Rachel's Reviews > Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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May 22, 2012

it was amazing
Read in May, 2012

If you know anything about this well-publicized book, you probably already know it's about a woman who chooses to hike the PCT after her mother dies, she self-destructs, and her marriage falls apart. This story is about what got her on the trail, and how she made it through. Now, I'm partial to stories where a heroine goes off on a psychologically restorative adventure after emotional trauma. If you're into that theme, you'll enjoy this.

Strayed is a terrific writer. I've been one of her fans since I first read Dear Sugar, when she was still anonymous. I knew I'd be reading this when I heard it was due. However, I didn't start reading it right upon publication because I forgot about it for about a month. I felt guilty about my lapse, but this was for the best.

Turns out, I saved it for a more important time, on my 5th main stop of my round-the-world trip. I dove into the story in Morocco, as we headed towards the Sahara, away from the imperial cities. I got pretty ill once we got to the wilderness, with stomach problems, to the point where I wasn't reading any more but was focusing on holding still. A few days later, as my stomach stopped violently betraying me, I caught a terrible cold that most of our group had, maybe my worst cold in years. (Canadian viruses are FIERCE.) On my worst night, at 3 AM, laying on my mattress on a dusty floor, high up in a mountain gite, I decided that once we got back to civilization, I'd look into re-routing my next Air France flight directly back to Seattle. I just wanted to go home with my husband, instead of continuing on to Buenos Aires solo, with my delicate stomach and disgusting cough. I felt miserable and I was at a low and I had gone far enough around the world this time.

Except, before we could get to a decent internet/Skype connection, we had a six hour drive to Essaouira first. To distract myself from my illness and the surprise heatwave during our drive, I plowed through the rest of Wild and finished reading the story of how she didn't give up when things got too tough. This book cured me of my misery -- I certainly wouldn't be facing trials as difficult, in conditions as primitive. It shifted my perspective back to where it needed to be and my final traveling weeks didn't seem so daunting anymore. I left my itinerary alone.

I should send Strayed a thank you note.
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