Walking the Kokoda track changed my life dramatically, not only the physical but also the mental challenges. One foot in front of the other was very easy to do but saying it to yourself and relying on that to get you up a hill was a battle in itself. Not only did walking the track make me realise that it’s when your pushed to your limits you can achieve anything you put your mind to. If everything in life was easy I wouldn’t do it. That’s why I would walk the track again because it’s a challenge and experience in one.
The people of Papua New Guinea were amazing. They were happy with not as much as some people and we were unhappy with everything we have. The villages along the track made me remember the basics of life, family and friends and you don’t need all the material possessions to be happy. This made me realise how lucky I am living in Australia and how fortunate we are as a country.
This experience also taught me about mateship and teamwork. If one of your mates around you was struggling or having a hard time you helped them, encouraged them and supported them. If you were feeling a bit down one of your mates around you encouraged and gave you a spirit to keep going. The mateship and teamwork that I learnt was what our soldiers had. Learning and knowing that our soldiers had it a lot more rough and tough than me was inspiration to suck it up and keep going. The Kokoda Campaign is a story not known to many soldiers yes they know where it is and when it happened but they don’t all the details into this horrific battle. Now that I have experienced a little part of what our soldiers went through its now my job to tell others of our history and how their actions gave us freedom.
The people, culture and history of Papua New Guinea was a life changing experience that has impacted me for the rest of my life. The Kokoda track is not going to be distant experience for me as I plan to walk the track many more times in my life and help others and villages like they helped me. I am so grateful for the friends I have gained and will have them forever.