I first started trekking in 2009 and completed the Kokoda Track and Anzac Day Service at Isurava. I had always loved bushwalking and being outdoors in nature but had never undertaken anything on that scale before. My journey and physical and personal transformation really began in 2008. I lost 50kgs and my goal was to walk the Kokoda Track. I was inspired by a friend, who had recently completed the Kokoda track a few years earlier. As well as the physical challenge, I was also interested in the historical aspects as I had a great grandfather, grandfather and father who served their country in battle.

When I first started on Getaway’s group training walks, I had so much to learn. On my first day, everyone else looked like they had stepped off the pages of a Kathmandu catalogue. I was wearing tracksuit pants and sneakers and carrying my Cable Beach Backpack! I had never even used walking poles before. To say that I was a novice walker was an understatement. Everyone was so positive and encouraging.

Bit by bit my confidence built, though I was still terrified when they dropped us at the start of the Kokoda Track! I remember thinking, ‘What am I doing?’  I definitely had thoughts of turning around and going home at that moment. The huge mountains and rugged jungle terrain seemed insurmountable.

I was extremely grateful for every walk and training session provided by Getaway Trekking. Their leaders provided guidance, friendship and support and gave me the confidence to believe in my dreams. Their advice and knowledge was invaluable from selecting boots, purchasing a pack, hydration, exercises to develop strength/conditioning for the long days of walking. I forged friendships with fellow trekkers that are lifelong friends and developed special bonds from this experience.

It wasn’t just the physical challenges that I had to overcome but also adjusting to ‘roughing it’ on the track. I had never even camped without a hairdryer before. Squat toilets and living under a bivvy all became part of everyday life on the track.

If I was grateful for the support from the Getaway group (and I was!), it was the same with their local crew along the Track. I always knew that I was in safe hands with my trusted porter and leaders. Listening to ‘our boys’ sing on the track when things were getting tough lifted our spirits and guided our steps. And it turns out that life without a flush toilet is quite manageable!

I think for me when I completed ‘The Wall’, I started to relax more and take in the scenery. Each day I really enjoyed the experience and gained the confidence that I could do this.

Training and trekking was certainly a life changing experience that gave me the confidence to undertake a number of other challenges like Embessa Cultural Trek, The Kimberley Trek & Paddle and Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal. I feel like I have the confidence now to follow my dreams and to travel and explore different countries and cultures.

My trekking experience definitely instilled the confidence in me to ‘follow my dreams’ and to travel and explore different countries and cultures.

I look forward to training for another adventure in the future and would highly recommend Getaway Trekking for anyone like me who has that ‘spirit of adventure’.