It all started, like so many things in my life, with a few glasses of champagne. A brainwave of an idea that just popped into my head from nowhere, blossoming with apparent brilliance. You'd think that, by the ripe old age of 48, I'd be well aware of the effect that champagne has on my judgement and be able to take that into account when imbibing. Especially since at least one of my offspring owes her existence to the correlation between champagne and my inhibitions (I probably should have named her 'Champagne' to acknowledge this or, to avoid upsetting the French, just 'Sparkling Wine' - although 'Annoying Whine' is usually more apt). But that's the thing about having your judgement impaired; you are unable to even judge that your judgement is impaired. See? Clearly a conundrum.
Anyway, there I was, leaning against the kitchen bench enjoying said champagne while waiting for some old friends to arrive. Everything was ready to go and I was just letting my thoughts meander, from such diverse topics like whether I'd washed the kids' school uniforms, to whether that possum last night was inside the roof or out, to whether permanent hair removal was value for money (what is it with chin hairs?!), to how I might celebrate my fiftieth birthday in about eighteen months. I paused with this last for a while, letting myself picture a party like I had for my fortieth - which was fun but oh, so exhausting. And I realised that I'd rather do something different. Something that would start my second half-century off with style. Maybe even something challenging.
And suddenly there it was - the Kokoda Track. Lit up in flashing neon across my frontal lobe as if it had been lurking in the little-used bits of grey matter (hanging out with things like algebra, equations and how to make a marriage succeed), just waiting for the chance to leap into the spotlight. And the funny thing was that I had no idea it was even there. Certainly I'd never seriously considered walking the Kokoda Track, nor do I know anybody who has. In fact all I know about the place is that it's steeped in military history and is located somewhere in New Guinea. Somewhere hot, surrounded by jungle, and with a native population who were trendsetters in the afro-type hair department.
So I have no idea where the idea came from. But once it arrived it stuck like cerebral glue. Nor did I even take the time to acknowledge the irony inherent in dismissing the idea of a party as being too exhausting and then, barely two breaths later, to contemplate trekking for days through mountainuous jungle in the tropical heat. The fact that I'm overweight, under-fit, and basically lazy doesn't enter into it either. No, I'm too busy congratulating myself on the sheer brilliance of the idea as I eagerly await my friends so that I can talk them into joining me. And so it begins...