Welcome to my brand new blog, Walking Through Fear.
It so happened yesterday, a day different to any other day, I suddenly got it into my head I would like to walk the Kokoda Track. Me… I’ve never been fit in my life and at the moment, I’m at my most embarrassingly heaviest at 58.4kgs with no sign of seeing the scales going south. In fact, I have stayed at this weight since I first began stepping on the dreaded scales at the beginning of the year.
Sure, I have made a half-arsed attempt to walk three times a week, admittedly only once in the past fortnight because we’ve had torrential rain. I’ve also noticed my anxiety has come back with a vengeance and I now take Ventolin for Asthma, something I probably always had but was never treated and has probably been exacerbated by my weight gain and overall stagnant lifestyle.
So as usual I digress but a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought I would like to walk Kokoda. Obviously, it would mean a massive change to my lifestyle and exercise regime to train for such an arduous trek but it came to me that it was something I really wanted to do and so today I began to read up on what it involves to walk the trek. The first thing is probably getting my weight back down to a comfortable area and then starting a training regime that will intensify as I get closer. But as I read the various travel sites about Kokoda, I came across a tour to walk the Sandakan Death March and all of a sudden, I realised that in fact I wanted to do this trek as well.
Why, you might ask?
Well, it actually starts a long time ago. When I was about 8 or 9, driving in the back seat of my Grandparents car, on the long road trip (back then 6-7 hours) to South West Rocks, listening to my Nana tell stories of her youth. One of her favourite stories to tell, and one of the most poignant was the one about her brother, Colin, a Prisoner of War who was captured by the Japanese during World War II. During coming weeks, I’ll talk more about him but for the point of this post I’ll keep going with the thoughts around Sandakan.
No, Colin didn’t go on the Death March but he did work on the Thai-Burma railway and I feel to honour his memory, I would like to do this walk. I now am a Professional Genealogist and one of the stories that I want to write is about Colin, his experiences during the war and what he endured upon his return. For a man I never knew, he is close to my heart. His story is the first I remember my Nana telling me and first ignited my passion for History and Genealogy,
So now, I have a different goal to what started as a calling yesterday. In 2019, I will walk the Sandakan Death March and then follow it up in 2020, while I’m at peak fitness (and something I’ve never been in my life!) I will walk Kokoda. If all goes according to plan, I would like to walk both during the Anzac Day celebrations and then follow it up in 2021 with a visit to the Western Front and commemorate my very much misunderstood Great Grandfather, William Latham. All these stories, I will share with you through this blog as well as keep you up to date with the preparation, both physically and mentally. As well it will keep me accountable to achieving my goals. As I said, I’m at my absolute lowest physical condition I’ve ever been in my life so I will need to embark on a fitness regime and all other things that go along with achieving the goals of a lifetime as well as conquering my fears.
But now it’s off to finish my second glass of wine and hop into bed to watch catch up television… the story of my relaxation, right there folks!