It is hard to imagine that I have been home for almost 2 weeks. I think I left a part of me on the track and it is calling me back there, back to the jungle, the heat, the humidity and the amazing people. One of the other trekkers who was walking the track for the 3rd or 4th time mentioned to me early on in the journey that there was something about the place that just gets under your skin and makes you want to return. He was right. I do want to return and somehow I want to make a difference.
The journey has changed me in so many ways, some subtle and some not so subtle. The biggest change is my energy levels; I wake of a morning, often before my alarm and lie in bed thinking about the day. Normally this would lead me to falling straight back to sleep but now I mentally plan my day before jumping out of bed. In the past, I would often go for a walk before the rest of the house woke, now I go for a run. The feeling of being able to run is amazing. I know that I have done the Couch to 5km in the past but I never actually got to the stage that I enjoyed running. I am now running the same circuit that I was running then, I can’t say that I am enjoying the running but I am loving being able to run and burning up some excess energy. Another big change is my mood; I am much less likely to be annoyed at other people and their inability to get things done. I am more accepting of any situation and if I don’t like what is happening, I change it! I know that sounds like a logical situation but it is new to me!
Overall I think that I am much more positive and happier to be around. I have too much energy and unless I am working or reminiscing, I find it difficult to sit still. I have barely watched any tv since returning, even my favourite shows are going unwatched. I still want to watch them, I just don’t have the time to sit just yet.
Another change that is taking place is my desire to learn. I am contemplating going to uni! This is a huge step for me, I went to a TAFE college when I finished high school and gave uni a wide berth but now I see that studying is something that can and will benefit me. I have even found a course that I am interested in and have downloaded the application forms. I attended the information session about the course and instead of feeling intimidated by what was presented I walked away feeling invigorated. Now all I have to do is look at what practical, real life experience will help me meet the entrance criteria and apply for a scholarship to reduce the cost of studying. The timing is right and I am feeling positive about the experience.
Other less awesome changes includes my new desire to lurk on facebook. Previously I would check every couple of days but since returning I have found that it is a great way to keep in touch with fellow trekkers. I feel that each time I walk by the desktop I check out to see if anyone is online! It seems strange that I can want to be a part of the lives of these people but now they are like family to me. I know that if any of them were to contact me and ask for help, I would be there in a heartbeat and I am sure that they would do the same for me. The other adults are like siblings, sure they can drive you mad but essentially all you want to do is look out for them and make sure they are OK. I am really looking forward to spending more time with them in the coming weeks.
I know that I am not the only one to experience these changes, many of the other trekkers are feeling change too. I only hope that these changes are long lived and I continue to grow without becoming trapped in the past and reliving the amazing journey instead of enjoying the wonderful life that is all around me. I want my journey to shape who I am and how I approach life. Walking the Kokoda Track has had a profound and positive impact on my life and I am a better person as a result. I know it sounds cliched, but I know that I can achieve anything that I set my mind to, I know that I have the mental and physical ability push myself further than I ever imagined possible.