Why do we trek? Walking is just so good for the human condition – we were born to walk!
Mark and Rob are no strangers to trekking together. They’ve tackled the Himalayas and South America, and now they can spend the rest of their lives recounting memories of trekking the Kokoda Track in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
So when you trek together often and to unknown places, there’s a pretty fundamental requirement that must be met in the relationship – you’ve got to be happy just being around each other.
As a doctor in one of the country’s largest hospital emergency departments, Rob’s trekking adventures are a chance to really displace himself from the frenetic pace of his workplace.
“Trekking a place like the Kokoda Track, one of the things that really stands out to me is the ability to get away from the electronic world, with absolutely no modern conveniences to concentrate on. And I love it,” says Rob.
“I think being on a trek you’re away from work … all those responsibilities and things that are related to work just aren’t there … it’s a completely different state of mind to your normal existence.”
Mark agrees the ability to momentarily dessert work life is a major advantage.
“I think Kokoda is such a vivid experience in so many ways – the weather, the vegetation is just so lush, everything is incredibly alive here. It’s such a mind boggling experience really. I don’t know how to describe it, but it feels really good to be here”, adds Mark.
So, when friends trek together often and to unknown places, there’s a pretty fundamental requirement that must be met in the relationship.
“Well it’s always good to go on a trek with a doctor, just in case, you know, something happens,” jokes Mark. “But seriously, we are both just happy to be around each other.
“I’m certainly glad I came with Rob. I like trekking with Rob. We’re good trekking Ying and Yang. Rob’s very reasonable, calm and sensible” adds Mark.
“I am here because Mark’s here. Mark came up with the idea originally and we decided it would be a good thing to do” says Rob. “Mark’s sense of humour is certainly a bonus on a trek, but he is very sensible with it. He’s definitely a good mate to trek with,” Rob adds.
Australians do hold a special place in their collective hearts for the men who saw service on the Kokoda Track in WWII. But for Mark, who is originally Canadian, the sentiment of human endeavour and loss during wartime also resonated deeply.
“I think that Kokoda is an icon for Australians and has become more and more so over the years. As much as you see photos of people crossing bridges and climbing mountains and walking down steep valleys and things like that – there’s much to still be surprised about when you are on the trek.
“And for Mark, who has had the chance to absorb a lot of Australian pride about events that happened on the Kokoda Track, he is as affected by it as anybody else,” adds Rob.