In the first article of this “Alive is Awesome” series, I expressed about the feelings which provoked me to start this series, how this series will progress in the coming month and share my whole idea of Travel with everyone.

In this article, I will be sharing my feelings and personal experience how travel has helped me in different aspects of my life including the impact on my lifestyle and positive thinking towards this ONE life – making me feel – “Alive is Awesome !!”

7 Travel Transformations of My Life

Like I said in one of my articles, everything has a start, so do this love story of Devil and Travel started back in November 2008. Down, out, alone and almost surrendered to the most difficult phase of my life, I suddenly thought of pursuing my passion of Driving and Traveling to re-start again @ life, take it a step further and explore if nature has the magic that can save me and turn into the person I was as a child.

The Himalayas always had a history of being associated with peace and calmness, so I decided to have a treatment called “Nirvana @ Himalayas”. I went out into the wild to find out answers to many disturbing questions which haunted me every moment, top of the list being “Me or Devil??

The answer lies in my transformation as a person after Traveling over the last couple of years which allowed me to look @ life so beautifully, making fun of every moment without considering the day past or without considering the day ahead. Life is one and now I feel it should be ALIVE and AWESOME, ALWAYS

By breaking the shackles of all so touristy trips, I decided to dive into the unknown adventures on my own wheels and find many answers which have eluded me for so long, just to give it a try if I can make a come back to this beautiful life and to my family. (Sorry for a long article…)

1. First Taste of Blood | Chail – Kufri – Shimla

I still remember the first ever trip (Chail Trip) I made to drive into the hills and that hope to get out of that sadness/discomfort zone of my ugly life. As I hit the Himalayas, there was a magical feeling which started to creep in as soon as I took a right from Kadaghat towards Chail.

The trail was so lovely, least of traffic, sitting aside watching those thick dense forest, eating the packed omelets from home which all of a sudden tasted like never before. After a long time I smiled, I smiled out of no reason and this was the moment I knew. My childhood friend was happy to see that smile on my face for a long time.

We reached Chail, saw the cricket ground, went for a walk on some lovely trails around and went back to sleep. It was the first time after a long time, I slept without a tear in my eyes. It was surely a start of a change, a change for a cause, a change for making me happy, a change that will make me feel ALIVE one day but I didn’t realize it before I came back home from that wonderful driving trip of about 40 Hrs.

In between, I made a few more similar trips special being Auli and which all had triggered that happy change in my lifestyle but still not entirely.

Famous Cricket Ground at Chail
Famous Cricket Ground at Chail

2. Truth of Life | Chandratal Trek

However, things really started to take U-Turn after the Trekking trip to Chandratal wherein I almost got myself killed. I still remember people urging us not to attempt that trek due to snow on road, making it slippery enough but I was into a negative trance of my life, a life which I never respected.

We went out for the trek with some AMS symptoms, (at least now I know what it was ;)) was having an awesome time of my life, healing my depressive feelings before I slipped into the water crossing / Nalla drenching my feet completely, snowfall started and weather upturned on its head.

Guide asked us to move back fast before we freeze right there and reach the base Battal to get some warmth inside the dhabha. It was a run for a living and as I slipped onto one of the snow slopes the whole life went through a flashback and suddenly I felt I have to live.

That was it, guide saved me from the fall and we reach back safely to the base, got some fire inside dhabha, puked a couple of times and went to sleep. The next morning I woke up I was not the person before, I loved the sun rays, the snow outside, the stones and nature; I was missing my family. I knew that the depression died last day in a run to save the life, in a run to live life and I am no longer the person before.

Standing High and Handsome en route Chandratal...
Standing High and Handsome en route Chandratal…

3. Life is a Party | Goa

I came back from Chandratal as a positive person, loving and respecting life, loving things around, loving the smiles around and most importantly loving people around.

I had overcome that depressing phase of my life completely and people around me were happy to see me back as a lovable and lively human being I used to be with them. I reconnected with the world getting a new number which was quite a surprise for many people who were known to me through my professional world.

They could never imagine one person could undergo such dramatic change but those who knew me long enough were extremely happy. Meanwhile, seeing me living my life in a lively manner, my parents introduced me to the next age of life and I got married to my lovable and beautiful wife…

Things changed more and more and we went to Goa (Goa Trip) after our honeymoon trip!! Goa was a place where I was re-introduced to the life called party. We kinda traveled and had the fun of our lifetime in Goa.

The golden sunsets of beaches, the open culture, the night out, the Valentine party, the smiling faces, the great dine-ins and of the course the beer 😀 😀 … It was fun filled party trip and made me realize – Yes, “Alive is Awesome”

Golden Sunset at Candolim Beach - Goa
Golden Sunset at Candolim Beach – Goa

4. A Journey Beyond Limits | Ladakh

Then came the biggest trip of the life (Ladakh Trip), a trip I wanted desperately for so long, a trip that canceled quite a few times either right away or in between due to landslides.

God had chosen the right time to let me visit my dream destination called Ladakh with which by then I was already in love. If people say there isn’t destiny – I do disagree.

Fate showed me quite a few reasons to cancel this Ladakh trip too like heaviest of rains, longest of jams, Scorpio rolling all the way into Beas River in front of us killing 4 people, landslides, deep slushes forcing us to leave my car at a hotel in Manali to continue further etc…

But, destiny wanted me to reach a precise day into this heaven. It had been just 3 days into Ladakh when the nightmare of my life happened, the ugly flash floods and cloudbursts of Leh Ladakh. I feared death because now I had started loving my life, my family, my wife, myself and seeing death all around, cries all around, getting into the mini flash floods, running to save your life from unknown, being stuck there for 4 days, a worried list of people back home, a stranded lovable car away from home, sleeping with 2000 odd people atop mountain with rains pouring, queuing up at 3 AM at Airport gate with tickets but to get the boarding pass on first come first serve basis, what not and finally making back home in single piece…

This was a journey beyond my limits but it had made me stronger, more focused, more smiling, more lively. Now I spend more time with my family or friends then at the office or alone, the thought process is changed or rather raised way above to crib over routine irritations of professional life, traffic jams, silly seriousness.

I have realized the truth of being with family and what effect it has on your lifestyle, I live with a purpose now – the purpose to be happy and keep my family happy. I cannot express all this here in words, it is a special feeling, a special change which makes me feel “Alive is Awesome”

Heavenly views of Hunder in Ladakh
Heavenly views of Hunder in Ladakh

5. Facing the Fear | Tunganath Snow Trek

Ever since I returned from Ladakh, even seeing the dark weather right here in Delhi produced feelings of uneasiness in my heart. If it goes darker, I started to fear cloudburst even more. It stopped me for almost 8 months to venture into the hills or the Himalayas.

Then, realizing this potential fear may not become my phobia, my wife asked me to face it going right into its hand and confront this fear right in the Himalayas only. So, I went on to a self-drive drive trip for a Snow Trek to Tunganath. I had not been fittest of person, could barely run and then gasp for breath so climbing to 3600 Mtrs was not going to be easy and snow, perhaps the soft snow made the matters worse.

When we were at Ukhimath, the weather changed and I was in apprehensions again and in fear could not go towards Duggalbitta. Gave a deep thought one whole night and next morning with same weather conditions we proceeded towards Chopta and fear started to fade away.

Finally, after a couple of hours of a trek up to Chopta weather cleared up and the might Tunganath Snow Trek was done with all the determination and positive spirit I had, returning to home with a positive frame of mind. I did not fear the dark clouds anymore to that extent, but still, there was an unknown feeling…

Chandrashilla still eludes us
Chandrashilla still eludes us

6. Living my Passion to Drive | Spiti Valley Sprint

The joyous journey of life was running over and I decided to experiment with another thing – My driving passion. So, with friends decided to do a Sprint over Hindustan – Tibet Highway for 4-5 days Spiti Valley Sprint which concluded with a mammoth non – stop the drive from Kaza to Delhi.

For long 5 days, I drive like a free soul driver enjoying every moment of the ride to feel Alive, to feel Awesome. It was one of those trips where I just enjoyed the Himalayas and the Drive.

Vistas worth dying for in Spiti Valley
Vistas worth dying for in Spiti Valley

7. Overcoming the Fear | Ladakh Again

Days passed by and so did lots of ugly moments in life but Travel had made me stronger to face them. I used to broke easily but now I stand tall in front of problems, in front of many fears. There had been many things which I keep trying to overcome within myself and Travel lets me get an experience of it away from the civilized and fixed life.

Finally, it came down to overcome of fear of getting trapped, facing the dark clouds and getting over them I decided to head back to heaven again, Ladakh in 2012. Almost all 9 days we had dark clouds and I started kinda of loving them (of course not for what they were doing to colors in pictures ;))

Finally, destiny got me trapped again with all flights canceled due to inclement weather and heavy snowfall on the day of return 😆 … But, I was least affected by it this time because of the courage and positive frame of mind Traveling had imparted into my life, so didn’t my family at home. I saw many people crying out at the airport and it refreshed the memories of the past but with a smile. I feel good, I feel alive now.

My soul has never returned from Ladakh since I first visited it and each time I go back I still cannot find it back rather Ladakh makes me fall more in love with it and its people. For me, there is no other place like Ladakh on earth and thinking, writing, sharing knowledge about Ladakh through my blog makes me feel full of life and yet again feel “Alive is Awesome”

An Ocean of Snow at Khardung La Pass
An Ocean of Snow at Khardung La Pass


In the end, I will say – Metamorphosis, by Wikipedia, means, “a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal’s body structure through cell growth and differentiation.

I would be more than happy to tell you that Traveling has let me undergo a kind of Metamorphosis and it is still going on. Traveling has given me a reason to love, a reason to smile, a reason to live and yes a reason to feel “Alive is Awesome”

In the next article of the series, I will be sharing few reasons why I still Travel after all these transformations before diving into my personal adventure bathing experiences with friends which were fun-filled and are part of some moments to cherish for life.  Don’t worry, they won’t be this long 😛

So, please stay tuned 🙂 🙂


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.


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  2. Very well expressed Dheeraj .. there is something about the mountains that always beckons me and reading about your experience motivates me to follow my own dream of travelling to all these places …

    As you have found out yourself, mother nature has solution to all our problems ..

    Keep writing ….

    • Thank you so much Shveta, glad you liked it. Yes, the feelings are there but with this article I was able to express them too. And aptly said that “Mother nature do have solution to all our problems, it just need to be explored…” It is almost a re-incarnation for me over past 5 years 🙂

  3. Dear Dheeraj, it takes a lot of strength to write up about the difficult phases of ones life. It heartening to read about your recovery. I also love driving and am planning some drives. Your style of writing is very good. It connects well. Keep writing and keep driving.

    • Thank you so much Jose. I am really glad that you like the write=up, just tried to explain what I went through over past few years. It is completely a different story now, thanks to Traveling and Driving. Writing about Travel and Travel has become a part of my life and most importantly my wife also enjoys it completely now 🙂

      Dheeraj Sharma

  4. what can be more inspiring than theses lines “My soul has never returned from Ladakh since I first visited it and each time I go back I still cannot find it back rather Ladakh makes me fall more in love with it and its people” 🙂 jus luv ur blog and i have always been checking out those great set of pics. simply superb!! Keep going and keep us updated about latest Leh news!! Eagerly awaiting the next article in the series 🙂

    • Thanks alot Scoo!! Glad that it was so inspiring. I am madly in love with Ladakh and its people, truly out of the world. Thanks for reading these articles and liking the pictures, such gestures provide great source of motivation in keeping this passion running on and one…


  5. Hey dheeraj, reading your journey made me feel so good…i am a travel junkie just like you…if had ma way, i wud be on road each day :D…ladakh undoubtedly remains my fav too…the problems you have shared here and about overcoming them, i hope it gives motivation to others too…nature has this magical power to make you forget all the pains and make life much more liveable…god bless and hope we all enjoy many more such wonderful and joyous journies. 🙂

    • Hey Ravi,

      Very glad to know that brother… Very true that Travel is a great healer just like time. Seriously, there is nothin like Ladakh, I rarely think of an year when I dont want to go to Ladakh ever since I have been there. Hope if in same situation, other may also get to try this treatment @ Travel as well.

      All the best for everyone Traveling and yeah, for the lovely journeys in future 😀


  6. Great expresion of emotions Dheeraj ji. You write from the heart.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Thanks alot Varun, I just try my best to write whatever I go through, whatever that helps my readers to Travel with a difference 🙂


  7. Nishant Jha on

    Very well-written Dheeraj…and at the risk of sounding cliched, I can say that our stories are similar somewhat! I was also going through a very tough phase of my life in End 2007/Early 2008 and then bought my Royal Enfield…rest as they say is history! And Chail was my 3rd ever Bike Ride! and yeah that Kandaghat-Chail Road is real awesome for new motorcyclists 🙂

    I would be keenly following your blog for the follow-up posts on this “Alive is Kicking” Series…

    Keep penning…


    • Ha Ha Ha… Travel is a proven medicine, a proven treatment but FREE … Only lucky are those who try this treatment and then fall in love. As you say, rest goes history then!!
      Thanks alot brother

  8. Sourabh Handa on

    Hats off bro lovely article.This article is very close to me bcoz we have same situation to start my journey bcoz last five month is most difficult phase of my life we lost most precious person of my life my Maa so.Thanks n best of luck

    • Thanks alot brother and so sorry to know that. May God help you and your family over come this difficult phase of life. I am sure Travel would be a healer too to some extent. Thanks again.

      Dheeraj Sharma