The greatest gift you can give your soul is the taste of adventure. That feeling you get when you complete a 3-hour long trek or an adventure sport like river rafting, is something incomparable. For Deeya Suzannah Bajaj, indulging in adventure activities was not something that happened once-in-a-blue-moon but it was pretty much an enjoyable ritual. Deeya keeps moving cities, climbing mountains and feeling the adrenaline rush. Let’s dive in to know more about her!
When adventure came calling!
Deeya Suzannah Bajaj was born into a family of adventure-loving humans. His father went on to establish a tourism agency in Rishikesh, at the foot-hills of Himalayas once he graduated. Most of their family holidays used to involve activities like skiing, surfing or trekking. As a child, she always felt jealous of her other friends who had time to sleep-in during the holidays. But as she grew, she found her connection with adventure and started to fall in love with it.
At the age of 14, Deeya embarked on her first expedition with her dad, Ajeet Bajaj to Greenland. It was a sea kayaking expedition that happened in the Fjords. A few years later when she was 17, they made their way back to Greenland and went on a cross-country skiing expedition where they skied across the Greenland ice caps. She was the youngest in the world back then when she attempted the expedition and the duo were the first Indians to have give the expedition a chance. Apart from these, they did other activities like mountain climbing. She completed her basic and advanced mountaineering courses from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarakhand. After completing her studies in the US, she came back to India and started working on the adventure tourism company for 2 years.
Making it to the Everest height
In 2018, Deeya and her dad became the first father-daughter duo to make it to Mount Everest. After she was back to India from the US, she and her dad started discussing about this expedition and began training for it.
“Women are not usually encouraged to be in the field of adventure. ‘You get tanned’, ‘let the boys do it’, ‘you cannot go without having a bath for 6 days’, are the kind of things that women usually hear. I feel like I’ve always been this child who did not care about what I’m wearing or what I looked like most of the time, especially when I was young, because it didn’t matter. That being said, mountaineering isn’t something that is associated with women, especially in our country.” says Deeya. She wanted to break the taboo and spread awareness about women into adventure and it was really important for her to do it together with her dad. “No matter the field, women are capable of achieving so much. We will achieve a whole lot more if our families are lifting us up as opposed to dragging us down.” explains Deeya.
The Everest climb went on for 6 weeks where they had to climb 8848 metres. She recalls it to be extremely difficult and there were times when she had to question herself about this decision. It was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting but at the end of the journey, it was absolutely rewarding.
Travel - A lifestyle
Deeya feels absolutely happy and proud that she is getting to work in the field of adventure. She enjoys travelling a lot and she finds it refreshing as there is no constant access to the internet or phone. The feeling you get from talking to people when you are hiking with them is different, she adds. Conversations are much more beautiful when they happen face to face as you get to connect with people or a whole new level.
“When you are hanging out together as a group, it’s like 50% you are actually talking to people and 50% you are on your phone. You are always half distracted. I feel like the outdoors is better and I feel happy and fortunate to be doing what I’m doing” says Deeya.
Mountaineering isn’t always as easy as it seems, as the climate keeps fluctuating. It is either too hot or too cold up there and demands a lot of endurance. If you are someone who loves to trek, then Deeya has something for you:
“If you are starting off, then go for a 2-3 day expedition – A hike or a trek. Build it up really slow. If you are doing anything with adventure, then you need to make sure that you have a good provider, who knows what they are doing. Safety is very important. Make sure you check all these aspects before you step into it. Just go out there and enjoy. But do a bit of research about the place and the climate before you head out.”
Hobbies that don’t go unnoticed
The adventure-lover enjoys kayaking, skiing, scuba diving, mountaineering and anything that involves activities outdoors. She currently lives in Delhi and loves reading and watching Netflix when she is indoors. She also engages herself in boxing classes and hanging out with her friends.
Deeya wants to complete the Seven Summits, someday. She is planning to complete at least 3 in the next couple of years. She always wants to try out the polar expeditions. Apart from the expeditions, she wants to spread awareness among the women in India, by talking to the young minds. She wants to shape up the youngsters and make them believe in themselves.
“Be smart when you travel. Find other women who can travel with you. Explore places that you are quite familiar with, but don’t let anything stop you.” adds Deeya as a special message to all the women who want to travel.
She has recently completed her expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
You can follow her journey on her Instagram handle: @deeyasuzannah