Angela and I

Angela and I

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What I Read: "Wild"

"The Universe, I'd learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back"
-Cheryl Strayed 

You know I really like a book when I actively restrain myself from finishing it.  I was so engrossed in Strayed's journey that I found myself wishing it would be longer, yet excited to see her through to the end.  If you can, I suggest you go to the library and check out a copy.  As someone who is in a seemingly lost generation, "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed is one of the most inspiring things I have ever read. 

Why I read it: I jetted to the library to pick up the one copy they had checked in at the time because my sister told me to.  If there's one thing I can count on Beth for, it's good book recommendations.  I like to think I got that gene too (thanks Mom!), but with the promise of an adventure story plus a virtual book club, I definitely took her up on the advice.  I knew I would be into it.  As I said yesterday, I love hiking. If I could, I would hike every day.  I also love the idea of a woman, not much older than me, setting out on a huge adventure all by herself.  The idea of escaping into that journey through the author's words thrilled me, so I immediately dove in headfirst.  

What I loved:  The honesty of this book is really what makes it worth the read.  Strayed isn't a person who views her past through 20/20 spectacles.  She remembers the embarrassment of the first moments, when she couldn't even stand while carrying her backpack (a very real fear I have for when I hike the AT.  It's going to be comedic gold though.  I'm going to make Beth film it because that shit will go viral).  She remembers the pain and brutality of every step she took on the trail.  I loved witnessing, through her writing, her moments of fear, loss, and frustration.  I could feel the overwhelming weight of "Monster" (her lovingly nicknamed pack) on my back, making my steps seemingly impossible.  I could feel the insatiable hunger in my belly, ever present and never satisfied.  These trying times made the moments of clarity and self discovery even more heart wrenching and awe inspiring.  Cheryl truly was able to find herself on the trail.  Peel away layers and find what it was to be fully human and fully alive.  She is an inspiration to me as I continue in my own journey of self discovery...a journey I have found many of my peers to be traversing as well.  

Why you should read it: 
-If you enjoy the outdoors, whether hiking, camping, or just sitting out in nature is your jam...the relationship Strayed forged with nature is one of total trust, respect, and understanding.  There were times she felt more at home on the trail than off of it, and isn't that what it should be like anyway?
-If you're looking for self-discovery...true, this is a special case.  Extreme measures were taken by the author in order to "find herself", but I think you will be pleasantly surprised how much you relate to her.  
-If you're looking to disconnect...I know that if I spend too much time around technology, my brain can get a little buzzy.  This book reminded me how important it is to disconnect from that and thus connect with humans and the beautiful world around us. 
-If you're excited for hiking season...there was a little teaser of warmth a few days ago, followed by snow yesterday (brb, crying) but now it's starting to warm back up again.  The sun is out and it's only a matter of time before I hit the trails.  This book was perfect couldn't come soon enough! 

I'll leave you with my absolute favorite moment of the book.  It echos my own personal mantra that I created so closely that I found myself having to catch my breath and wipe away tears:

"There were so many other amazing things in the world. They opened up inside of me like a river.  Like I didn't know I could take a breath and then I breathed.  I laughed with the joy of it, and the next moment I was crying...I was crying because I was full." 

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