I stepped off at Kokoda Station with my pack snuggly on my back, my two walking poles and an excited, nervous curiosity about the adventure that lay ahead.
Eight days later I walked proudly under the arches at the end of the Track, with sore knees, dirt under my nails, and tears in my eyes. This was something special. This was something profound….
It has taken me a week to fully leave the jungle and come back down to earth. I have been processing it all in my mind, craving some quite time to reflect on what I have achieved. It has been a pilgrimage of many layers.
The Track stretched me, physically and mentally. Mentally I berated myself for being slow, physically I struggled with my cardio fitness on the steep climbs, and towards the end my knees protested with pain.
There was never a flicker of doubt that I would make it, I was fiercely resolute. I was here for one purpose, to walk the length of the Track and absorb the experience fully and completely.
Among the layers of this adventure are the history, paying my respects, the Papuan people, making a difference, mateship, suicide prevention, breathtaking scenery, pushing limits, laughter, exhaustion and joy.
Seeing the Papuans in their remote jungle villages has given me fresh eyes. Grateful for all that I have, the excess around me seems perverse.
I don’t want to reinstate my giant, never-ending to-do list. I want to slow down. I can see how much of my time and energy is spent on things I tell myself I ‘should’ be doing, instead of things I really want to do. I am now fully committed to cutting ‘shoulds’ out of my life.
Kokoda has given me many gifts.
Believe me when I say ‘you can do this too’.