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So Wild has been killing it on the bestseller list for over a year at this point, and I finally got my hands on it. Theoretically, I was going to read this travel memoir while I was out on my road trip doing some traveling of my own, but that didn’t work out. Instead, it was one of the first books I read after returning to N.C. and it made me want to pick right back up again and hit the trail. It’s superbly written and finds a terrific balance between action/plot evolution and personal contemplation, which is where most books of this mold stumble.
Wild is a travel memoir written by Cheryl Strayed, who hiked nearly the entire Pacific Crest Trail, from Southern California up to Oregon. Ill-prepared and reeling from the death of her mother, Strayed went to the PCT looking for something to bring her life back on the tracks that it had so easily wobbled off of and she found it, though probably not in the way she expected. Interspersed in her physical journey are ruminations about her past, her family, and how she found herself desperate to hike alone through thousands of miles of wilderness.
If you’re looking to be inspired to do some traveling or hiking, this is the absolute top book I would recommend to you. Strayed is an excellent writer and succeeds in bringing you into her story, until you nearly feel like you’re on the trail with her. Even better, Strayed is by no means a survival or hiking expert. In fact, she is (or was) a complete novice when she made the brave decision to go to the PCT. I’ve read travel memoirs from experts before, and while they usually are interesting, they never tempt me to travel because they make me feel like I have AMATEUR stamped on my forehead. But Strayed, well she was an amateur and she didn’t really know the tricks of the trade, but she still went out and did the damn thing.
This is everything you could want from a non-fiction book. It’s inspiring, captivating, interesting, and incredibly well-written. If you have even the tiniest motivation to travel, Wild needs to be on your shelves.