29 Nov Tamara Thompsons’ 2018 Journey on the Kokoda Trek
We caught up with Tamara to chat about her experience on the Kokoda Trek.
Each year Dee Why RSL sponsors two specially selected employees on an arduous 10 day, 146km trek across the original Kokoda Trail in Papua, New Guinea.
Organised by the RSL & Services Clubs Association, it gives employees the chance to experience and foster courage, mateship, endurance and leadership.
Through your support, your Club selected Gaming Attendant, James Forman and Receptionist, Tamara Thompson, to complete the trek earlier this year.
Below is all about Tamara’s journey on the KOKODA trail and the impact it has had on her since.
What inspired you to apply for the KOKODA Trek?
There were many reasons enticing me to apply for this year’s Kokoda pilgrimage. Since I started working at the RSL, I have always thoroughly enjoyed hearing about my colleagues’ experiences of the Kokoda Track. I also have a keen interest in the Kokoda campaign as my grandfather was a veteran.
How did you prepare yourself mentally and physically for the trek?
They say that ‘nothing prepares you for Kokoda, except Kokoda itself’, and they’re correct. In the months and weeks leading up to our departure, I was physically preparing for the trek as often as possible. To increase my fitness, each week, I would participate in several training sessions at the gym, run before or after work, play touch football with my team friends and attempt practice treks with my backpack and trekking gear. In order to mentally prepare, I did numerous hours of research about the track and conditions to ensure that I was well equipped and organised for the trek which helped me stay positive both before and during the trek.
What was the hardest part of the experience for you?
The most difficult aspect of
the trek for me was enduring 12 hour days, beginning with a 4:30am wake up, featuring incredibly steep climbs and descents, the extreme heat, the rugged, mountainous terrain and constant physical stress. It was tough to stay strong mentally, to think positive and not think about giving up.
How has the experience had an impact on you?
The trek allowed me to improve my understanding of the Kokoda campaign and the area itself, through detailed daily briefings at battle sights and areas of significance. Our trek leader, Charlie Lynn, a hard-working, inspiring veteran with a serious passion for the track and locals, provided us with invaluable leadership skills and advice. Over the ten days, I learnt a lot about myself, my strengths and weakness as well as opportunities for growth. Lastly, through completing the trek, I’ve also gained a greater appreciation for those who served in the campaign. Charlie reminds us all to think of these fallen soldiers, their courage and sacrifices, when faced with adversity and to work hard and seize every opportunity afforded to you in order to make the most of their selfless actions.
What would you say to anyone thinking about taking part on a Kokoda trek?
Kokoda is an inspiring, challenging, life-changing experience I will be forever grateful for.