When I stepped out of my house last Thursday evening for my first group trip of 2020, I’d never expected what it eventually turned out to be. It was a weekend trip, and I had already been to Coonoor just ten days back with my friends. So I thought we would have a super fun weekend at best.
But it turned out to be much more. 22-23 people came in, not knowing each other. Some of them were nervous if they would make any friends, some started out being painfully shy, some witty as hell, some with baggage and to escape sadness, and some just to meet old friends.
Right from the first time we all sat together in the bus, it was special. We had 23 people and 21 seats. And yet some seats remained empty cos we were all huddling in to listen to conversations. Or cos 4-5 people were dancing or rapping. We sat on the bus ka floor, on each other, but we kept talking.
That first day, we went kayaking and all boats swarmed around each other. We scooped water from the oars and drenched in other boats people we had just met hours ago. When we trekked, people helped each other, and when we were in the tea plantations we made a lot of fun of the people posing.
We were always together. We sat up till 5-6 am every day, and when we shared stories, some were heartbreaking. Some who had never shared their stories with anyone else before, spoke out to these 20 new strangers, who listened with tears in their eyes. People held their hands in support, people hugged them, people cried listening to someone else’s pain, and people became closer.
When we laughed, which we did for most part of the trip, we were like kids. When we entered a waterfall, we shrieked cos it was so cold, we splashed each other, we forgot the world, and one boy forgot he was wearing transparent white shorts 😉 Quite a sight.
It was a weekend trip and yet half the people cancelled their tickets the day the trip ended, and we stayed back for a day more. The rest who had to go, we held onto them till the very end at the airport terminal.
It feels as if I did a seven day trip in 2 days. It feels as if if the trip had gone on for a week, a lot of initially shy people would have gone back with a lot more confidence, more individual conversations and even more friends. It feels as if if it had been a 7 day trip, it would have been one of the most epic ones.
It ended yesterday and already reunions, more trips are being planned. But mostly I just wish that everyone who came can keep doing things in life that make them happy.
We have one life, people. Pursue the things that make you happy. Things that make you feel child-like again, things that make you laugh and yell and giggle. Things that make you feel alive.
To all those who are nervous about doing their first trip, about meeting new people, about travelling solo,or about taking any major decision in life, or following their dreams, you will have doubts. You will be nervous, and there will be obstacles. But know that we will only fly when we learn to jump and leave the ground. If you can smile, have faith and take a leap, the world will welcome you with open arms.
Coonoor gang, all my love to you.