7 Backpacking Tips For Beginners

6 minute

7 things to keep in mind for beginner backpackers

Nowadays, good old fashioned traveling is over; the ones where we used to make our travel destination feel like a second home. Packing everything so we would not miss home. These days backpacking is the new trending travel concept. Here, we just grab our bags and pack our essential things and explore the wilderness. If you are a beginner backpacker then there is going to be a lot of confusion on how to approach this. But don’t worry, I am here to give 7 essential tipsto keep in mind if you ever decide to go backpacking:

  1. Start with your backpack- Buy a backpack that fits your size perfectly, one that you can carry easily. Try a few and buy the one you are most comfortable with. Things like shoulder straps should be adjustable and the hip strap should come up to your hip. You should be able to lift it when it is full. My suggestion is to buy a rucksack with good back support. This will help you walk comfortably.
  2. Essential things to pack- Here are some essential things you should pack for sure because you will need them at some point of time. Things like a first aid kit, bug protection, and a Swiss army knife can be helpful in tricky situations. You must also carry lip balm, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Pack a flashlight with an extra pair of batteries. If you are going to a remote place then you must also keep a GPS device and some fire starting material with you.
  3. Proper footwear- Investing in good footwear is always a good idea. It is a key part of your backpacking because most of your journey will be on foot. You could either go with a leather hiking shoe or any durable lightweight shoe. Keep socks according to the temperature of the place you are going to. Do not take newly bought shoes. First, use them for a few days or they might be problematic to adjust to in tough terrains.
  4. Pack light- Pack according to the adventure you want. Do you want to hike just for a few miles and then spend majority of your time at the camping site or do you want to go deep into mountain ranges and jungles? Always keep an extra pair of clothes since you may encounter an unexpected rainfall. Pack your bag in such a way that you would not have a hard time finding your things. Because in such a situation you can get frustrated. So pack in an organized way.
  5. Prepare yourself in advance- Backpacking is always easy and fun. But if you are a beginner then it might feel difficult. It is not like your old fashioned travel. So you need to be prepared for it - physically and mentally. Start jogging one month before you are planning to go on a backpacking trip(/trek). You can try some shoulder and back exercises. Don’t forget to do some cardio. It will be helpful in rough terrain. If you are a smoker then either quit or reduce it to a minimum. Always remember that it is not a race so take it slow and steady.
  6. Start with an easy one- As a beginner backpacker, always start with an easy hike. Try going out for a weekend getaway. So you can learn as well as adjust to this new kind of adventure. In the first go, choose a destination with an easy terrain with less steep ascends and descends. Do not go to a remote place in the beginning. Always ask your local guide as many questions as you want. Do not stop until you are satisfied. So next time you can do it on your own.
  7. Be prepared for changes- Backpacking is always very unpredictable. It is not like your ordinary travel itinerary. So be ready to accept any change and be quick to adapt to those changes. Research about the area you are going to, because some areas might have extreme changes in weather so you should be ready to endure them. Sometimes, local people might not be very welcoming as you might expect them to so be ready for any kind of change and adapt accordingly.

You are officially ready to go on your first backpacking adventure. Just keep the above discussed tips in mind and you will have a wonderful backpacking experience!

If you want to add any more tips, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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The Bois Locker Room: An Instagram Chat Or A Wake-up Call?

3 minute

If you’re not already aware of what this case is all about, a group of young boys in Delhi on a private Instagram chat (screenshots of which were shared around later) called “Bois Locker Room” were seen objectifying, degrading, rating, demeaning young girls, sharing their pictures (some of this girls were only 14-15 years old) and even threatening to rape or kill them in case they got exposed. 

Screenshots of this group chat were shared across social media platforms - predominantly Instagram and Twitter, after which the school authorities of these students (the 20+ boys) requested the Delhi police to investigate the incident.

The Delhi police have so far found that some students of leading South Delhi schools created the Instagram group in the last week of March and started adding their friends. “A few members are in college. Some of the teens allegedly started sharing photos posted by schoolgirls on their Instagram accounts, and passing sexually explicit comments,” an officer said, adding that the purported chats also included threats of sexual violence.

DCP  Anyesh Roy told The Indian Express, “After we came to know, we registered an FIR under Sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and Sections 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form) of the IT Act. 

The case is still under investigation. But..

All the right things that could’ve gone wrong: 

First off, the boys on the group chat threatened some of the girls to rape, kill, and humiliate them if they dared to share any of this information with anyone. But the girls, being well-educated (and smart) enough to know that no such thing could actually take place if a complaint was lodged, went ahead to expose them anyways. But you see, things like this happen EVERY DAY and young girls are often a) either too ignorant to pay attention and brush off these issues as “minor” or b) scared of the empty threats that honestly have no real follow-throughs.

Second, the school authorities specifically requested the police to investigate the incident. Now again, this may not have happened in many other cases. A lot of times, any kind of vulgar behaviour, especially in schools and colleges in India, is looked upon as high risk to the reputations of these institutions so they prefer to sweep it all under a carpet

And third, social shaming. In cases like these, we bless the speed of the internet. Social media fastens the process of information spreading, and it is necessary for people to acknowledge this pro of social media platforms. But more often than not, a lot of serious issues may be lost under all that is glitter and jolly good, unicorns and rainbows - But this piece of incident DIDN’T. Imagine the number of people that want to have a voice to socially bring shame to their oppressors, but are unsuccessful. At least this one caught the eye - and the punishment of being recognized as a “so and so” in case of this incident will stick with the boys for a lifetime. 

Now, the case is under investigation, and a judgment has not yet been made. But it’s clear to the general audience that since some of the girls (whose pictures had been shared on the group chat) were underage, this is child porn. So not only are what these boys doing morally incorrect, but also illegal under IP section 292, 293. 

We hope for the best outcomes.

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What Is Herd Immunity? Everything You Need To Know

2 minute

Picture a herd or community of healthy people. An infectious virus or disease would pass easily through the community from person to person. Vaccines train our immune system to protect us from diseases it hasn’t come in contact with before. For example, the MMR vaccine provides immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. During an outbreak of a disease, vaccinated people will remain healthy. As they won't become infected, they won't pass on the disease. Hence, if most of the community is vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to actually spread to the rest of the community. This is the basis of herd immunity. 

If most people in the community are not vaccinated, herd immunity can break down, allowing the disease to spread more easily.

Herd immunity becomes especially important for the individuals in a herd who can't be vaccinated. These could be people who are either too old, too young or have weaker immune systems

Herd Immunity without Vaccination: Another way the building of herd immunity could happen is if many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it (natural immunity). In this case, the herd would have to be fit enough to contract the disease, survive it and then become immune towards it. 

 It is important to note that in order for herd immunity to take action, the disease/virus must be categorized as a Contagious one. (capable of spreading)

COVID-19 and Herd Immunity In India

Renowned Immunologist and Cell Biologist Dipyaman Ganguly has said that one of the only hopes in defeating the novel coronavirus is by developing ‘herd immunity,’ 

In an interview with news9, he said, “This coronavirus is not going anywhere. Viruses don’t go anywhere. They may become weak but its strand remains. The virus will keep infecting people until a large population develops immunity against it.”

He has also stated that immunity could only be achieved through a vaccine or by getting infected by the virus. “Since developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is not an easy task and it is unlikely that we will get one soon, the only hope that remains is that of herd immunity and it is bound to happen.”

Explaining the idea of herd immunity further, he said, “The virus is going to infect a large number of populations in India. When a large number of people get infected, their bodies will develop natural immunity. They will stop the virus from spreading further by breaking the chain of infections transmitted from one person to another.” “Since I am closely monitoring the situation, I am sure that we are moving towards herd immunity,” he added. 

Studying infection trends in India, he said that most coronavirus cases will be asymptomatic. Patients will recover through natural immunity and vitamin boosting medication suggested by doctors. However, those with existing health conditions could develop severe complications as the virus is shown to aggravate symptoms. 

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