there.
When I am not travelling, I pick up my bike and camera, and through the lens I see all that I missed out around me. My books are another one of my mates; reading about places, people, and their adventures puts all the more sense in seeking my own adventure.
TGN: How often do you manage to get away and travel? You always make your enquiries a couple of months (or more) before your actual trip. How early does your planning process start?
RJ: In a job where there is no limit to working hours, planning in time is the key to chalk out your travel. The holiday calendars come in very handy in planning a vacation. My New Year resolution list is a travel list; I plan and book my travel 6 months in advance, this helps me go on a trek twice a year. Every 3 to 4 months I go for smaller travel plans and they don’t require so much planning. All of this is great, but it’s never enough.
A lot of travellers tend to make last-minute bookings for adventure travel. You’re one of the few who plans ahead (and we love it because it lets us find you the best trips and operator for you!). Why is it important to you to plan in advance?
I can’t say what it means for others, but for me, travel gives me time to find myself. With the strictly limited time that I get for something that gives me the joy of living, I want to make sure there are no last-minute hiccups. I am also a well-organised person, so maybe that also adds to the need of planning in advance.
TGN: How do you decide on your next adventure?
RJ: Sometimes it happens when I read about the adventures of other trekkers. Sometimes it just clicks. There’s no particular answer that I can pin onto.
TGN: What kind of adventure equipment do you use? Do you have a favourite brand?
RJ: Decathlon is my one-stop store. There are not a lot of options in our country for adventure equipment. One of my favourite brands is Keen.
TGN: Do you travel solo for adventure?
RJ: Sometimes, yes.
TGN: We love seeing women heading out on solo adventures. What advice do you have for women travellers who want to travel on their own?
RJ: You deserve it as much as anyone else out there. Go for it!
TGN: Do you have an adventure travel bucket list? What do you plan to do next?
RJ: I do have an adventure travel bucket list and it gets improvised every year. A road trip to Ladakh is next in line.
TGN: Do you have a favourite moment from your adventure travel? One moment when you’ve stood in wonder and realized you’d never forget that precious experience.
RJ: There is actually one such moment. Gazing at the breathtaking panorama of the view of Hampta Pass at the altitude of 14,000 ft. I felt no camera lens could do justice to what I saw. It was a view reserved for the Gods. My heart was in my mouth, awestruck with the majestic serenity of this landscape. The aura of this scenic beauty I beheld can’t be put down in words. I was consumed by the scene before my eyes. But there was more to learn in this journey. We were trekking down towards Shia Goru from Hampta Pass when some loose rocks started falling from above us and my guide pulled me under a huge rock and we were saved by an inch. That’s when I thought for the first time how lucky I was to be alive. Living in a city you tend to take for granted the life you have and whine about what you do not have but it is good fortune alone to be alive.
TGN: You’ve travelled with The Great Next a couple of times now. What makes you come back?
RJ: I keep coming back to The Great next for the exemplary support you guys provide. There are people like Venkat, who are extremely polite when explaining the options if even I raise a doubt again and again, he has helped me in and out to plan my last two treks. Your operational customer support is commendable too. Your work ethics, your people represent an image of a passionate travel agency helping people live their adventures.
Follow Richa’s adventures on Instagram here.
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Snowboarding at the foot of Hampta, somewhere between Manali and Sethan. DM for details. Video credit: Aayushi U… https://t.co/M58T4fWzW3Follow