Fear of being alone is the worst kind of phobia people can have. We, humans, are social animals who need companions to survive and thrive. We are designed that way. What if suddenly there is no one to hug, no one to talk to and share our happiness and sorrows with? What if we are completely forced to be alone and isolated. I don't think a couple of years back anyone could have imagined that kind of life. But Covid-19 changed everything.
We live in a time where connectivity has become much more accessible and life has become super fast and rather restless. I can get in touch with thousands of people just by clicking on social apps. We are trapped in an infinite scrolling loop, exposed to hundreds and thousands of stories of varied emotions. Running endlessly through this mirage of a happy bubble, I felt I was losing myself day by day. To find that lost individuality of mine, to get rid of this imposed noise and chaos of modernity, I badly needed some silence, some space for myself to dream, think, and live in a relaxed space of heightened awareness.
It may sound strange, but I had gone in search of exactly this undesired isolation from society, crowds, and technologies in the remotest part of the Himalayas. I am surely not a sage, I did not go there in search of God, nor am I trying to achieve nirvana. All I wanted was complete solitude in this secluded wonder of the world. All thanks to my addiction to an outdoor activity, mountaineering.
One fine morning finally, having assuaged all my doubts, gathering all my courage, I decided to embark on a solo adventure into the lap of the Himalayas. I loaded my backpack with gear and food, bid goodbye to my family and friends, and got on the plane for Kathmandu.
For my first solo adventure, I chose the Langtang region of the Himalayas, situated northeast of Kathmandu valley. My first waypoint would be Ganja La. The plan was to cross this treacherous mountain pass at 5122m above sea level.
My trek started from Dhunche, a small village on the left bank of Trisuli Khola. The trail then ascended gradually over the ridge and crossed through dense pine, silver oak and rhododendron forests. After three days of trekking, I finally reached the sacred site of Gosaikunda. During the full moon in August, this place is occupied by thousands of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.
The pilgrims believe that by taking a bath in the freezing cold water they can atone for their sins. The real magic happened the next tranquil morning when I witnessed the shimmering holy waters of the lake reflecting the vibrant blue sky. I stayed for three days and explored its surroundings. I also climbed a couple of peaks in its vicinity and experienced the vastness of the world from the summits.
Then the second phase of my trek started by crossing another pass called Laurebina la. The trail then gradually descends through pine and rhododendron forest with marvelous views down into the Helambu valley. The creeping ancient forests, the red, blue, yellow rhododendrons, the glistening rivers, the whitewashed snow-capped peaks with black rocky paths and crop fields along the trail was a treat to the eyes and soul. After two days, I reached the last human settlement in this region, a Sherpa village called Tarkhegyang.
The following morning after crossing Ama Yangri pass, for the first time ever I was completely alone amid the vastness of the Himalayas. That afternoon I set up my camp beside a gently flowing stream in a wide meadow. Just after settling down I started to feel alone.
This feeling of solitude awakens all the senses. To protect from all possible dangers, my feedback mechanism began to notice all the minute details, which might have escaped my notice in urban life. Amid the vastness of the mountain, the emptiness that has been eroded, and the boundless uncertainty, I could feel an inexplicable sensation within myself slowly awakening.
The following seven days were the best days of my life thus far. I experienced a sudden downpour of snowfall, a desperate search for water to quench my thirst and a dying place to pitch my tent at the end of the day.