When a woman participates in a masculine sport, her sexuality is constantly questioned and becomes a topic of discussion among tattlers. Yet a driven young woman had defied social barriers by indulging in extreme sports and apparently made them her passion.
Vinohsha Muniandi, a 29-year-old avid hiker who enjoys sports, adventurous activities, and trekking, has been involved in these activities for the past 22 years. To date, she has come close to climbing most of Malaysia’s notable mountains.
The aspiring hiker spoke with Varnam Malaysia about her mount climbing journey.
As a sprinter throughout her school years and as a student-athlete for her university, she developed an early interest in sports and outdoor activities. Her hiking journey began in 2011, when she was chosen for an inter-university hiking expedition to Mount Kinabalu organised by the Ministry of Higher Education.
One of my very first climbs was up Mount Kinabalu. I was so taken aback by the view that, despite the fact that climbing to the top was extremely hard, the pain and obstacles I encountered was worth it.
“At the time, I had no idea how much I would come to love hiking; I haven’t stopped since”, expressed the hiker.
I never anticipated in my wildest dreams that I would be exploring places I had no idea I could go.
The enthusiastic young woman had always made it a priority to practise hiking on a weekly basis and whenever she had the opportunity, depending on her willingness to complete the hikes based on her schedule and requirements for a hiking activity.
Along with hiking, I’ve taken up long distance running, finished half-marathons, paragliding, rock climbing, and martial arts. – Vinohsha
She had gained more confidence and strength to continue exploring and complete all of her hike mission that she was not a subject to any limits and simply received encouragement from her parents and family in order to practice extreme sports.
The adventurous woman has scaled many mountains in Asia, including Mount Rinjani, Kawah Ijen, Mount Kerinchi, Mount Fansipan, etc.
Despite the age difference, Vinohsha connected with many other adventure seekers along the way who shared her passion for hiking and served as her support system when she felt hopeless. With the immense support on every mission, they now hike and travel together.
“It’s always exciting to venture into nature and meet people, I guess that is also another reason why I enjoy this activity so much”, said the explorer.
To dispel the myth that only men can enjoy and participate in intense outdoor sports, I’ve always enjoyed pushing and challenging myself and perhaps even putting myself in unpleasant situations, made me a lot braver and more resilient, not just in the wild—it also applies to everyday life.
It takes a lot of practise to overcome obstacles on a hiking trail, therefore it is never simple to follow, especially for women, there are often safety concerns to consider.
The enthusiastic climber has embarked on a variety of challenges to explore how much more she can do outside of an idealistic environment since she enjoys the high adrenaline rush of trying new things.
“Being in unpleasant circumstances without access to toilets or having to change clothes while on a trekking mission teaches you how to think promptly and make the best of the situation”, Vinohsha said.
We ladies are so much more than what the outside world expects of us – Vinohsha
The community has a strong bias against girls participating in such activities; try to mediate and develop some trust that you are capable of doing so.
The ardent climber encouraged women of all ages to pursue their passions and take the risk involved in doing so. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme; a tiny start will do, and you’ll gradually get there.
“Life is so much more than just one perspective. Along the road, you’ll make wonderful friends and, most importantly, you’ll gain confidence and independence in yourself”, she added.
Every time I look back at my hikes, it is a small win for me for just doing something I am passionate about.
August will see the avid hiker venture on an excursion to the Annapurna Base Camp, one of the well-known treks in the Himalayas, which is located 4,130 metres above sea level. Eight hikers would be participating in the 10-day adventure, and preparations for the hike are now underway.
The ultimate aim of this expedition is to hoist the Jalur Gemilang flag at the base camp on August 31 in commemoration of Merdeka Day.