Here’s an Insight of Priyank’s life as a mountaineer. I always loved his travel posts on Instagram and decided to ask him about his amazing journey. I hope you like him and his work as much as I do. All the Love and Success to you Priyank …
Priyank Badola is a
- NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) Trip Leader India
- Leave No Trace Trainer
- Wilderness First Responder
- NOLS Alaska Mountaineer
To know more please visit his website: – Counting Summits
- Tell us about yourself and your work in brief.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, but my roots trace me back to the foothills of Himalayas. In 2015, I made a choice of leaving behind my cushy banking job to follow my passion. Since then I have traveled to some of the remotest corners of Uttarakhand, Himachal, J&K, and Sikkim. By profession, I am an adventure trip leader, a mountain guide, and an outdoor educator. When I’m not on my personal trips I lead and guide treks in the Himalayas. Other than that I document my travels through my photography and cinematography. I encourage people to experience outdoors, find their connect with nature and make them understand what they have been missing.
- What is that inspires you to be a mountaineer?
Although I belong to Uttarakhand, I was introduced to the mountains pretty late in life. When I made my first trip to the greater Himalayas, I could feel a surge of positivity and energy in me. And it so happened that every time I went up north to the Himalayas for road trips or treks I could feel the power of the mighty mountains. Their sheer magnificence with utmost humility was the thing which inspired me the most. They gave me a glimpse of my own potential which I was totally unaware of. They taught me things which no school or college could ever teach. All these things made me think about what I was doing so far and what I should be doing. The decision was pretty clear in front of me to step into the outdoors full time and inspire others with it. That’s when I chose to get into mountaineering so that I could get as close as possible to the mountains!
- How is it to be so close to nature all the time?
Being close to nature has got to do a lot more than just scenic views and relaxation. It is a place where once can learn a lot about their own selves. When you are out on the field there are a lot of things which you end up doing unknowingly. Soft skills like communication, judgment and decision making, self-awareness, vision and action, tolerance to adversity and uncertainty and backcountry behavior, all develop in a much more effective way. The way you act and take risk management into account is again something which works wonders in the outdoors. And when time comes to head back to the front country, all these skills amplify in the best way possible to make you a much more confident and self-sufficient person.
- Is love for nature one of the reasons for you te be what you are today?
Oh absolutely. Almost a decade ago when I had gone to Yosemite National Park in California, I still remember telling myself, “how I would love to get lost in a place like this!”. And when the ‘Himalayas’ happened, it struck the chord in my heart and I decided this is where I want to spend most of the time. I have seen myself grow in the past few years since the time I have started being close to nature. My vision has become clear and action more purposeful. There is a reason why in the early days the rishis and the sages used to head up to the mountains to seek inspiration and solitude. I too feel connected at some level to the mystics which the mountains provide.
- Any experience or story that you can share with us about the importance of conservation of nature? Have you ever contributed to such an act?
Since the time I have started my journey I have witnessed how nature is being misused by the people. In the name of commercialisation, large-scale developments have been taking place and the access to even the most remote locations is getting better by the day. Because of this, every year people are heading to those places in large numbers. The thing I would like to say is that, even though it is good to know that people are making an effort to travel to offbeat locations, their travels should not be confined to just clicking pictures. People must understand the responsibility of not littering the place and make sure they carry their waste back to a place where it could be disposed of properly. Just being a tourist or a traveler won’t help anyone. One needs to know how to provide a helping hand to the locals. It’s an appeal to the audience to take part in drives which support the local population. Monetary funding is not the only way to contribute. There are many institutes and organizations which offer volunteering opportunities. You get to experience the local way of living and also be a part of a bigger cause.
I personally am a big follower of Leave No Trace principles. These are simple ways by which we humans can minimize our impact on nature and play a part in its preservation.
- Any incident that changed your life?
The decision of leaving a job and following my passion was one of the key incidents that have brought me where I am today. It was a tough one as there was no foundation set and I had to start from the scratch. I knew the journey won’t be easy and will have its own share of challenges. But I came up with a plan took some right steps while doing my ground work. As time passed by, I started my own travel blog, ‘Counting Summits’ through which I portrayed my journey to the people. I went again and again to Himalayan treks some of them which I lead and guided. I was fortunate enough to bump into so many wonderful people who offered me help in some way or the other. I had a dream which I dared to follow, and now I am glad I am able to inspire others through my work.
A moment when I was really proud of my work was when I was made the youth ambassador of the NGO for which I have been working since 2011. Through my climbs, I spread the message of “Proud To Be Tobacco Free” and raise awareness of the ill effects of Tobacco consumption among the youth. I was also made the ambassador of the Adolescence Education Program run by Apeejay School. It is really rewarding to touch hearts of so many people and I am glad I can make a difference.
- Any message for all of us?
My message to the people would be to go out there and make a genuine attempt in doing what you love doing. Unless and until you try you will never know how far you can go. There will be times when you will fail even after multiple attempts. But trust me, failure is one of the best things that can happen to you. You can either run from it or learn from it; the choice is yours. It is not always that your passion will materialize and turn into something which can sustain you for the rest of your life. But it sure will broaden your horizon and open doors to a lot of many things! So, Dream. Dare. Inspire!