Written by Emily Hamann | The Woodinville Weekly
How many people daydream about quitting their desk jobs and traveling the world? One Woodinville man took that fantasy a step farther — he actually did it.
Last year Sandeep Nain quit his job as a software development manager at Expedia and started a business taking people on hiking and mountaineering tours.
Between his love of the outdoors and his demanding career, when his daughter Jiya was born he knew something had to give.
“I had to miss my baby, or I had to miss my outdoors,” he said. “Or I miss my work.”
He decided to combine his job and love of adventuring, and started Miyar Adventures.
He just got back from guiding his first international trip a few weeks ago. He took a group of people to Tanzania, where they climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on a wildlife safari.
“I never thought that there could be so many animals in one place,” he said. “Fifty elephants went around our Jeep.”
For his next trip, starting at the end of March, he’ll be taking a group to the Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal.
Miyar Adventures also offers local weekend trips in the Cascades, and introductory trips to teach backpacking, mountaineering and rock climbing.
“We try to make it both like a learning and a fun experience,” Nain said. “You get to see the outdoors, but without spending too much or worrying.”
Before all the trips, there are information sessions, discussions about gear and fitness, and for the big trips, the group that is going will hike together. This helps everyone in the group get to know each other before the trip starts. Nain also makes a Facebook group for the trip and organizes meetups.
“So it’s not like you’re just signing up and going randomly with a bunch of people you don’t know,” he said.
As much as he tries to get everyone acquainted and used to each other, sometimes tensions can flare up on a trip, and it’s up to Nain to solve the problem. That’s where his previous experience managing his team at Expedia come in handy.
“I did have some experience with that before and it definitely helps,” Nain said. “Even if it’s in a different profession, people are people.”
That aspect of the job is one of differences between guiding trips and when he would go out casually.
“It’s not the same as traveling alone or with just your friends,” he said.
He’s been traveling, hiking and mountain climbing for a long time. His first trip was when he left his small town to go to college.
“All of the sudden I was like in Alice in Wonderland, with new people,” he said. He still loves that aspect of travel.
“Learning about new cultures and meeting new people,” he said, “it helps to make your mind more open.”
After he graduated, he got a job at a software company. He visited Seattle for the first time as a contractor for that company.
“I fell in love with the mountains,” he said. He decided to move here about 12 years ago. He got a job at Microsoft. He began hiking through the Olympic Mountains. Then he started learning mountaineering and rock climbing.
“I just found out that I really enjoy it and I was really good at it,” he said. He was climbing every weekend.
“There’s like a rhythm in it. A lot of it is shifting your weight and finding your balance and doing your dance on the rock,” he said. “When things are going right … you don’t even feel fear.”
Last year he and two friends went on a trek, climbing in the Miyar Valley in India. That’s where his company gets its name.
“A couple of peaks we went on, nobody had been there before,” he said. When you’re the first person to climb a mountain, you get to name it. They named one of the peaks Mt. Sealth, which is one of the other ways Chief Seattle’s name is spelled in English.
That kind of climbing was very different than one of Nain’s familiar treks on Mt. Rainier.
“Here if you break your leg or something someone will rescue you,” hse said. It wasn’t like that in the remote valley where they were climbing by themselves.
“You can’t let things go wrong,” he said. “There’s no one coming to help you.”
He hopes his trip to the Miyar Valley wasn’t his last large expedition, although he’s unsure when he would take another trip like it.
“With my 1-year-old daughter I don’t know that I want to take that kind of risk,” he said.