6 Things I learnt from walking the Kokoda Track that apply to YOUR life

by Janna

Some holidays we just sit there and are lazy. We come back and we haven’t grown at all. In fact, we are no more compassionate, understanding, smarter, fitter, healthier or more loving than before. The only thing that might have grown is our waistline.

Other holidays are experiences. They are life changing. They challenge our compassion, our understanding, our fitness, our health, our ability to recuperate and grow. Walking the Kokoda Track was that kind of a holiday for me.

Kokoda Track - Ower's Corner Kokoda Track – Ower\’s Corner

The Kokoda Track has challenged me in many ways: physically, mentally, spiritually.

And as a result I have grown. I have a new perspective of myself and my abilities. I have much greater compassion and understanding of something that I have never wanted to confront, engage in, or even made an attempt to understand: war.

Kokoda Track - Misty Mountains Kokoda Track – Misty Mountains

For you, my readers, I’d like to recount 7 simple, but profound lessons I have truly internalised while walking the Kokoda Track – and share with you how they apply to your business and your life.

    1. Mind Over Matter – There is a beautiful saying: Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can’t, you’re right. This is also true for walking the Kokoda Track. It has been conquered by children as young as 5 years old, and just recently it was completed by an 83 year old. If they can do it, you can right? If you believe so.
Kokoda Track - Focus, even if you're sick Kokoda Track – Focus, even if you\’re sick
    1. Focus – Focus on your main outcome and make everything else irrelevant. Nothing else matters, it’s just an excuse you’re telling yourself, a story that you run because you’re simply not willing to do what it takes. There were many distractions along the Kokoda Track: I didn’t like walking through rivers and in soaking wet shoes for days on end; I didn’t like putting wet, dirty and smelly clothes on in the mornings; Sometimes I didn’t like the heat, the humidity, the rain, the cold. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you’re willing to do what it takes to get to where you want to go.
Kokoda Track - Focus Kokoda Track – Focus
    1. Pain is temporary, Quitting is forever – This might be a harsh statement for some, but it really rang true for me along the Kokoda Track. I was feeling exhausted, I was sore, I had a stomach bug and was nauseous.When we encounter challenges in life we can make one of two choices: We either push through the pain, grow and move on. Or we retreat, with the tail between our legs, and forever wonder “What If….”. Sure, we encountered some massive challenges along the Kokoda Track – physical and mental challenges. But instead of quitting, calling the Helicopter and having completed only half of the Kokoda Track, we pushed through. And what amazed me most was how quickly the pain was forgotten and how quickly the joy and fun returned.
Kokoda Track - Yes, it was exhausting at times Kokoda Track – Yes, it was exhausting at times
    1. Step By Step – Any mountain is climbed, any task is achieved, by taking one step, then another step, then another step… No matter how long the climb seems, no matter how difficult the challenge you may face, take one step at a time, do as much as you can today, and trust that you will know what the next step is tomorrow.
Kokoda Track - Owen Stanley Ranges Kokoda Track – Owen Stanley Ranges
    1. Follow someone who know what they’re doing – In most cases you will eventually find the way on your own – but isn’t it much quicker, and even easier to follow someone who knows what they’re doing, who’s been there before? Whether it’s a local guide on the Kokoda Track, or it’s a business mentor, or a life coach, you’ll be quicker and you’ll enjoy the trip with some great company! Kokoda Track - Knoxy aka Boskuk Kokoda Track – Knoxy aka Boskuk

      One of the funniest stories from our trip happened on the day we took a detour to GPS a new route. Nobody in our group had walked this way before, not even the locals, and we had hired someone from a nearby village to take us through the bush. After long discussions with out Australian Track leader about where we were and whether we were walking in the right direction, Knoxy, one of the locals and our cook, solved the dispute by simply saying to Chad: “Put away that map and follow the black man in the Bush.” Right he is.

Kokoda Track - Local Village Women Kokoda Track – Local Village Women
  1. The importance of Team – Of course we all know that a team is important, right? But how often do we try and do things on our own, when it would be easier, and much more fun, to have a great team around us? Our journey along the Kokoda Track would not have been the same without our team – The Boys. Kokoda Track - The Boys Kokoda Track – The Boys

    Thanks Boys, you were truly amazing, supportive, funny, surprising, talented, inspiring souls.

What a beautiful trip; what a tough challenge. And in the end, it’s more than worth it.

Kokoda Track - Janna Kokoda Track – Janna