I have always loved the process of goal setting and taking the right steps in order to achieve them. From a young age, I have always strived to make the impossible – possible! And then celebrating the process (something I find so many people forget to do!) I love the look of disbelief people give me when I tell them what I am striving for… it’s that look that says – you’ll never do it, that actually drives me, because I know, I can achieve whatever I put my mind to!
The first massive goal I managed to achieve, was when I was 12 years old and had been asked to represent Victoria in the Australian Judo Nationals. I trained so hard that year, I woke up every morning and went running before school, trained 3 nights a week, and I also decided to drop down a weight group! It was a massive goal, but I knew if I kept at it, kept, could win the title. AND I DID! This was the first time I realised that it was the small changes I had made and my drive to keep improving, not just settling, that helped me win, and become an Australian Champion.
This attitude has helped me through so many challenges in my life, one being I overcame my crippling fear of heights… by bungee jumping off a bridge and free falling 216m. More recently this same attitude has helped me learn to walk and run again after brain surgery and to finish my university degree whilst being treated for Stage 4 Melanoma.
At the start of this year I realised I was missing the excitement and adventure that I used to strive for, and so decided to set myself a new and crazy goal. In September, which will be 2 years since my brain surgery, I wanted to mark the occasion by hiking to Mt Everest base camp, something that had been on my bucket list for years! UNFORTUNATELY, my doctors didn’t approve, not only could I not do base camp, but any high altitude hike was out, due to the risk of altitude sickness which would be putting my life at risk. As a cancer survivor, there was no way I was risking my life for some silly hike! This however left me feeling defeated and resentful towards all the things cancer has taken away from me, I am no longer allowed to scuba dive, I haven’t been able to travel in years and now I’m being told a huge chunk of my bucket list (lots of high altitude hikes) have been wiped out.
It took a few days and a lot of research for me to realise that there was still one hike on my list I could do – Kokoda. I knew that achieving this would give me the same sense of satisfaction and achievement without risking my life. I 100% know this is going to be one of the toughest challenges I have ever taken on, but with hard work and determination I know it’s something I can do. Kokoda represents for me the fact that not even cancer can stop me from living the exciting and adventure filled life I have always dreamed of – maybe not in the way I expected, but there are always things I can do to challenge myself and keep moving forward.
I have started my 6am Personal Training sessions and am going on regular hikes in order to get my body ready for this incredibly challenging and exciting adventure!
Love Jess xx