Shogran Valley in KPK, Pakistan captured by yours truly
For the first time in my life, I did what I had always wanted. At the age of 23, with my own hard earned money I went for a vacation for the first time in my life. Yes, people might laugh at me or find it funny that a 23 year old is so excited about a local trip to the mountains. But I was. And it was truly magical.
My parents had never ever ever taken me anywhere. Not even outside of the city. For the first time I travelled outside my city when I was 19. That also for a university day trip. And to a rural area. I had never seen any other city other than the one I was born in. And that also only specific parts of it. Not because I am poor or anything but because my parents never thought about taking their children for a holiday. It was never seen as a valid need. Not even for my poor mother who slaved in the kitchen all day. I remember how every summer, my Mother would tell me that we will go to Murree and I would look forward to every single June-July. I have always loved winter. I would fantasize about wearing hoodies and playing with snowfall and making snowmen just like the ones in my school book. And I would tease and coax my father. He would laugh about it and say next time but it would never happen.
I remember specifically how once my brother snapped and me and told me how I should stop hoping for things. Nothing is actually gonna come out of your plans. Thats when I realized that maybe he was right. And I stopped planning.
All my brothers first travelled with their respective universities. I also vowed to travel with my highschool. When my Dean told us about a school-making mission for 45 days in Gilgit Baltistan I knew I had to go. But my father flat out refused, laughing at my face in his casual manner. As a 17 year old, thats when I first pledged to save enough myself to travel.
And I did. Even though it was winter and half the routes were blocked and the trip organizers made every effort to ruin the trip for me, I travelled on my own for the first time. I checked in a hotel for the first time, discovered what room service actually is. Got the chance to stroll a city at night all on my own. Trekked a mountain. Almost froze to death in -5 degree without a heater. Survived on 4 hours of sleep everyday because my friends would not let me sleep otherwise. Got covid at the end of it lol because of which I am quarantined at the moment. But I did all that. And I am very happy and proud of myself. The child in me wept with joy when I saw my very first snowfall. It was indeed as magical as I had fantasized about it in my childhood. And I cant wait to do it all over again. I will go to Hunza next. And then to other countries. Yes.