5 Things which make Moto G3 the Perfect Adventure Travel Companion

Friends say that technology hates me. In a span of mere 30 days I lost not only my laptop due to a coffee spill but, also my smartphone while running under a cloud burst.

It is difficult to get over habits or change your lifestyle so that one can keep a gadget. Technology therefore should adapt to you and not the other way around. Luckily, Moto G3 came my way a few weeks ago and life’s been merrier since. I am listing here 5 reasons why I consider it to be the best pocket friendly adventure travel companion available in the market.

  1. It is waterproof, so no stopping you from getting out in the rain or snow.
  2. The Gorilla glass makes it a must have for dog (or cat) parents.
  3. 13MP Rear Camera and 5MP Front Camera make all the DSLRs obsolete. I prefer travelling with the phone alone.
  4. Long battery life gives me more confidence on those extended camp stays.
  5. Fits in my palm, so I can click a selfie even while abseiling down a 150ft pitch.

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It is simple to be happy but difficult to be simple

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I was more of the academic kinds in school and although I had a fascination for martial arts since an early age, encouragements for sports was little to come by at home. However, a princely piggy bank collection during a long summer in the ninth grade, landed me a spot in the Tae-kwon-do class at the local YMCA and the long lost dream was re-kindled. I was soon seeing gold and silver medals at the district and state championships however, the demanding rigors of academic life forced more focus on studies in order to get into a good college, and I saw myself drifting back into the rat race.

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It was not until five years after school, when my love life got off the tracks and I started losing hair doing 8-12 in a startup enterprise, that I realized ‘there is more to life than increasing my speed’. That is when I discovered climbing. I was formally introduced to the sport in the Basic Mountaineering Course at ABVIMAS, Manali; and although I did not perform well in the course I discovered joy in scaling rock and ice formations which to me seem to exude life. Since then I have made travel and climbing a full time ‘career’ and have even successfully completed the Advance Mountaineering Course at HMI, Darjeeling (earning awards for being the best student and the best climber in the second time I undertook the BMC).

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Even though I earn phenomenally less than what I used to two years back, live in a Himalayan village, far ‘behind’ my peers most of whom are globetrotting, sitting in air conditioned plush office cabins, drawing six or seven figure salaries, I feel immense happiness or rather contentment; having the time and patience to sit on the verandah in the morning and gaze at the birds or tuning my Enfield to get the perfect thump out of it. I feel fortunate having a simple meal of dal (pulses in a watery gravy) and rice after a demanding climbing session, and dozing off right after.

The only thing temporary is pain

Observing my lifestyle people often construe that I am lazy or lack motivation to do ‘big’ things or live a ‘better’ life. I think I am just different, maybe a little laid back but I am psyched enough about doing a hard problem or a line that I fell off over fifty times or arriving at a remote village in the middle of the night. For me a bigger or a better life means the ability to do the things that I want, to live life moment by moment.

Bouldering at IMF

Why do I climb? It is not, definitely not for reaching the top, or showing off a hard send. It is when I am climbing, life simplifies to small decisions such as moving a finger or balancing a toe. My only needs and goals in those moments are, air, nourishment and rest (in that order) and not even self-preservation. Most sportsmen/women know this as being in the ‘zone’, when all you know or care about is what you’re doing at that very precise moment. It is this state of primal being with such basic needs that keeps me addicted to climbing, slowing me down making me look inwards, finding contentment in the small things.

Rock Alien Bouldering Gym In Pune

It is said that, ‘it is simple to be happy but, difficult to be simple!’; I guess climbing helps me simplify; and I think this is how it works for anyone who has known the joy of climbing or any sport for that matter. Why Do I Climb? It is for all the reasons and none in particular; I am learning and discovering new joys in it every single day.

Nag Tibba Revisited

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Such a tease this modest peak nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas, has become that it almost feels like what Everest was to Mallory.

My second trip to this trekking route was scheduled as part of a rock climbing training regimen I am following these days. Since it is a steep 8kms climb to the peak from Pantwari village, I found the trek route beneficial in the form of a work out focusing on calves, thighs and feet; to be included in the climbing break that I take at the end of three and a half weeks of training at the wall.

My companion this time was Abhijeet Singh, a Delhi based fashion, wedding and travel photographer, whom I met at IMF, Delhi.

Check out details of my last trip to the Nag Tibba trekking route: https://baawaramann.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/nag-tibba-uttarakhand-a-delightful-weekend-getaway/

We reached Pantwari at noon on 26th February, on Abhijeet’s dutiful standard 350. After stocking some provisions from the only tea shop this village has, we embarked on the climb.

Having done the trek before, I was in the guiding role this time and ‘thought’ that we’d be able to reach the summit camp faster than last time, given a strong partner in Abhijeet – compared to my novice friends last time.

We managed to keep pace until the first water hole despite the oppressive heat and dehydration. However, over confident about our strength and direction sense, we follied into finding shortcuts thus losing track of the main trail in no time. For hours we wandered on the leeward side of the hill however fortunately, progressing in the right direction and landing at the last water hole on this trek (just where the last human settlement on the route is located).

After a brief rest at the water hole, we started on the main trail, just to be lost five minutes later in the chase of another ‘shortcut’, AGAIN.

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(Clicked before we got lost in the woods)

Tired, hungry and beaten down we wound up in a thicket of deciduous forest on a slippery Himalayan hill side. Racing against time and the oddity of the terrain, we were falling at each step. The sun was hastily going down and we had to make good use of the 30 minutes of the sunshine still left. Left without options, we decided to climb to the top and find the ridge line and a camping space. To our amazement, 50 metres of climb yielded the trail to us and we were able to find the forest rest house near the nag Jhandi, just in time.

Hurriedly we laid out our bags in a corner and rushed out to look for water, making use of whatever sunlight that was left. Minutes later I found myself buried in 5 feet of snow and some good sense prevailed that we abandon the search and build fire. We are thankful to the shepherds who frequent the area and had stocked the rest house with ample firewood for us to survive the night.

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The amber of the dried woods melted the snow into water, and I prepared some hot soup to rejuvenate the wearied trekker in us. With our stomachs full, we dozed off in a matter of minutes.

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(Melting snow to make water)

A loud thunder sent chills down the spine of the roof and I woke up startled. Blinded in the pitch dark, I struggled to find a torch. It thundered even louder and someone banged the door. I was too afraid to sneak out of my bag and decided to cover my face like an ostrich and prayed that the apparition (if there were one) leaves us alone.

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(powder! and more)

I finally woke up at 6 am in the morning, to find the room bathed in a bright white gleam. To my amazement, I found another 2 feet of snow piled up on the backlog we countered the night before; and it was snowing still. The apparition must have been a snow fairy 😛

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(collecting snow for breakfast)

Lacking technical equipment, especially the absence of snow rackets, made it impossible to climb the 2kms to the peak due to the deep powder – which was still falling from the heavens.

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(Preparing Breakfast)

Post breakfast we decided to head down; the peak being elusive once again.

Another time! May be.

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Check out Abhijeet’s work: https://www.facebook.com/abhijeetsinghphotographyy

How to Reach:

-Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun

-Nearest Air Port: Dehradun

-Cab to Pantwari can be hired from Dehradun Railway station/ Mussoorie, Picture palace.

-Buses to Pantwari can be boarded from Dehradun Railway Station/ Mussoorie, Picture palace.

Equipment for a 2 day trek:

–        Light attire: T-Shirts, trousers, shoes, cap, sunglasses and socks; thermals and fleece for winters.

–        Tent (We used a 3.4 kg Quechua 2 men dome tent, for 3 people).

Check Out Tents in UK on: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/C-359116-tents

–        Sleeping Bag (I use a Quechua poly fill, that works upto -5 degree Celsius).

–        Iso Propane Butane Cylinder and cooking stove.

–        Dry ration and liquids.

–        Kiwi bag for waste disposal.

–        Pocket knife, torch, camera, spare batteries, lighters, candle and matchsticks.

–        A comfortable trekking bag (50L-65L).

–        Trekking pole (optional).

–        Crampons/snow rackets in the snow season (optional).