|Sunday, July 01, 2012, 16:30 Hrs [IST]|
Mandip Singh Soin, Managing Director, Ibex Expeditions
An expeditionist, environmentalist and ecotourism enthusiast to the core, Mandip Singh Soin chose a career in Adventure Tourism driven by his passion for the outdoors. He can be called the pioneer in the field of Adventure Tourism in the country. P Krishna Kumar peeks into the life of this incorrigible adventure enthusiast
An avid traveller and expeditionist, Mandip Singh Soin is an affable person who feels strongly about the core values of life – humbleness, friendliness, and family life. A Master’s degree holder in History from Delhi’s prestigious St Stephen’s college, young Mandip had numerous career options before him. But the interest he developed in the outdoors as a child led him to take a year off from studies and go to the UK to hone his skills in outdoor expeditions. Mandip is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, UK, and the only Indian to be bestowed with the Ness Award by the Society. Before leaving for the UK, Mandip along with three other friends formed the company, Ibex Expeditions, to assist people in outdoor expeditions. Over a period of time, Ibex got into environmental best practices, and today the catchphrase of the company is ‘Dedicated to travelers who choose to tread lightly.’ After running the show with his partners for almost a decade, Mandip took over Ibex Expeditions on his own in 1992. Today, Mandip is ably assisted by his wife, Anita, and daughter, Himali, in his business.
Favourite food: Thai
Favourite restaurant: Side Wok, Ego Thai
Favourite vehicle: Prado
Favourite destination: Mangolia and Ladakh
Favourite writer: Roald Dahl
“Although the company, Ibex Expeditions was registered in May 1979, full-fledged operations started only in 1980. We conducted our first expedition for a client from Italy that year, and the same client returned eight times for various other expeditions subsequently. It was delight for us,” he informs. “The Ibex is a mountain goat, seen in Himalayas and part of Siberia, a short footed animal, which gets to places where other animals cannot. We modelled our expeditions in the same fashion, get to places others don’t,” he said explaining the motto of Ibex Expeditions.
A typical day:
Mandip’s day starts at around 6:30 – 7:00 AM. He goes for a morning walk on alternate days, and a yoga instructor visits the family for the rest of the week. Breakfast is always with the family, and he prefers a “wholesome” breakfast. Calling himself an “egg-centric” person, a tasty omlette is something he can cook with great finesse, he admits. He reaches office, a stone’s throw from his home, at around 10:00 AM and spends the morning hours in operational work. “Generally, I schedule all my meetings only for the afternoon,” he says. When in Delhi, he goes home for lunch and a half -hour siesta before proceeding with meetings and other responsibilities.
After work, Mandip prefers to return back home by 6:00 or 6:30 and spend time on the terrace garden sipping tea. He likes gardening, listening to the music, etc. Since he is associated with a lot of associations and social clubs, it is pertinent that there will be some social parties, dinner, etc. in the evening. “I’m not very fond of going to each and every party. I’m very selective and attend only most important ones,” he concedes.
Mandip loves to spend time with his family. His passion and love for exotic destinations, especially the Himalayas, reflects in his family as well. His two children Himali and Himraj, named after the Himalayan range, are both avid adventure lovers. While Himali is an art and literature writer, Himraj is pursuing his studies in the US. “All members of my family love expeditions. We go out with family and friends during long weekends to some nearby destinations for trekking, hiking, etc. At least twice a year, we go out on long vacations to some distant destinations as well. We have explored Magnolia, Bhutan, Nepal, etc. with extended families and friends in the recent past,” he informs. A jovial person by nature, Mandip believes that he has constitutional right for ‘punning’ as he belongs to ‘Pun’jab. “It is important to enjoy whatever one does. One needs to be a doer, rather than a cribber. Essentially, there are two types of people. One who takes from life and one who gives into life. I would like to be in the latter,” he avers.