Disclaimer: If you think volunteering is boring, don’t stop, keep reading!

When you’re asked to volunteer at a campsite a little away from the city, for a couple of nights over almost every weekend of the month, you say yes and you say yes in less than a jiffy. Well, that’s exactly what I did.

After knowing Surabhi for around three years, I knew she’s been up to some crazy travelling with the company she works for. So when I asked her if I could volunteer over the weekends, she sent me a few details like a good employee and I soon got on board with volunteering with White Collar Hippie for Bandcamp.

I won’t lie, the first time I went to Uttan, I was in awe of how simple yet, gorgeous the campsite is! I entered when the band was performing and I followed my friend like a typical newbie. She introduced me to some people and then left me to myself, to socialize and interact with people there. “Tell them your name and ask them if
they need anything!”, that’s quite the opposite of what I did that day– wandered around for a bit, threw a few smiles at strangers, asked if I could be of any help, and then found a quiet spot for myself and hoped I was invisible enough to not be caught idle.

And as much as I hate talking to people and being social, I guess that was the last time I found myself trying to hide. Something changed a little that night, when I was swinging in the hammock, or maybe it changed when I was staring at the star or may be, when I was walking on the wet grass!

Bandcamp- it’s a relaxing place to be over the weekends. Most of the people I’ve met here, are here to give themselves few hours of relaxation, a few hours of doing nothing at all. The truth is, even when we get tired of running checks on whether the washrooms are doing fine, whether the BBQ is hot, the food is served or the s’mores aren’t burnt, there’s this simple- soothing and unpolluted symphony that keeps us going.

Sometimes, I’d wonder, whether I’d enjoy being a guest more. But then I’d not know which movie will be screened on movie night and I’d not know what the bands planned on performing and I’d not get to go to Uttan every weekend
and meet new people and be a new person each week.

So I guess, I like being a volunteer at Bandcamp, despite having to see that dog who chewed on my shoe- every single time!

A new year is a time for new resolutions, and if your resolution is to give in to wanderlust, it’s time to get packing and start moving. Pick a place and make good on that resolution before it gets tucked away with all the other unfulfilled ones.

While travelling can be a life-changing experience, you also want it to be enjoyable. Imagine hiking up a hill and reaching a beautiful, serene location, only to be too exhausted from carrying a heavy backpack to soak in its beauty. That is why it is important to pack light and pack right.

It all begins with choosing the right backpack. If you plan to walk long distances with that backpack on your shoulders, you want to make sure it is comfortable. A backpack with an internal frame would support your shoulders well and make that walk a little less difficult. A backpack with hip straps and thickly padded shoulder straps would divide the weight well across your back and be your best bet.

The second part is packing everything you need. If you are a budget traveller, you want to carry as much as you can with you so to avoid spending too much. However, keep in mind that the backpack is going to be a burden, and it should ideally weigh less than 30 per cent of your body weight. So before you stuff that backpack with your favourites, lay out everything you need and discard as much as you can. Remember; less is more.

A lot of your packing will depend on where you plan to stay. If camping under the stars is what you have mind, you might want to pick a place that provides you with a tent, or carry one yourself. If you are staying at a hostel, skip the camping gear altogether. Avoid carrying too much clothing; it will only take up more space. Check the weather of the place you are travelling to and carry the right kind of clothing. Shorts won’t work on snowy mountains, just as a thick, heavy coat won’t be of any use in hot, arid regions.

Remember to pack the toiletries you need. Carry a multi-utility tool like a Swiss army knife; you never know when it might come in handy. If you are taking a trip without your smartphone, carry a compass, map and flashlight. You can also carry light snacks, especially if you plan to spend hours away from civilisation.

It is important to get the right footwear too. Check the terrain of the place and get the right shoes for it. A comfortable pair of boots can also make the daunting walk a little less painful.

You are setting off on a journey that is supposed to be beautiful and breath-taking, not tiring or back-breaking. Pack light, pack right and you will find that your journey can be truly magical. So get started on that resolution; you already know how to pack for it!