August (motivation)

I've also had time to reflect on why the whole Kokoda trek idea had such immediate appeal. And I've decided that, apart from the military history, there are several personal reasons:
1. It's been a long time since I've done anything for myself.
2. Having spent the past 26 years as a mother, going for a long walk sans offspring sounds MARVELLOUS.
3. I'd like to lose weight and get fit - and this seems a surefire (if rather drastic) way to do it. No excuses!
4. I have some issues (just as we all do) that I'd like a little bit of time to deal with. Mainly because my methodology thus far has been to use my cerebral floor-coverings as a storage facility, meaning I just shove everything remotely unpleasant under the carpet and try to ignore it. Which only works until the carpet gets all lumpy and you trip over the damn thing.
5. Then there's the fact that lately I've noticed a certain complacency has slithered into my outlook. And, in some strange way, it feels older than my actual years, almost as if providing desensitisation in advance. So that, for example, if I'm watching a lifestyle program and some adventure or other comes on, I just take a sip of my hot chocolate and muse 'well that would have been nice but too late now.' And I mention my age nowadays more than I ever used to, often as an excuse not to do something (like move furniture or master the Nintendo Wii). Then there's things like the other day when I was staring dolefully into the mirror at my outfit and I noticed a small lump underneath my right breast. Upon investigation, it turned out to be my nipple. But rather than be horrified at this southward migration of hitherto well-placed body parts, I simply shrugged philosophically (and re-positioned it). Now this complacency is probably quite beneficial for long-term psychological well-being because, whether we like it or not, we are all going to age (even Nicole Kidman). But I suspect that it can go too far, especially when it becomes a justification for lethargy. And while trekking the Kokoda will not assist physical rejuvenation (perhaps surgery might be a later challenge?), it will - I hope - aid mental rejuvenation. In other words I need a challenge to shake me up. Besides...
6. Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!" (not sure who to attribute this quote to but it's been doing the rounds of the internet for a while).

August (recruitment)

One month later and I have learnt things about my friends I never knew. Some of the ones I thought would be interested laughed at the very idea and others who I thought wouldn't be, were. I now also know that one friend will not go anywhere that requires innoculation and another can walk up hills but not down (which begs several questions!). I have also discovered that nobody likes leeches.
But the bottom line is that we now have a core group of enthusiastic trekkers, including Leanne who is a travel agent - which should prove useful with the planning (with the added bonus that if things go wrong along the way, she is at hand for immediate punishment). She also comes up with the rather inspired idea of linking the trek with a charity like breast cancer so that we can raise money at the same time and the whole thing can be doubly inspirational! Apart from Leanne, there is Cathri, Maria and Lyn, all friends from my Army Reserve days, and Lorraine, a friend from tennis. We are all of a similar age (i.e. not exactly youthful) and fitness (i.e. not). There are also several other women who are considering the venture but are not definites as yet. I shall try to talk them into adding to this blog as time goes on.

July (the beginning...)

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...