A Walk With Cheryl Strayed: ‘Wild’

wildCheryl Strayed is everywhere lately, from the Dear Sugar Podcast to the WIld movie. She is just someone I wish I could be friends with. Or take a walk with, or really just do anything with. I finally read Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail after leaving it abandoned, 100 pages in, over two years ago.

It was one of those moments, where the book seems to find you rather than you finding it, at just the right time. Cheryl Strayed had been though infinitely more by the time she was 22, the age I am now. She had just lost her mom, she was getting a divorce, and her family was unraveling at the seams. The wilderness found Cheryl when she needed finding, and Cheryl Strayed and her words find so many people when they need her.

I think we all feel a bit lost sometimes. Not necessarily in a crisis way, but just wondering if what we’re doing is the right thing, and if the choices we’ve made the right ones. I haven’t mentioned it, but I went for this job I really really wanted, and ended up not getting it, a few weeks ago. I was (/still am) upset, and just want to find something I really care about, which sometimes feels impossible. At the end of the day, I’m trying to tell myself that it was for the best, I’m lucky to have a job currently, and that there’s something better out there, more suited for me. But it can be hard!

“There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course.”

So yeah, Cheryl Strayed had a lot more going wrong for her than I do, and everything she came to learn, and feel, and see, I felt like I got to learn and experience through her. Wild made me want to throw caution to the wind (literally) and do something crazy like hike the PCT, but it also made me want to take about 10 showers and appreciate my bed. I mean, she woke up to find hundreds of tiny FROGS hopping all over her body. That alone would be enough to send me screaming back home, and that’s not to mention the immense weight of her backpack, and oh yeah, the PCT is 2,663 miles long.

Can you imagine how amazing it must feel to have accomplished that? And then to have written what would become a best seller about it, and THEN to have Reese Witherspoon play you in the movie of your life? I just can’t. I still have so many questions too, like does she still know the people she met on the trail, or was it a once in a lifetime experience? Does she still hike? The list could go on and on.

Wild came along at just the right time for me, and I found myself stopping to mark so many quotes to come back to later. A definite inspiration and something I’ll be recommending for a long time, Wild was 2012’s pride and joy, and one not to be missed!

3 comments

  1. “It was one of those moments, where the book seems to find you rather than you finding it.”

    I know exactly what you mean and I felt very similar about Wild– I read it at 22, right after graduating college, while feeling particularly lost. It was such a beautiful book of coming back to one’s self.

  2. I loved Wild. I read it when it first came out, and, despite all the crazy stuff that happens and how hard it was for her, it just made me want to go hiking. So I did the next best thing, and looked for more books about hiking. That’s when I read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, which was very different, but also good. I could still use some more hiking books- let me know if you hear of any more!

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