Anything we do after this is going to be like having a cupcake and a cup of tea!
Friends since boarding school, Ros and Carmen looked forward to ticking the historic Kokoda Track off their bucket lists, but came away from the trek with a new appreciation of their own physical capabilities and an extra bond between each other.
What’s on your bucket list? Do you even have a bucket list? Boarding school friends Roslyn and Carmen certainly do and conquering the historic Kokoda Track was high up the order.
“I have always liked being physical and doing things that are a little bit challenging. And I thought yeah, now’s the time to do it, as I may not be able to do it in the future,” said Carmen.
Initially a homage to their fathers who both saw active service in New Guinea, the pair have come away from their Kokoda trek with a swag of interpersonal experiences and newly created memories that will live well beyond the nine day tour programme.
Both naturally fit and active, the pair geared up for the extra physical challenge by following a pre-trek training regime prior to flying to Papua New Guinea.
However, by the end of Day One of the trek, the physicality of the Kokoda Track set both on a path of discovering their strengths and weaknesses when navigating the hilly terrain of Kokoda, and determining how best to support each other through the duration of the trek.
“On Day One, I thought “I’m in trouble”. Then your body just accepts it and goes with it”, says Roslyn.
“We quickly realised I was good going up hills and Carmen was great at going down,” said Roslyn. “So we supported each other at different points when we felt the other needed it. And we always focussed on the positives.
“Mental attitude is critical. There are moments that really challenge not just your physical ability, but your courage. You are walking on the spur of a mountain. It’s a small path and beyond that, well there is just nothing. Predictively some people freaked out. I didn’t – I loved it!” added Carmen.
Working as their own ‘team within a team’ Roslyn and Carmen forged an even stronger bond, even subconsciously reliving some of their childhood memories when they lived together as school girls.
“It was great to go with Ros. Although we have stayed friends all these years, the trek gave us another rare opportunity to really live with each other for nine days. When do you get those opportunities as an adult?” reflected Carmen.
“Everyday is different and it’s only possible to just think about the moment you are in. The trek makes you so mindful. We couldn’t believe it was over when it was. We didn’t want it to end!” said Ros
Beyond the many extraordinary moments to experience during a trek along the Kokoda Track, such as wartime re-enactments, being immersed in nature and enjoying the hospitality of the Kokoda guides, Roslyn and Carmen count the intangible benefits as a true highlight once they got back home.
“It strengthened our bond immeasurably” said Carmen. “We now have a bond that no one else can have. It’s just something you can’t have with everybody,” agreed Roslyn.
“We actually said, “What’s next?” on the way back. Anything we do after this is going to be like having a cupcake and a cup of tea!”