Meet the Team: Gunay Murshudova
CCC Project Planner, TCT Azerbaijan
Gunay joined the TCT team in 2023 from a background in human resources, management, and mountain guiding. Originally from Gusar, a town right along the TCT, she now lives in Baku and spends her days creating action plans for upcoming events, projects, and activities.
Gunay relishes being involved in developing a completely new area of her country, and she cherishes the opportunity to inspire people to join the TCT, collaborate with diverse communities, and share experiences with people from different countries. Her work at the TCT has helped her gain a better understanding of how international teams operate and deepened her appreciation for environmental sustainability and community development.
In Gunay’s Words:
Why did you want to join the TCT?
Working as a mountain guide for over 7 years, nature and movement mean the world to me. Hiking, especially going solo, has become more than a hobby—it’s my passion. I love exploring trails worldwide, and the idea that I could not just walk these paths but actually help create them thrilled me. The prospect of playing a role in constructing a route where people can experience breathtaking beauty and, perhaps, discover something profound in their souls for years to come excited me. Even if those individuals may never know me personally, I find fulfillment in knowing that I’ve played a part in creating something meaningful for them.
Favorite part/section of the TCT:
My favorite part of TCT is the incredible sense of community. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share the same interests and values. The collaborative spirit and shared passion make every experience within TCT meaningful and enjoyable.
Favorite place in the Caucasus:
My favorite place in the Caucasus mountains is Yergikek village at the foot of Mount Shahdagh. Hiking there is a magical experience, especially when I wake up early to witness the sunrise. In those quiet moments, as the sun bathes the landscape in warm hues, I see villages, cities, and nature coming to life on the horizon. The cool wind on my face and the nostalgic colors evokes childhood memories. The environment exudes calmness. Sitting there, embracing the stillness and ‘being in the moment,’ is my favorite and most cherished experience.
Oh, there’s this hilarious and heartwarming moment from my time with TCT. Before heading to the crew leader camp one summer, I explained to my grandmother where I was off to. She took one look at me and said, ‘Oh, poor children! You’re staying there in the cold, without water and food.’ To make sure we were taken care of, she whipped up baklava and sent it with me to the camp. It was such a sweet and funny gesture, and everyone at the camp enjoyed the unexpected treat 😊
Most special part of the TCT:
What’s most special to me about the TCT is that it runs through my hometown. This means the trail brings new opportunities for people in my area and all along its path. Travelers passing through will impact lives, offering fresh perspectives. As tourism grows in these regions, it also means people can earn a living. TCT isn’t just a trail; it’s a space where people from around the world come together, influencing each other along the way.
Why should people hike or get involved with the TCT?
Hiking brings numerous benefits, like improving health, providing physical activity, exploring new places, and fostering new emotions and connections. For me, the most crucial aspect is that a person truly discovers themselves and their limits on the trail, pushing beyond comfort zones through encountered challenges. To those seeking self-discovery, I’d say, go hiking. Joining TCT is not just about personal growth; it’s a project uniting people with similar values. Here, you not only get to know yourself but also have the chance to make a positive impact on others.