Among books, every memoir is a sort of journey. We travel through the memories of our author. But sometimes writers tell us about actual journeys they took in the past. Such is the case with WILD: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, which was published in 2012. Cheryl lost her mother at the age of 22. In the course of a few more years she lost all of her family in a way, as they grew distant from each other. Then came heroin use. Then the divorce from her husband. At the age of 26, a time when we are told that we have definitely grown up (biologically at least), she thought she had nothing to lose. And as Tyler Durden said: “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” So she did something she had never done before.
She decided to hike more than a 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Alone, of course. As is the case with most impulsive decisions, she wasn’t prepared for the journey to say the least. No proper boots, not everything needed was packed, and the route was very much unknown to her. So, along the way she relies on help from people she meets, and copes with various ailments, from blisters and bruises to bigger troubles. The book reached No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and was the first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.
No book that deals with travel, especially if it’s a memoir, deals just with the distance, scenery and people. Much more important trek is done within. Cheryl was in search of something when she went on her way, but it wasn’t a physical object. It was something within, something she lost during her crisis. What was it and did she find it? I’m not about to tell you. Get the book, and join her in her journey. It may inspire you to search for the things you might have lost as well.
Get it from Amazon here.