Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wild: The Review

Last night I finished reading Cheryl Strayed's book Wild.  Before I go into any details, know that I think everyone should read this book.  And by everyone, I mean even people who have no plans or desire to go on any kind of hike or back packing trip. 

The basic plot of the book is that Cheryl's mother dies, the family drifts apart and Cheryl begins making a series of seriously bad choices that leads to her divorce.  At what is her lowest point, she makes the decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail solo.  The book chronicles her journey.  As stories go, I thought it was a good one.  It was well written and I had trouble putting it down.  But it goes beyond the specific story.  I think most people can relate to that feeling where you wonder how the heck you got where you are.  By that I mean, most people have an idea of how their life will go.  You have goals, you have dreams, you have he basic outline of what's going to happen.  And then while you're trying to build your life off those outlines, things happen that take you down completely different roads than what you expected.  Kind of like those old Choose Your Own Adventure books that were big in the 80's.  You come to a point in the story where you have to pick which way you're going to go.  Sometimes you choose a good way, and sometimes you choose a not so good way.  Some choose ways that are far harder than others, but either way, most have sat and wondered "How did I get to this point in my life?" or "Why is this happening to me?"  I've been there.  I've been there more times than I'd like to admit.  And oddly enough, most of those times brought up thoughts about the AT.  From the time in my early twenties when I first got the idea, to all the subsequent times I kept thinking about how I should do it.  They all coincide with moments where I felt lost or that things were just not going the way I thought they would.  So, while my choices in life were not as bad as some of the author's, I found myself relating in a big way.  And I'm more excited than ever to get started because like this book demonstrates, "it's not the destination but the journey that counts".

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