Prashanthi Koutha was shivering.
Two days into her first backpacking journey she yard-saled right into a creek crossing. Her pack was soaked. Her garments have been moist. Her cellphone—toast.
“I bear in mind considering, I had sufficient issues in my life. Why the hell was I doing this once more?” However there was a purpose.
After shifting eight,000 miles from her family and friends in Hyderabad, India, Prashanthi spent the earlier three years targeted on the life milestones everybody anticipated of her. She wanted to do one thing on her phrases.
She selected a Four-day backpacking journey with REI Adventures on the Misplaced Coast of California—a distant stretch of rocky coves and black-sand seashores solely accessible by dust highway. Prashanthi had at all times been drawn to the outside, however she’d by no means hiked greater than 4 miles in a day.
“My household thought it was loopy,” she says, laughing. “They have been like, can’t you simply stroll by means of some timber in Arkansas? However that was the purpose. I knew if I might do that, I might get the remainder of my life collectively.”
Issues obtained off to a rocky begin. Her water reservoir sprung a leak on day one, and her low-cut sneakers took on sand with each step. Then—she hit the creek.
“I used to be beginning to suppose I made a mistake” she says. “Then one of many different ladies walked as much as encourage me. We began speaking about life and I spotted, we’re all right here for a objective. I’m right here as a result of I needed to push myself. I knew this wouldn’t be straightforward.”
That night time she borrowed some dry gear and dozed off listening to the tender breaths of the Pacific. When she woke, the power of the group buzzed by means of camp like thick pictures of espresso. She smiled, scarfed down a sizzling breakfast served up by one of many guides, and set off for one more 14 miles.
With drained lungs and legs she drew energy from the dramatic scenes unfolding round her. She remembers miles of sun-dappled seashores and towering bluffs streaked with coastal hues of twilight.
However her favourite reminiscences are the conversations with different hikers. By the top of the fourth day, there was even a pact—if Prashanthi will get married within the subsequent couple years, the remainder of the group promised to hitch her in India.
That camaraderie left an enduring impression. Within the 12 months since, she’s organized group mountaineering journeys, launched into her first technical rock climb, and spent two days rafting rivers in Colorado.
“That journey modified my life,” she says. “At one level I bear in mind looking at nothing however blue ocean and sky, questioning what I might probably be taught by strolling on sand. I assume I obtained my reply.”