Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets…! Do you have an adventurous spirit? If so, go ahead and add this unique job to your potential list! Today, I interview Mr. Raj Deb. Mr. Raj is what’s known as a trek leader. He guides treks and hikes through the Himalayan Mountains in India. Go ahead and take a listen to hear more about this special career!
Gracie Solomon 00:14
Hello and welcome back to Gracie Meets… every teenager is different. They have different interests and different personalities. Are you one of those teenagers with an adventurous spirit? Love the outdoors? If so, today’s interview is an amazing career option to add to your list. I’ve invited Mr. Raj Deb, a Himalayan trek leader to be on the show. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Mr. Raj.
Raj Deb 00:41
So my name is Raj. I’m from Mumbai, India. I studied business and I started working in finance domain after I graduated. So I worked for about three years in finance and then eventually I quit my job to pursue what I truly love doing.
Gracie Solomon 00:58
What job do you have?
Raj Deb 01:01
So my job is essentially, it’s called as a trek leader here in India. And like, essentially, we just take out people in the mountains, people who would want to go on a hike or go on a trek. But these are high altitude treks, and people cannot go on their own. So we give them the expertise, and we kind of go along with them to help them out with the entire thing.
Gracie Solomon 01:26
That’s cool. How did you find out about this job?
Raj Deb 01:30
So actually, as of when I was in college, a friend of mine told me about this job. And then I started researching because she knew I was into hiking and I had this love for nature. So she told me to, you know, just take a look at this job and they organize high altitude treks in India. So that’s how I got to know about it. And eventually I did some research on Google and find, I then found out what exactly they need and how you know, just to go about the entire thing.
Gracie Solomon 02:01
Did you need any specific skills to become a Trek Leader?
Raj Deb 02:06
Um, these kinds of jobs typically need you to go under some kind of training. I, for instance, completed a 30-day mountaineering course in India, where they taught us a lot of hard skills, you know, hard skills like setting up camps, making knots, building your own shelter, rock climbing, ice climbing. And these, these were the official training that I underwent. And apart from that, you also need a couple of soft skills, because a major role of our job includes, you know, to talk and interact with people, especially strangers and make them comfortable. So that was something I picked up while I was leading some local treks here in my state. So a combination of these would eventually you know, would be would make you a good fit to do something like this
Gracie Solomon 02:57
Climbing in the Himalayas and mountain like that, just thinking about it seems very dangerous. What is the biggest danger of being a trek leader?
Raj Deb 03:11
The biggest danger would be since these are all high altitude treks, right, we are very high up in the atmosphere. So the biggest danger would be any extreme weather conditions or maybe any injuries or medical conditions because we are out in nowhere, like we are in the middle of nowhere, and we do not have any medical services accessible. So, I’d say medical issues would be the major concern and the biggest threat to the entire thing. And any of this can prove to be fatal, honestly, if not tackled properly. So yeah, that’s, that’s the thing.
Gracie Solomon 03:46
How early could someone start doing this job?
Raj Deb 03:51
Well, in India, you have to be at least 22. I know. And, you know, because it just job comes a lot of responsibility, you are literally taking care of lives that come along with you. So you have to be at least 22 to do this, and but you can also enroll for these courses, as long as you’re 18. Mountaineering course, doesn’t need you. And it also depends from the firm that you’re working with the company that you’re working with. So it depends from that as well.
Gracie Solomon 04:22
How long have you been doing this?
Raj Deb 04:25
I have been doing this full time for the past one year. Apart from that, I when I used to work in finance, I used to do it part time. So combined would be a little more than three years now. I’ve been doing this.
Gracie Solomon 04:40
What has the year of being a trek leader, how has that impacted your life? if any?
Raj Deb 04:48
That’s a very deep question. So it’s, it’s, I don’t know it’s so overwhelming because over the past two years, I have been to so many places like remote places of India I have lived in so many remote villages where you literally do not have cell reception for a month. Like you literally do not have cell reception, you do not have internet. So just imagine a life without internet. But it wasn’t as bad as you think. Because that made me connect so much better with the locals living that you will literally make deeper connections as compared to when you live in the cities. And that was something I take back. I started valuing relationships much more. And it just helped me connect to people more and I have personally started becoming like I became more environmentally conscious after I doing this job. So I started cutting down on packaged foods and I haven’t bought a mineral water bottle in the past year. I started getting my own water bottle everywhere. I will refill my bottle just it’s just a small effort that I’ve started making. You know stuff like these I, I definitely think I am at ease when I’m in the outdoors as compared to cities because they have so many distractions back in the city. And when you’re in the back country or in the outdoors, you feel so much at ease, I can think clearer. And you know, it has just overall affected me mentally and physically as well. So, these are some of the major changes that I’ve seen in the past year.
Gracie Solomon 06:25
Yeah, like now, teenagers could definitely use some of that time to become, like, environmentally conscious, and able to make those deeper connections with each other. So I feel like a great part of the job that you have.
Raj Deb 06:47
It is it is because another thing that I was just doing some research about my podcast and I came across some stuff and it’s a fact that you know, teenagers these days like the screen time we have been facing these days, like we are always on our cell phones and always on our laptops. And rather than going outside and doing something outdoorsy. So I have literally seen that transition happening in front of my eyes when I was a kid I did not have Xbox or Playstation I had literally had to go outside to play. So that’s the kind of transition like kids these days are too much into digital media and social media, stuff like that. So I definitely hope that more people will start going out those and it’s a good thing to teach your kids.
Gracie Solomon 07:34
Would you say that that is also the most unique part of your job or is there like anything else that you find is more unique?
Raj Deb 07:44
Unique would be, a couple of things I find really cool about my job is first thing is I have a thing called culture. So I get to live in remote villages in India and I get to interact a lot with local people and live in their culture. That is one thing. Second would be I live in the mountains and I will literally move bases after almost every three months. So I get to live in a lot of new places and cool places in proximity to the mountains. So that is something I love. I meet a lot of diverse individuals, as people from all over the country come to trek with us. So that is another cool thing that I really like about the job. So that would summarize it.
Gracie Solomon 08:27
That’s cool. Where would someone interested in this job, like get more information? Like how did you get information?
Raj Deb 08:38
So for your country, I’d say if somebody wants to get into this or you know, just do a bit of research, they can enroll themselves for an internship with National Outdoor Leadership School. It’s an outdoor education school based out of Wyoming. And like, it’s a big thing and NOLS is famous worldwide. So you can probably do something with NOLS to understand how things work and outdoors. And they could they also have these mentorship programs where they would help you out with, you know how to go about things if you want to pursue a career in the outdoors. And then there’s another institution called the Outward Bound this one right in Texas. So you can try and reach out to them, talk to them and see the kind of courses they’re on maybe, you know, Google about how to become an instructor with any of these institutions. So these are basically outdoor education institutions so you can see how to go about them. Well, I have much more idea of how to pursue this in India. So it’s really easy would rather just go get a mountaineering course done and then you can work with any of the travel companies or again, outdoors schools, to you know, just keep yourself involved with the outdoors.
Gracie Solomon 10:00
Okay, I know you have a podcast, so do you want to shout that out?
Raj Deb 10:05
Yeah. So I have been working on a podcast that is on the Indian adventure community. And we talk about nature. Basically, we are two trek leaders who talk about nature. And it’s called the Desi Outdoor Podcast. Desi means in Indian lake, somebody of our own country. So we have been interviewing some cool athletes who are from our country who do stuff like ice climbing, rock climbing, maybe BASE jumping, so we just talk about them. We talk to them and just share amazing facts. So you can follow us on Instagram and check us out.
Gracie Solomon 10:37
Well, thank you for being on the show. It means a lot to me.
Raj Deb 10:42
Thanks, Gracie. Thanks for having me.
Gracie Solomon 10:44
Everyone has their own interests. It’s what makes people unique. You can turn your interests and passions into a career just like Mr. Raj did. He studied business and worked in finance until he finally found what he was passionate about. Since he found his dream job, he’s had fun and is happy with his career choice. This is good for teenagers like you and me to remember. It’s not all about the money or the pay. It’s about doing what you love and having fun. No normal person could be daring enough to make a career out of something they love for the benefit of themselves, but then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for listening.
Gracie Solomon 11:28
Thanks for tuning in. If you like Gracie Meats… subscribe so you can every time a new episode is dropped and follow Gracie Meets… on Instagram at Gracie dot Meets (@gracie.meets) Tune in next Saturday for an informative interview with a physical therapist.