GlampEco Stays Manali – Glamping in Geodesic Domes in Himachal Pradesh

Moving ‘in’ with GlampEco


Some of the greatest questions you need to ask yourself before making the big move

By Shilpi Rawat

It was the year 2017 when we began planning on shifting to the mountains for good. It wasn’t a nomadic instinct (No sir, that’s been done with long back), we were up for some serious stuff, one that would not only mark a change in our lifestyle but more so give us a purpose to follow, a direction to work in and for our most revered and yet most fragile ecosystem: The Mountains.

Now, even though we refuse to be seen as city slickers, the reality is that we were its dwellers for almost three decades and that does mean something, especially when you are contemplating to shift base to a remote off-beat location, just because your heart feels so. At this point I really wish I could comfort you by telling a romantic mountain story, however, I would prefer to be a bit of a “True news Panda” (inspired by Mark Manson), and summarise our story so far with as much honesty as I can derive swearing all my happy and hard days up here (trust me, that means a lot).

Fast forward to year 2020, and the one thing that strikes us most is the fact that choosing an opposite lifestyle of what we had been living so far, means more of unlearning than learning itself.

Without getting you more confused on this, and shedding off any mystery that I might have created, I will explain you what this means:

So what exactly did we learn in these two and a half years of journey?

  1. The Switch

As I mentioned before, it’s one thing to fantasise about green meadows and snowy peaks, and an absolutely different feat to actually live that experience. Back in the cities, how many times do you check your phone in a day? How difficult is it to order your favourite dish, clothes, gadgets? What entails an outing for you? How accessible are your friends, family, colleagues when you are sick or needy? These may seem like some very regular, unchecked questions in your head, but out here in an off beat remote village of Himalayas, these become some of the biggest mental barriers that pull you down, or make you stronger. They become a choice of luxury versus frugalism, instant gratification versus patient desires and much more. Your decision to move to mountains itself puts you on a road less travelled, and nudges you to follow a lifestyle that is harmonious to your mental and physical wellbeing in tough terrains.You gotta learn to live with little, and be way more patient, to be precise.

  1. Unlearn life

While you could be inhabiting Earth for decades, feeling wiser as the number of candles increase on your cake, and getting more secured with the bank statements getting heavier with additional zeroes, do not and I repeat not mistake that for a smooth ride in the hills, because the biodata required here is different altogether. What does help you is the emphasis you laid on your health, physical, mental and emotional, and the tricks you learnt in getting along with different cultures, people, and by that I don’t mean your golf time networking skills, rather what you need here is honesty and openness to accept and adapt to a new terrain, culture, and most importantly lifestyle. So, time to unlearn all those old sauve tricks, intelligentsia, redundant business practices, and time to learn the nerve of your local community, place, and society at large because ultimately that is what gets your heart ticking and eventually your customer’s aswell.

  1. Being(Getting) Eco Friendly 

Well, this word rules the internet, doesn't it? As we progress and evolve, the harsh reality of climate change glares us every waking hour, and fortunately it does worry a good number of people who take it upon themselves to either start small but with great conviction, or straight go for large reforms to tackle this situation. We fall into the first category to be honest. When we started GlampEco, our idea and motivation was to build a place that can get people out of their comfort zone into the wilderness without overwhelming them with too much adventure, all this with a strong aspiration of being “Eco-Friendly”. But with comfort comes impact, which was a big big lesson we learnt on this journey. You cannot start with a zero carbon footprint plan(unless you have millions to your disposal), and it is slowly that you learn the ways and means of getting greener, and more responsible everyday. So, with the right intent you can be rest assured of getting to your desired goal of being completely eco-friendly, though that may take a little  while.

  1. Resourcefulness Wizard

The wonder of utility is one of the best things you learn when you take yourself away from the luxury of “same day delivery” lifestyle to the one where procurement of resources is a task that requires meticulous planning. Back in the days, I remember ordering five different books at a time to avoid the frustration of not liking one, and then waiting to get a new one, the time lapse in between seeming like eternity. But was it really eternity? Haha, that is known as instant gratification, a term that couple generations later would be unknown since that will become the order of the day. Coming back to the mountains though, you will know how every object has multiple uses, how cobblers, mechanics, and other rectifying jobs are still not redundant, and how recycling and upcycling is the way to a brighter and cleaner future. This is daunting at first, but later becomes the biggest change in your lifestyle, and definitely the most needed one by our planet.

  1. Living(Dreaming) Local

Okay, so if you don’t appreciate people coming to your house unannounced(nowadays, even calling unannounced is seen as obnoxious), then you really really will have a tough time getting along with local folks. Remember, when we were kids, we had visitors almost everyday, and then came telephones, later mobile phones, and then with the advent of the internet, it never feels like we are away from anyone even if we haven’t seen them for ages. Family, best friends, even lovers are expected to make an appointment( you may call it courtesy to be sweet), and that’s alright given that it takes hours to reach from one place to another in big cities and you definitely don’t want to be welcomed by a smiling househelp or even more frustratingly a locked house. But out here in the villages, it is still a practice to hang out at each other's place any time of the day, announced or otherwise. Don’t mistake that for people being jobless here, nope, they are way more dextrous and hardworking, but the local community in a village is more or less related to one another and so very comfortable and supportive to each other. In such a scenario remember what you learnt in school, when in Rome….., and get ready to welcome people with open arms and a piping hot cup of tea. Once you nail your local community, be rest assured of atleast a fifty percent smoother ride in sorting things out in your new land. Living in an off-beat location is no joke, and without the guidance of locals around, you’ll be a lost sheep treading in an extremely rough path.

  1. Slow down honey

Now that we have come so far, let us also have a look at situations known as “act of god”. You may have come across this term while buying an insurance policy(something that the salesperson very slyly hides from you), but you will actually see this term coming to life in full force as you start living in the mountains. So, if you are a control freak and get exasperated by sudden downpours, storms, landslides, or usual trivia, then welcome to the land of uncertainties. Mountains are also a place where you definity should avoid showing any hint of frustration on God, since these are primarily known as the abode of Gods and whatever situation the divine power brings to you should be seen as gods plan, not to be averted but absolutely accepted. You will realise that due to these uncertainties, delay in work, decision making, material and labour  procurement becomes a regular feature, one that you must learn to live with as soon as possible. Also, you will need to get accustomed to the mostly slow pace of locals(again remember When in Rome…), and stop stressing about every minute or day of your life getting wasted. Ultimately, you have to understand that life here is not as fast paced as a city one, not even close to that, so if you deliberately chose this for yourself,  then sit back, relax and enjoy the slow pace.

  1. Change takes time (almost, always)

Life, as you like it, takes a while to uncover, and it is only through patience that you will learn to enjoy the journey while inching closer to your destination everyday(if that is what you are aiming for). Time is a teacher, a mentor, a friend of sorts, as it takes you along like a flowing river, turning and twisting, and sometimes changing its trajectory altogether, nevertheless adding new experiences, enriching your life in every moment and every way possible. So, if you have the time and patience, to follow along, and a non-exhausting urge to keep walking, this new life and this big change is waiting for you.

What I mentioned above are just the broad indicators of a journey mixed with learning, exhaustion, adventure,and an absolute glee. The mountains still make us feel alive, enamour us with their beauty, and encapsulate every second of our life. We are in awe of the changing seasons, the panorama, the sunsets, and the local lifestyle. The harshness of the terrain, the uncertainty of external factors, and the immense physical labour that it requires to sustain this rigid ecosystem, is a thing for real, and only the really motivated, and absolute romantics will make it as their perfect home.

Here’s hoping, we find the strength to be one of them and look forward to meeting and hosting you guys at GlampEco someday.