Wild is probably one of the best books I've read, ever.
I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I didn't expect to be moved by it as much as I did. I didn't expect to ball my eyes out at the ending as much as I did. I didn't expect to be inspired by it as I am.
A true journey from lost to found, Wild tells the story of young, broken Cheryl Strayed and her solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, detailing her journey, how she came to be in that place, the friends she met along the way and her most intimate thoughts during this time. What brought Cheryl to the PCT was heartbreaking but reading about her journey as she stumbled from inexperienced, out-of-her-depth hiker who looked like they were going to fail to the "Queen of the PCT", was truly inspiring.
Every struggle Cheryl came up against she overcame, every friend she met sounded like a great person, every smell, every sight, every taste Cheryl had, I felt like I was right there standing next to her. If you haven't read Wild, simply do. It is inspiring.
When I first picked up this book I was on a train back to my university city to visit a couple of friends for the night and I was in a really funny mood. I felt really weepy, really uncomfortable and very homesick. I'm not quite sure why I was homesick (I was only going away for one night after all) but all I wanted to be was home with my mum. Which was ridiculous as I was going to one of my favourite places in the world to visit some really good friends. I was just sitting quietly on my own in the train carriage, having put my laptop away as I'd finished all my work for the evening and was trying not to cry. Like the giant eighteen-year-old baby that I am.
But then I picked up Wild. And all my problems really sunk done into what they were, tiny mishaps. Cheryl's broken life which lead her to the PCT put everything into perspective for me. I no longer felt homesick or uncomfortable. I felt excited. I felt excited for this small journey I was going on. Whilst a train trip to Glasgow for one night is definitely not the PCT, the book gave me courage. If Cheryl could overcome all what she had to be where she was, I think I could do the same too.
The book also inspired me to make positive changes in my life. To appreciate all around me. To take each day as it comes. To treat life as an adventure. Cheryl simply had to survive on the PCT but I'm not on the PCT so I don't want to simply survive, I want to thrive. As she spoke of all the friends she'd met on the trail, all the memories they shared and all the laughs they had laughed I felt strangely jealous. Jealous of this woman who's family life was shattered and whose marriage was in tatters. I felt jealous of her. Which is mad. I think that shows the true power of Wild and the true power of Strayed's writing as I almost wanted to exchange places with this woman described in the book.
I was on a real journey as I read this. And when finishing I instantly wanted to do something similar. Whilst I'm not quite ready for the PCT, I can maybe start with hiking around the Scottish Highlands first. The person Cheryl became was someone I wanted to know. Someone I wanted to become. She was fierce, brave, smart, kind and inspirational. She knew exactly who she was. And she wasn't afraid of that person.
That's the kind of person I want to be and Wild has helped me step a little bit closer to her. When we search for ourselves in this big wide world, we imagine we will find them by doing big extravagant things. But sometimes all we need is a little push in the right direction. For me (and hopefully many others), that push came in the form of Wild. When faced with the rawness of the world, we can uncovers truths about ourselves and our lives and whilst I still have a long way to go, walking in someone else's shoes was a little help along my way.
Published by Kirsty Hebdon