If you read about trekking history, it is mostly associated with solitude, wilderness, risk taking, and similar so called ‘masculine’ traits. However, with all the know-how, internet sharing, professional organizers, things have changed quickly in the last couple of decades, especially in India. Gone are those days when trekking was supposed to be a man's business. These days more and more women are joining the bandwagon and this is indeed changing the face of trekking experience.
We have now started to realize that a trek can actually be about much more than just these: it’s a great platform to understand people behavior, make friends, and appreciate small things or moments of joy in life. As a simple test, if you just analyze the picture albums from past trekking expeditions and try to spot some difference between them and the more recent ones, you would find more macro pics making their way into the latest albums compared to mostly ‘larger than life’ or ‘awesome’ ones in the past; many cheerful (posed sometimes) pics & selfies compared to mostly composed (unexpressive sometimes) pictures in the past. Although, this is no empirical study but we feel that certain new dimensions are getting attached to the trekking experience besides the usually acknowledged ones like sense of achievement, solitude, peace of mind, and appreciation of natural wonders. Here we analyze some of these new dimensions of trekking experience and based on the experiential evidence, we also try to find their broad correlation with the increasing gender balance trend:
Ever thought that empathy is what you would need and crave for, when you are on that mountain trail with a swollen ankle? Actually yes! At times this is the only thing which will help you in moving forward. Having a passion for trekking is great and gives you that adrenaline rush but there are times when you lose grip and fall on that gravel road. Your male counterparts might behave like nothing much went wrong which is good for some who don’t like to get spotted but for some others, believe me, some empathy in much needed in those strenuous times. Women are generally more emphatic and hence their presence ensures that comforting voice, pumping some energy up those tired muscles.
2. Group Bonding amongst strangers: Making friends like never before
We all know that usually men take longer time at starting a conversation while it’s a bit easier for women to do the same. As per studies, women are good at private conversations whereas men are better public speakers. Well this might just be because of the lesser opportunities for women in active political history of the world and hence fewer records of women speakers. Anyhow, when it comes to meeting a completely new group of people, it’s usually women who break the ice and strike a conversation. Climbing a mountain is not the only high point of trekking; it’s also the bon-fires, games, chats, discussions, captive talks in the company of fellow trekkers that make the real difference in your experience.
3. Complimentary Perspectives creating fresh ideas or experiences
It’s usually said that men focus on one thing at a time; like reaching the summit or reaching there before anyone else. On the other hand, women are better at multitasking; like appreciating that beautiful village in a valley, that cute stray dog on the trail. A balanced group having both perspectives would not only achieve the goal in time but also enjoy the small moments that make beautiful memories for long times in future. Both sexes bring along different perspectives of life and the bon-fire conversations during those chilly nights culminate into many fresh ideas that make memories...
4. People Inspirations added to the Natural ones
Trekking is known to be one of the best forms of fitness activities. From keeping your heart agile to having stronger bones, it gives you all but it can be tiring and demanding at times. Days into trek and you might come to point where you just can't walk anymore. At this point fatigue gets you but when you see a fellow trekker hiking instead of resting then all it gives you is a sense of motivation. Opposite sexes not just attract but also inspire! A good female trekker can inspire many men to give it their best shot and similarly a good male trekker can make his fellow lady trekker commit for that one last extra mile. Trekking is not only about physical fitness and mental strength, but also about having inspirations that drive you in the most challenging times. Along with those mountains, trekkers are now finding more sources of inspirations in people around them these days.
The dimensions we talked about here were probably talked about in the Adam’s age as well but surely we see more of these in the recent times. We would certainly want to attribute this fact to increasing gender balance to a certain extent.
Like God, nature must also be a perfect mix of masculine and feminine. So our experience of the nature must also follow this rule! It’s not just about having more women or men going together, it’s about appreciating both perspectives and learning from them, in fact enjoying them to the core. Getting to that perfect mix in all our worldly (or even spiritual) experiences would be long journey ahead...well we guess but trekking has definitely got richer by making a start now!