Yvonne Shepherd Chief Adventure Officer

A letter to my “pre Kokoda” self

It is a wet, rainy, Sunday afternoon in Brisbane as I write this. Tomorrow I am off on one of the biggest adventures of my life, with my husband and son beside me, along with my best friend from school, her husband and teenage daughter. And my running buddy and her nephew are also coming too! It has taken 5 years to get to this point. I was planning to go in 2011 and chickened out. This trip was booked last July and knew I would keep the commitment to myself. So I am going. It was all part of the plan for turning 50. You know, a birthday gift to myself. Right now though, as I sit here, with the bags packed, the rain pelting down, I think of PNG, the track, the history, the freedoms we now have and and I am wondering WHY I am doing this. Yes, I am a little scared – who wouldn’t be?  It is totally new to me – the country, the culture, the track.  There has been plenty of advice along the way from people who have done it and others who are just wanting to be helpful. “Have you trained stairs?” they ask. “I hope you are fit enough” they comment. “Have you had the needles”, “It is too dangerous to go”. ” You will loose too much weight”. “What happens if…” In the end, I thanked them for their advice and then stopped listening. Otherwise the voice of doubting Thomas will creep in. So, if you are wondering, yes, I have trained. We all have. It has been a year in the planning. We think we are fit enough although we won’t know until we get there. We know that we will be physically and mentally challenged.  We hope it doesn’t rain too much, although the Apple weather forecast is not looking too good. Like life, we have backed ourselves. We will be putting one foot in front of the other. Some days will be tough and the challenge will be all uphill. Other days will be perhaps a little less intense. Then there is the downhill.  A lot like life. The reward at the end will be worth it. Anything that you put the effort in to is worth it. My takeaway will be a memory that will remain with me and my family as a defining moment. We will be in the true spirit of Kokoda- Mateship, Sacrifice, Endurance, Courage As I step way out of my comfort zone, I say to you “see you on the other side”.   +++++++ Yvonne Shepherd is the founder of Women’s Fitness Adventures, a company designed by women for women who seek fitness, adventure and travel all in one place.