“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams” – Oprah Winfrey
Montana Baruah from Assam lives the life of her dreams. Working as a banker, she fulfills her love for traveling whenever she gets a day off from work. She has been to 13 states and 2 countries so far and is always looking forward to new adventures every day. She finds joy in going on trekkings and challenges herself to go out of her comfort zone. Read on to know more about this passionate adventure junkie!
Today, we chat with Montana Baruah from Assam, a passionate traveler and adventure lover. She talks about how she goes about pre-planning her trips and also leaves some very important tips for first-time trekkers.
Hi Montana! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! My name is Montana Baruah. I’m 27 and originally from a small town in Assam called Jorhat. I have been staying in Guwahati for almost 11 years now and I work as a full-time banker there. I pretty much spend my weeks working in the office, binge-watching TV shows, reading novels, blogs and planning my treks and travels.
When I am not working, you will find me climbing one of the Himalayan ranges. Apart from trekking, I absolutely love to travel. So far, I have covered 13 states of India and 2 countries. My next trek would probably be the Sarpass trek in Kasol in May of next year. I love budget traveling and I mostly stay in dorms, preferably in Zostels. Apart from my savings, I usually spend my hard-earned money on financing my travel.
Montana treks at Hampta pass in Himachal Pradesh.
When did you start mountain trekking and where did you get this passion from?
Since I was a child, as far as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with anyone I saw (on tv), read about or heard of climbing Mt. Everest. With every inspiring story that I read about on the summit of the Himalayan ranges and also after watching the movie “Everest”, my love for mountaineering bloomed gradually.
“Being a nerd, I was pretty engaged in my studies throughout my time in college but once I settled with my current job, I decided to give mountaineering a try. Incidentally, around the same time, I got a call from a cousin of mine who asked me to join her on a 6-day trekking expedition through Chandrakhani Pass which is located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Much to my surprise, I didn’t even give it a second thought. I completed the 6-day trek in the month of May 2017 without much hassle and I couldn’t have felt happier. It has been 1 and a half years since then and I have completed quite a few treks, the latest being the Hampta Pass trek at an altitude of 14000 ft.”
Montana enjoying the view from Chandrakhani Pass, Himachal Pradesh.
Montana happily poses for a picture while trekking through Hampta Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
Who has inspired you to embark on your adventures?
My dad has always encouraged me to follow my passion for mountain trekking. And not to forget Arunima Sinha, who is a national level volleyball player and also the first female amputee to climb the Mt. Everest… She sets an extraordinary example!
How do you decide and plan your trips? Tell us about your most memorable trip.
I love to explore new places and I love to visit hilly terrains. Mostly, I prefer to plan my travel or treks 2-3 months ahead so as to manage my finances. I plan well in advance and research a lot about the accommodation prices in that area. I take some time to book my flight tickets and I go through quite a few websites looking for good deals. As far as the miscellaneous expenses are concerned, I make an estimated budget for the same and spend accordingly. Every time I trek, I come across a lot of like-minded people and we share stories about various treks. There is also a website which I religiously follow – Youth Hostel Association of India – and also a few social media handles for information about different treks.
“For me, every trip has given me an opportunity to learn about so many things concerned with travel, cultures and nature. It undoubtedly has such a positive impact on my life, it’s hard for me to choose one trip. But if I have to mention one, it would be my trek though Hampta Pass which located at an altitude of 14,000 ft which definitely challenged my perseverance and helped me build confidence to scale higher altitudes. Hampta Pass lies at an altitude of 4270 m on the Pir Panjal range in the Himalayas. It is a small corridor between Lahaul’s Chandra Valley and Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh, India.”
Montana enjoying the beautiful sight of waterfalls at Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh.
Montana all geared up to trek the Chandrakhani Pass, Himachal Pradesh
Care to share any important tips for our readers and for first-time trekkers?
It was hard for me at first. In fact, after many sprained ankles and severe knee pains, every time I embarked on a new trek, honestly I was quite scared. It might seem hard at first but as soon as you learn to balance ourselves and learn the proper steps while trekking, you will get more confidence in yourself. Be sure to start with small treks with proper trekking gear… I personally prefer Decathlon products. Most importantly, just believe in yourself. I would advise to trek under a reputed trekking organization and guide for your first time and also make sure you properly follow the instructions of the trek guide. It is also important to make a checklist of items that you must carry for a trek and make sure the rucksack that you’re carrying is light on your shoulders.
Montana goes trekking through the beautiful Kullu-Manali.
It is said that ‘we don’t conquer mountains but ourselves’ and I can’t agree more with this statement. As I plan my trek to the Mt. Everest Base Camp almost every day in my head, I realise how far I have come. For someone who sprained her legs in the flattest of surfaces, who couldn’t withstand severe cold and used to fall ill easily, I have overcome so much. With every trek, I’ve learned to be more humble towards nature and also truly enjoy every view I witness. I’ve realised how much Mother Nature has to offer and how we as human beings are destroying our environment. Hereby, I would also like to take a stand on how important it is to ensure proper disposal of our waste in our day-to day life. And further, it is deeply requested of all my fellow trekkers reading this that while traveling and trekking, to take measures to ensure proper disposal of garbage and not to litter the tourist stops and also while trekking in the mountains.
Montana enjoys the breathtaking view of Laitlum in Meghalaya.
Follow Montanna on Instagram to see all of her adventures and travel stories!
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