(there might be some spoilers...i'll do my best)
At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and she would do it alone.
~ Goodreads synopsis
I'm not an "outdoors" kinda girl. My brother is that guy, totally. He lived out west (Utah) for a few years and LOVES that stuff; hiking, rock climbing, camping, etc. He would do this in a heartbeat, I have no doubt. Me? No way! However, reading her journey made me want to go camping. I could do it with my brother. I'm sure I would bitch and complain for a good part of it in the beginning. But he'd help me get through it.
After Cheryl's mother died I had to put the book down for a while. It made me think about my own mother dying. Mine is in perfectly good health and will live for YEARS to come, but just thinking about it is hard. I can only imagine what Cheryl went through. She was lost and didn't know her place in a world that her mother no longer lived in. I'm sure I would feel the same way, at first. Cheryl's way of coping, however, destroyed her marriage. She cheated on her husband with numerous men and did heroine with one of them. For some incredible reason, her and her husband ended their marriage on amicable terms and are still friends. Props to Paul! I get that her mother died, but I don't agree with the way she handled it.
I'll get off my soap box now. This wasn't supposed to be that kind of a post. Moving on :)
I can somewhat relate to the reasoning behind Cheryl's decision to hike the PCT. It's similar to what some people would call a geographical cure. I've experience a couple of my own. After living in Los Angeles (I almost typed Lost Angeles...hmmm...interesting) I was incredibly unhappy and felt super stuck. I was trying to find anything to get me out of there! I thought moving back to the east coast would fix the way I was feeling. It helped a little bit, but changing scenery can only do so much. It turned out I had some of my own issues to get through and that took some time. One day at at time :)
I do admire what Cheryl did. Not only did she change scenery, but she left absolutely everything behind her to go on a self-discovering journey. I wish I had the balls to do something like that. She had no prior experience or training and she did it anyways. There were times where she had only two cents in her pocket. There were times when her feet were so bruised and blistered that it hurt to wear her shoes. Then she dropped one of her shoes over the side of a mountain and was forced to hiked for miles in sandals that were duct taped to stay together.
Along the way she met some great people and made some amazing friendships. Other times I'm sure she felt lonely. I know I would have been. She kept talking about a radio station that played over and over in her head. It made me realize that she couldn't take her iPod with her, because she wouldn't of had any way to charge. Plus it would have been unnecessary weight. That's another thing. You have to think about everything you are carrying on your back. Even the smallest, tiniest thing weighs something. She took books with her to read at night and after reading them she would burn the pages for warmth in the fire.
There are so many things that you don't think about. There are so many things that we take for granted. Showers! Shampoo! Diet Coke! When Cheryl would arrive in an area that had a little diner she dreamed of a hamburger, fries, and a diet coke. What kind of food do you take on a trip like that? It's crazy.
Cheryl Strayed, you have my admiration. I am absolutely in awe of you and what you accomplished. I absolutely recommend reading Wild. Her story and her balls (yes, I'll say it...balls) are astonishing. You go girl!
All material © Erica Musyt