Wow, so you’re finally going Ladakh, that’s amazing! You must be thrilled!

Of course I am!

So, you’re all set?

Yup, leaves applied, bags packed, motorcycle en route Delhi, all set!

Oh awesome, so how many of your group members are riding?

Uhh, it’s just me 🙂

What?! Are you crazy?! Why are you going alone?

I had this conversation with almost all my friends before heading to the Himalayas. Even I didn’t have an answer to it at that moment, but now I do.

I just got back from a 20 day trip to the Himalayas. Me and a few other friends were planning to go to Leh Ladakh for almost 2 years, but it never happened. In June 2015, I packed my bags and decided to do this trip on my own.

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All set! En route Shimla (Delhi – Chandigarh Highway)

There was nothing really planned, I just knew I had to ride North.

I have done quite a few motorcycle trips across India, but this was my first time in the Himalayas. It’s a whole new experience altogether & riding solo was a bit scary because I was not used to these terrains. The slopes are much steeper than usual, the curves on the mountains are slippery and there is actually no road, just mud, slush, gravel and broken tar.

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Extremely bad roads in Koksar, but the scenic beauty makes up for it
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Tar, cement, water, ice, mud. Calling anything & everything under the wheels, road

Traveling solo is exhilarating and humbling at the same time.

When you find yourself in the middle of Lahaul Valley, with no civilization for miles at end, no human contact, no network, you are alone with your thoughts. And it’s not a bad thing. The long deep silence, involuntarily gets filled by the voices only for you to hear loud and clear.

But yeah, sometimes you do feel like sharing the beautiful view with someone and sometimes you really need someone to pinch your arm in assurance that you are not dreaming. It takes a moment, for eyes to take in something so majestic and grand. It takes a while for the brain to process what the you are seeing. Clouds so close, sky so blue, silence you can hear, breeze you can see, and air so pure it feels like you are drinking water!

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Sat here for a while, it’s not often that we stand amidst sight that our eyes cannot contain.
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In this world there is a lot of beauty and there is a lot of pain, and both are worth crying over
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Ji Ba tara Pahad (Long live these mountains)

Right after Koksar checkpost, the amount of tourists start reducing and everything around looks straight out of a painting. I had to tell myself over and over again not to keep stopping, as I had to cover distance. But I just couldn’t resist myself, and ended up clicking a lot of pictures. To be honest, I was also really scared that my engine would die any moment because of the low oxygen levels and the cold weather, so whenever I would stop, I always kept the motorcycle running & never shut my ignition.

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White overdose at Baralacha La
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Too cold to smile

So, getting back to the question that I started with. I still don’t know why I did a trip on my own, but I do realize now that sometimes, we need some time off from everything and everyone we know to truly value them. We are so used to sitting in our air-conditioned cages and cribbing about everything that life throws at us. We often take a lot of things (and people) for granted. Now, I’m grateful for the roof I have over my head, the food I have to eat and the fact that I’m alive, healthy and living my dream.

There’s nothing quite like travel to show you what you had before you left
– Dan Vineberg

Here’s the video of the trip that I shot on my GoPro. Hope you guys like it 🙂