A review and a lesson from Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

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I just finished reading the book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve had this book for a while –  I saw it the other day and was reminded to read it. That was one reason, but another reason I wanted to read it was because my friend, Kimberly, who left today for a 4 day backpacking hike through the tough terrain of Machu Picchu in Peru – God bless her – recently told me this was her favorite book.

Here’s the thing tho, Kimberly loves to travel and is the ultimate outdoorswoman, in fact, she keeps a blog at Kimberly Jumps, showcasing her travels around the world and her fantastic gymnasticy jump. A Machu Picchu jump pic is definitely happening. I love Kimberly for all the ways we are alike, but also for the ways we’re different. For instance, she knows now not to ask me to go camping. Early in our friendship she asked me to go camping. My response was, “like in a tent, camping?” She responded enthusiastically, “Yes!” to which I replied, “ummm, yeah no.” She laughed it off. I say I will only camp if I can “glamp.” It’s glamourous camping – it’s a real thing. I’m totally in on that!

While I had little interest in reading about a lady who willingly trekked across desolate lands, subjecting herself to torture, describing her blistered flesh as plucked chicken skin, I thought I’d give it another chance. (I’d picked up the book months before, but lost interest quickly.)

Now that I’m done living through her hell adventure, I have a fresh perspective. The book was little to do with her journey along the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) and more to do with her journey on the inside. I won’t give away the story, but here’s what I learned from Cheryl.

Life sucks at times. There’s no denying it and no trying to escape that truth. Things happen to us that are inconceivable, unfair, and downright terrible. But here’s the thing: no matter how far we are pushed, no matter how tired, how thirsty, how hungry, how much in pain, how delusional, how hurt, how insulted, how depressed, how done we are, we can prevail.

As she painfully made her way across deserts and mountains, she faced many external obstacles that could have prevented her from going ahead, but she kept pushing because there was more strength inside of her than the force of opposition coming against her.

I find that amazing. Don’t you? We are so much more capable than we often give ourselves credit. Read the book, learn from Cheryl’s will, her determination, her fight and know that you are just as strong and bold as she is, although it sometimes takes a journey on our own PCT to figure that out.

While I loved the book, Cheryl’s story, and the lesson of overcoming, I will not be camping anytime soon. Sorry, Kimberly. But I respect and admire you all the more.

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