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Gratitude In Nature’s Realm: Part-4 Discover Unknown Directions As You Chart A Familiar Path In the Outdoors

Updated: Jan 24

Ever heard about life changing moments? We all have them in different measures at least once in our lifetimes. Seema Mangla’s story is no different and started with a small person setback hike.


We all have a destination in mind. We are so focussed on the goal that we miss the  transformative journey that enables us to get there. And this journey includes missteps, failures and setbacks.


When going on a hike, little did Seema know that a stumble on the route would mark a turning point in her life. The realization she obtained after that, set the stage for a remarkable transformation, and ultimately a new direction in life. Let us look at Seema’s inspirational story.


"I am Seema Mangla, I have been hiking for almost 6 years now. I have done quite a few hikes, both single day long hikes  and  also a few multi-day hikes! It has been a fulfilling journey, experience with nature providing unique insights into resilience. For me Hiking is a journey, not a goal. 


It is the whole process of going through diverse terrains, unknowns, unpredictable weather, trusting strangers on the way, and making new friends.  It has broadened the perspective of life by exposing myself to unknown situations. When I hike, tough terrain/weather/lack of water made me realize the value of comfort I always had at home. 


During one of the hikes, I fell down and had a minor knee injury, but I didn’t pay attention and continued hiking, and it turned into knee arthritis. At that point I realized how important it is to take care of my body. I started doing group yoga classes in my office and it tremendously helped me in my knee heath. Even having knee arthritis I could do tough hikes, like Mt Whitney, Mt. Shasta. Mt. Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and many more.


All this I owe to my Yoga practices, I didn’t only gain  strength and flexibility physically but mentally also I achieved calmness and stability. This motivated me to become a yoga teacher and quit my long journey of being an engineer. I opened my own yoga studio Yoga4wellness and started teaching others! Checkout google reviews here.


Seema concludes, “Life is full of surprises, (pleasant and unpleasant). And we need patience and resilience to accept the challenges and keep moving forward. Being in Nature and my yoga practices have helped in building the resiliency to navigate through life challenges with a smile 😊”


For Gunjan Utreja, Founder of MyTrailPals, working in the EDA and Semiconductor industry as a customer solution expert for 17+ years was the result of a decision she took long ago. It was consciously taken after seeing her family’s fortunes deplete with changing trends in their agriculture dependent business. The debt took several years to pay off and Gunjan was determined that she wanted a job with stable income more than anything. One journey she took in 2017 changed everything.


“A  friend reached out to me to ask if I would like to hike over weekends, and without a thought, I said “would love to”.  All I needed was a trail pal. We hiked every weekend 2-3 hrs and it felt rejuvenating, refreshing and energizing us to take on weekly personal and professional challenges with a 😊. We began sharing our experiences on social media, and slowly friends, extended friends started joining us on the hike. Over 5 years, the community grew from a WhatsApp group of a few to a Hike Queen Buddies Facebook community of ~500 women. 


Every trail we explored became much more than an outing. It's a journey that inspired many to join, lead, made fitness fun many. Above everything, connections made on trails became a much needed support system for those who needed it.


Soon, the pandemic hit and washed away a lot of hiking plans with it. Personally also, my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts. What do I want to do professionally? Where do I want to be personally? In 2021, I was exhausted from working round the clock with global teams across time zones. That was taking a toll on my health and affecting my family. I knew I had to act if I wanted to retain my health and mental sanity. I had difficult questions I needed to answer to myself. After pondering for a few months, I decided to go along with the strong pull from the universe and give my passion project a  try. It was now or never!


The spark for MyTrailPals (My Transformative Purpose #MTP) was lit around Dec’2021 when after one of the hikes a girl gave me a hug and thanked me, sharing what a beautiful experience it was for her and how this one hike changed the trajectory of her life in many ways, unlocking the doors both at professional and personal levels which she was struggling with for so long.

In September'2022 MyTrailPals was born. I had no idea if it would work or where it will take me but I promised myself that I am ready and I will enjoy every bit of this journey. That I would not let success or failure define me. As promised to myself I am continuing this journey 😊.


As a community leader, I am passionate about bringing people together, MyTrailPals is my tribute to the immense power nature holds - to motivate us, inspire us, give us the space to be ourselves and focus on things we care about. 


MyTrailPals makes outdoor exploration journey fun, brings communities together to explore outdoors. It helps anyone break away from isolation, self imposed blocks and break away from repressive environments. It enables to connect with oneself, with others, learn, grow together, empower, inspire and share with each other. Anyone who need the transforming power of nature can find it along with a trail pal”


The world that we live in is complex. By contrast nature makes everything simple. Our basic needs are to determine who we are, what our purpose is and how to start that journey.  Part of the answers are found among the trees, hills and lakes.  When we have no distraction but simply need to put one foot in front of the other. It leaves our mind free to wander the world we carry inside us. And in these rambles lies the answer to uncover life's greatest mysteries - How can I make a tiny dent in the universe?


This concludes our four part series about Gratitude In Nature’s Realm. Do let us know (info@mytrailpals.com) what resonated most, what touched you and what made you get into action. We would love to hear and share your story in future series.

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