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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  84 reviews
What would move you to ditch your life and take off into the wild for five months? For Laura Waters, it took the implosion of a toxic relationship and a crippling bout of anxiety. Armed with maps, a compass and her life in a bag on her back, she set out to walk the untamed landscapes of the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand, 3000 kilometres of raw, wild, mountainous trail win ...more
Published August 27th 2019 by Affirm Press
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  582 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Caro Ryan
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hikers, nature lovers, armchair travellers
If you were to read any article by travel writer Laura Waters (Australian Traveller, Outdoor, Wild), you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s been living outdoors and hiking all her life. A natural storyteller who forges worlds from words, she not only draw you into a landscape, but leaves you feeling as though you’ve walked alongside her.

BeWILDered, her first book, takes all the aspects of good travel writing and layers it with an achingly honest, personal account of the transformative power of spe
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bewildered will resonate with anyone who longs for life beyond the daily grind … who yearns to challenge themselves both physically and emotionally, to find out what lies beyond the horizon and what they themselves are really capable of.

I found myself walking right alongside Laura Waters every step of the way as I devoured Bewildered each night, eager to rejoin her journey, and felt emotionally invested in her success. You know a book has tugged at your heartstrings when it reappears in your tho
Jennifer Johnston
Melbourne based freelance travel writer has written a book about her journey hiking 3000 kilometres on New Zealand's Te Araroa trail. No mean feat as its a trek to test the mettle of most seasoned hikers. Before taking on this challenge that usually takes on average 5-6 months to complete, Laura had at best only hiked five days continuously.

She was lured by the adventure and an almighty challenge that would take her way outside of her comfort zone. At age 43 Laura was over the mundaneness of he
Anthi Emmanouil-Playne
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading your book. My goodness I am teary. Your story is so important story on many levels - our conditioning as women in society, human/nature connection, the effect of journeying, mental health and the healing benefits of nature, reconnection with self, as individuals we are enough and always have been. For me so much resonance and many boxes ticked. Thank you 🙏🏿
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Having walked the Routeburn track back in 1978, I was thrilled to hear about this book. I had to order it as the bookshop didn’t have it in stock but it was well worth waiting for. Although being 20 years younger than me, Laura Waters seems to have exactly the same feelings that I do about this planet, nature, beauty, contentment and fulfilment. I would have happily read this even if it were twice as long. Marvellous.
Tonia Wood
Love this book! An epic adventure tale with heart, Laura has interwoven a relatable life story with a truly amazing journey of survival and self-discovery. Highly recommended.
Marita Falkenberg
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read! Laura has written with such honesty and insight about her amazing adventure. Truly inspiring!
Simon Chapman
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A truly great read. As someone interested in the Te Araroa trail I found it informative, enlightening and inspirational. The openness and honesty in the writing was captivating. I bought it Saturday afternoon and finished it on Sunday - couldn’t put it down! So much more than a book about a long distance hiking trail. Highly recommended.
Michael Fuery
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In ‘BeWildered’ it was not long before I found myself thoroughly immersed in Laura Waters’ account of her life’s transformation.

The suffocation she experienced from trying to maintain the pace of contemporary life, which threatened to take her hostage, provides the backdrop for the inciting moment when Waters decided not only to step away from it, but to change direction entirely and embrace ‘the extraordinary.’

As a hiker who has only begun to appreciate the wholistic benefits bestowed by spendi
Eric Philips
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laura is a consummate writer, taking us on a rich journey both into the wilds of New Zealand and the edgy meanderings of her head and heart.

An adventure story is nothing without an insight into the author and Laura leaves herself bare, a proverbial open book for the reader to dive into as we learn about the anxiety and uncertainty that preceded the journey, and threatened to thwart it. Equally, we discover the capacity of wilderness and challenge to bring about change as Laura goes through some
Carl Nelson
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Laura Waters put her life on hold for five months to follow the 3,000km Te Araroa trail, which traces the length of New Zealand. Bewildered is her account of how she left the security of her safe but unfulfilling job and the ghosts of a horribly toxic relationship to follow the trail through river, beach, jungle, and mountain. While I loved her descriptions of the beautiful, rugged, and often mercurial New Zealand landscape, her personal journey is even more compelling. Waters writes with honest ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve ever wanted to get away from it all, this book is likely to push you to make a decision. Following Laura’s ups and downs as she tackles the arduous Tearoa trail in NZ has you crossing your fingers that she will find her way and her strength. Loved reading this story.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
How to do this genre well. Sometimes when you're reading honest accounts of someone's journey it's hard to empathise - with the warts and all you get the bits you'd rather skim over. But it also means you get the best bits and it feels refreshingly real and uncurated. There's not much preaching about why everyone should do this or the fundamental lack of appreciation of privilege. This is a very personal book and it resonated. ...more
Angela Armstrong
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an honest, heartfelt tale of adventure that reads like a novel. If you want a sense of what it may be like to push your personal boundaries and discover hidden pieces of yourself this book will take you there. All the beauty of the New Zealand wilderness is captured so perfectly in Laura’s words. You will feel like you are right alongside her for the journey.
Sojourn Michael
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book - it is a journey that has it high & low points along with profound insight. The author raised many critical personal and interpersonal issues along with reflecting on lifestyle "values" or "costs" that are often damaging our self worth. It is a book that I would like my family to read because they would each learn something unique to their situation ... which, in real terms, makes the book important : ) ...more
Sarah Gallagher
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fabulous book. I finished this in 48 hours. Laura spoke to me on a deep and meaningful level. She put in writing everything I feel at the age of 23. I cannot recommend this enough!
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Completely inspired by Laura and her journey. The TA is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. But all the reasons not to keep creeping in ... now I’m thinking... maybe I can do this - alone. Thank you, Laura.
Jo Eales
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My kind of book! Full of inspiration, helped along by the adventures of the TA in beautiful New Zealand. If this doesn’t make you want to drop everything and swing a pack on to head for the hills, I don’t know what will!
Trish Armstrong
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and engaging. I liked the way Laura wove her relationship background into the hiking.
I want to go on a challenge like this that is not only physical but mentally, emotionally and spiritually challenging.
I am very pleased to have discovered this book and am a proud owner.
Thank you Laura
Darren Walls
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I could not put this book down. It is a mix of personal journey, adventure and a deep look at the human spirit. If you ever feel you need to find your voice, or love reading about people that take risks to do just that this is a book for you.

Paul Tarvit
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hiking the 3,000km Te Araroa is worthy of a story in its own right. That said, Bewildered is not a mere hiking tale. Laura shares her journey of personal growth on the trail, in an intimate and engaging manner. Her novel didn't just make me want to hike more; it made me want to be a ‘f&@$ing legend’ (read the book; you’ll understand). ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read a few accounts of long distance hikes and generally felt annoyed by the author’s lack of preparation or lack of self-discovery. Not this one. I was barracking for Laura on the trail and empathising as she revealed what had led her to this point. The lessons she shared... I totally get it. Loved this book.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An insightfully written travel memoir weaving together themes of the natural environment, self-reliance/reflection and simple living... my kind of book :)
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t normally rate memoirs as its a very personal journey but this was written wonderfully and has inspired me me hike more....which has been lacking in the last two years.
Peter Duffy
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Vwery well written with honesty and charm. Makes mw want to start making plans to walk the Te Aroara
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Put it in the pile of travel narratives. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this book, the writing and voice of the author do show through but it also wasn't a stand out from the many other similar stories. ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adored this.
Ingrid  van Leeuwen
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved it...what a great account of a journey that was epic...thank you!
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful account of personal strength and growth.
Laura's writing invites readers onto the Te Arararoa Trail with her.
I enjoyed every step
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars. What an amazing woman!
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