Comfort and Adventure – Two Adversaries That Complement Each Other
Everest is observing a welcome surge in tourism as more travelers are willing to leave behind their comfort zone in pursuit of adventures and lifelong memories, stored and shared perfectly within the vortex of social media. The advent of technology and the social network has brought a profound impact in the Himalayas but this influx of “over-tourism” however, has contributed to steep competitions among the industry professionals, which as always, is directly countered with a reduction in prices and with poor service standards.
Modern travelers’ journey is now very different than it used to be as they bring with them the culture of social media and the thrills of instant gratifications and recognition via social networks. The backlash against the recent infamous viral photo of the Human traffic jam in Everest that counted for loss of 11 Everesteers, had many industry experts throw in their views and raise issues, with one internet commentator blaming the tragedy to what he calls “Ego-tourism” where getting that all-important social media recognition is a much bigger priority than the journey to get there. Yes, we have now foregone securities, safeties, and comforts, and traded them for that one selfie on top of the world. Without having anything against social media and their endgame to be the next viral hashtag, the modern travelers, it seems, are here only to sell a picture and not the harsh reality of traveling to one of the most remote regions in the world. They are willing to compromise with the cheapest option and dreadful experiences in order to get that one perfect photo and instant social media recognition. In their rise, they leave behind an industry trifled with cheap services and experiences.
“Adventure begins where comfort ends”, is a saying that is familiar to most adventure seekers but in today’s ever more urbanizing world, adventure does not have to be void of comfort. In fact, can we really relinquish comfort after all? High above the Himalayas, every detail counts every comfort a lifeline, a luxury, a boost that easily helps to focus all our senses to the beautiful slice of paradise. An Everest Adventure conjures up an expedition filled with exploration, discovery, mysticism, culture, and learning, so why trade that for a hellish holiday experience.
“Tired minds don’t plan well”
A playground of ruggedness and remoteness, the Himalayas, offer vast challenges to those who come seeking for adventures, wilderness and to test their endurance and spirit. Treks in Nepal are rarely a pleasant affair with ruthless ascents, knee grinding descents, relentless high passes and unpredictable climates and conditions. The very demanding nature of the region has not only attracted the elites among us but the naïve name seekers as well who fail to understand the challenges of traveling in the harsh environment and do opt for cheapest means to get there. It is no fun, at the end of a long strenuous day, to be arriving at a crowded lodge with tiny rooms, having to wait your turn in the shower, sidestepping unwell/coughing fellow travelers in the small dining area, addressing the lack of healthy and familiar meal choices or hoping that the common bathroom is available when needed. The greater entry of these beginners to Everest means that their voices are heard more loudly than those of the experienced travelers, practices they promote are now accepted as the general approach. However, this exertion of both physical and mental stress can be a deadly combination in Everest, were cutting the Himalayan holidays short are now an everyday reality.
“The Comfort Factor”
It may sound obvious but a good night’s sleep, of course, has no price in the Himalayas. Up in the high altitude, our body needs plenty of water and rest to help in acclimatization and rejuvenation of not only our physical senses but our mental awareness as well. A comfortable bed inside a room that has enough personal space, good shower and private bathroom offer us security, safety, privacy and comfort, and is everything that we wouldn’t settle for far less back home. Likewise, choices of nutritious and healthy meals that always remind us of home, has a way of softening our hearts and filling it up with wanderlust. A happy mind and a tireless body are what we really need in Everest where each day is filled with challenges, surprises, emotions and moments that last for a lifetime. Comfort does not devalue our adventure but rather elevates the experience to its glorious flavors.
We, all, initially envision our Everest holiday with a promise of an exotic experience in a faraway place and not one where we repetitively stress and battle over our basic necessities and anxieties. Yes, no doubt, the very act of defiance and overcoming of the same basic necessities and anxieties are generally defined as adventure and wilderness lifestyle but are we falsely misleading our experience by overlooking and ignoring a fact so important yet abstract as the idea of comfort. In the world of internet and social network our decisions are based on the pictures we see online and the price listed under them, but never is true comfort taken as an essential reason.
Our first queries while planning for an Everest adventure starts out with “what is the best time to experience,” contemplating the many distresses of traveling under bad weather and demanding conditions, and yet we ignore the most significant question “what is the best way to experience.” Years later when we look back at our adventure we rarely recall the bills and invoices that were exchanged but rather our memories go back to those awe-inspiring moments of surprises and self-achievements. Why throw comfort to the wind in the name of cheap thrills and sacrifice the soul of our journey.
Imagine feeling safe and happy, free and without worries, comfortably knowing we are taken well care of, secured with an easy feeling that a cozy home with hot meals, warm blankets, and a good shower awaits at the end of the day. Imagine getting seduced and awed by the experience, all the while deliciously reflecting on the many stories, encounters, discoveries and culture likely to get vigorously shared back home to anyone willing to lend an ear. Memories of life forever etched under the majestic Himalayas – an exotic experience that was once promised.