As part of the MHE INSPIRATION SERIES our topic this fortnight was Adventure Travel and we interviewed adventurer, explorer and traveller Pavane Mann. She tells us all about her experiences around the world including walking in the tracks of a snow leopard and being nearly swept away by a stream in spate in Punjab!
1) What is Adventure Travel according to you?
Adventure Travel: anything that you have not done before becomes an adventure depending on the perspective you come from. So Indian rail travel is an adventure for someone who has never done it.
Formally, Adventure Travel would mean, I guess, being in the wilderness, trekking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, bungee jumping, climbing etc. Anything with a quotient of risk and adrenaline generation capacity and which includes physical activity.
Having said that, I am wholly of the opinion that adventure is what happens when you set out to explore. And exploration could mean anything..you could have a marvellous adventure in the corner of a library with a wonderful book. All of life is a vast adventure.
2) What is the most Adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Walked across the Baralacha pass, all on my own in the middle of a brilliant moon lit night, trying to get help for an ailing friend. Walked in the tracks of a snow leapord, hoping we wouldn't meet. Leapt across a crevasse, got taken for a witch by the poor soldiers who heard me (a woman) calling for help in the early dawn of a remote high mountain post. All the while hoping help would be on time.
That and setting out on a middle aged, solo, trip around the world to find all the adventures I could. I found many and believe I shall find many more.
3) How do you balance challenging yourself and relaxing on a holiday?
That's easy, you challenge yourself for part of the time and relax the rest. For example: you raft down the Colorado river all morning, in the afternoon you hike up some incredible canyon and see amazing sights. In the evening you camp on a beach, build a fire and break open the beer cooler!!
4) What is your favourite Adventure Travel Destination? Why?
Sorry, I haven't found it yet, the whole concept of an adventure is the newness of it, how do you have a favourite destination when you are looking for adventure? I do not think I will ever have a favourite, each place has something unique and a true adventurer is looking for the next, not repeating another.
Having said that, let me negate myself by saying there are places that have lots to discover and one would go back to experience different aspects.
New Zealand, is a destination that offers almost every type of adventure and an abundance of it that perhaps one needs to go back to experience the new things.
The Grand Canyon can be rafted and hiked and has myriad aspects that need exploration.
The same for the Zanskar Gorge and mountains - these are spectacles that purely fascinate and every visit offers a different perspective, so you can go back again and again.
5) Break a myth related to Adventure Travel.
It can be for everyone, there is nothing that prevents anyone from participating other than a willingness to try!
6) What’s your favourite Adventure Travel activity?
I love the water, so exploring rivers definitely sits high - rafting a grand river is pure magic, the mix of companionship and the solitude of setting camp on a beach backed by sheer cliffs, where so few could or would have been - flies your soul to another dimension.
Sailing a boat and catching the wind right in your sail that sets you skimming over the sea; finding a tiny marina and the ultimate taverna that makes their own brilliant wine, or discovering an uninhabited bay where you dive for your dinner or sit on your boat with a line overboard hoping some food will appear and watch a glorious sunset specially created just for your viewing!
7) Share a scary experience along the adventure travel road that happened to you.
I got swept away by a stream in spate and thought I would end being carried away down the great rivers of the Punjab to the sea! Fitting perhaps, but I survived. Just barely, because it was a freezing cold, high mountain stream. I had roped my whole team across, but the wretched water had risen and risen and by the time it was my turn...it was just very high. A rolling boulder in the milky flow knocked my legs out, the spate of water did not allow me to hold the rope. I went with the flow, gambolling down this crazy stream and picturing my daughters left motherless. That's when I got pinned against a rock, with still enough wit to try and drag myself to the tiny midstream island that was created by the rubble of the eddy it created.
My body was sapped of all energy by the bitter cold, and that is when that marvellous thing called adrenaline kicks in. It makes a super human of you, I jumped from island to island and got hauled across a rushing, but narrow, bit of the now raging river. It took a huge leap of faith and the expertise and strength of an old trekking buddy, he caught my flying leap and I sit here telling the tale.
8) How important is the right gear while embarking on an Adventurous journey?
It is very important for safety and comfort to know what you are in for and be prepared for it. You do not need a lot of gear, generally, but you do need the right stuff. It is what keeps you alive, comfortable and makes for an enjoyable experience. Dress for the cold, dress for the heat. Right foot wear. Safety gear: buoyancy aids, helmets, harnesses, ropes. Survival stuff: knives, matches, torches.
You don't need all of it, most reputed operators will have the right gear and advice you on what you need. But following that advice is important.
9) One thing that’s high on your Adventure Travel To-Do List?
There isn't only one:
The Mastang valley, the Gobi Desert, the Antarctic, the Amazon, are just a few!
10) What's your advice for scared and wary Adventurers?
If they are scared and wary they are not adventurers.
If they still want to be adventures and are willing to overcome the wariness, then find a companion who knows how, or find an outfit that is professional, but caring enough to help you discover your self.
We love travel and we love to share our experiences.
If you have a travel story that you'd like to share, please drop in a message to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to publish it here!
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