Just imagine for a second that you standing on top a hill 2,000 meters off the ground. People have gone missing or died around this particular area in the past few years. Then suddenly, Modi drops the demonetization bomb the same exact time. AND you are a female that too on a solo trip.. Holy cow, right ?!
Well, that is exactly what happened to Eileen Soreng, a Bengaluru based journalist. Eileen always wanted to explore the Himalayas. She had just hit the landmark age of 30 but her life was still not sorted . There was a HUGE yawning gap between her expectations and subsequent reality which messed with her inner peace. She was stuck in a rut and realized she needed to clear her head. So she headed to Chandigarh from where she would take a night bus to Mcleodganj. Her mom was dead against the trip but Eileen went anyways (not a surprise there!)
HOSTLESS IN CHANDIGARH
Upon landing in Chandigarh early morning, she made continuous calls to the lady who was supposed to provide her accommodation for a couple of hours. But her calls went unanswered. Eileen was in an unknown city and did not anticipate such a turn of events. But as luck would have it Parthi, a friend from London, called at that exact moment. Parthi had just called to check up on her and catch up. After Eileen explained her predicament, he quickly arranged a stay with his friend who was a Chandigarh resident. Talk about serendipity.
HELLO MCLEODGANJ !
After spending a fun afternoon and evening with a rather attractive host, Eileen boarded the night bus to Mcleodganj. She reached Mcleodganj at 6:30 in the morning but the booking at the Pema Thang Guest house was from noon onward. So, she curled up in a corner at the reception area and slept off. Around 9 am, she headed to the guest house café. While having breakfast, the gorgeous view from the café took her breath away! She spent the next few days experimenting with food, drinking lemon ginger honey tea and exploring the surroundings. But then she decided to trek to Triund-the bravest move so far in her life.
TREK TO TRIUND
2012- A NDTV producer went on a holiday to Mcleodganj and never returned
2013-Two French men went missing in the hills of Triund near McLeodganj
2015- A 19-year-old tourist was killed after he slipped into a 200-foot gorge while trekking towards Triund
Eileen was not aware of these gruesome statistics when she embarked on her journey. The terrain to Triund was challenging and especially more so because she was never a fitness freak. She borrowed a walking stick and took off on the 5 hour trek to Triund. Half-way up, she met a friendly Tibetan couple who joined her. Words cannot describe the beautiful scenery when she made it at the top(picture above). Eileen had no plans to camp overnight but decided to stay back upon the Tibetan couple’s insistence. But, there was just one problem : Eileen was not prepared for the massive drop in temperatures at night. Even though she thought she would freeze to death, the clear, twinkling night sky got her through the night ! The next morning, she stepped out of her tent and witnessed the majestic ranges bathed in the golden rays of the sun. That moment put her life and problems into perspective. She realized in the larger scheme of things, our worries in life are insignificant and petty.
A BOMB CALLED DEMONETIZATION
When Eileen returned back to Mcleodganj, the world was a different place. The Indian 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were demonetized and Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Both came as insane shocks to her. Worse, she had to stand in queue for half a day at a bank to exchange old notes. Another day was literally spent waiting to withdraw money from an ATM. This perhaps was the only dampener during her solo trip.
After she returned to Bengaluru, Eileen realized that she was a very brave young woman. The trek to Triund boosted her confidence and she realized she can achieve anything she sets her mind to. Even if her world breaks into a million pieces, she knows she can build it back up. Her message to anyone contemplating a solo trip is: Don’t wait. Just go ! SO WHAT ARE YOU GUYS WAITING FOR?
Liked reading this? Then you will LOVE reading the adventures of another young Indian girl on a European solo trip !
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