So I have to tell you – the real reason I decided to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed was actually because I really wanted to see Reece Witherspoon’s new movie (if you’re also the kind of person that has to read the book before seeing the movie I’m sure you understand).
But I definitely don’t have any regrets – there are so many reasons I loved reading Wild:
Firstly, Wild is an amazing ‘lost to found’ story and those kinds of stories just give me so much comfort and hope. Secondly, it made me so keen for my trip to Peru to hike the Lares Trail (which is kind of weird because this book definitely doesn’t glamorise hiking and I really don’t want to lose any of my toenails). And thirdly, I love the way Cheryl writes and that she knows how to keep a story moving.
But I didn’t start the Smart Twenties Book Club so I could write book reviews (and I’m not too sure I should be the judge of whether a book’s good or not – there are a lot of shitty books that I love and a lot of good books that I don’t).
So instead, I’m going to share what I took away from Cheryl’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail or ‘PCT’.
Do things before you feel ready
If there’s one thing Wild demonstrates, it’s that you should do things before you feel ready.
Spoiler alert – Cheryl didn’t feel ‘ready’ to hike the PCT (I feel like this isn’t really a spoiler but anyway) sure she bought some hiking gear but she’d barely done any research, she hadn’t done any training and she had absolutely no idea what she was getting herself into.
She just decided she was going to do it and then she did it.
Most of the time we’re actually ready to do something but because we feel scared we put off starting for as long as we can. We think we’ll feel ready when we have more money or more time or a different job or different friends – we can always point to something we don’t have that would make us feel more ready.
But we don’t need to feel ready to start. We are ready, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Do something big by yourself
In Wild, Cheryl talks about how she hiked the PCT solo even though she had the opportunity to hike with the new friends she made along the trail.
Cheryl knew she had to make the journey alone and that’s because there’s something amazing about doing big things by yourself – when you do things solo you have to back yourself. You have to trust your decisions. You have to get comfortable with who you are.
But there’s a lot of stigma around doing things solo – it’s as if the only reason someone would ever do something by themselves is because they’re a loser, because they don’t have any friends. Everyone seems to think it’s sad when people do things solo.
To me, spending all weekend binge-watching Netflix by yourself because all your friends are busy is way more sad than going out and doing something cool by yourself.
I’m not saying you need to go out into the wilderness by yourself for 3 months like Cheryl did, but one thing I’ve learned from Wild is that doing things solo can be so damn empowering. And it’s also reminded me that the last time I did something big by myself (going on exchange to Montreal for 4 months) I had the most amazing time.
I need to do more of that.
Everything will be ok
Another thing I took away from Wild (and something that I think I definitely need to remember) is that everything will be ok.
Maybe it won’t go according to plan and maybe I’ll wish I did things differently, but everything will be ok.
As I said at the beginning, ‘lost to found’ stories just give me so much comfort and hope and I think it’s for this reason. They make me feel like even though I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, things will work out.
Everything will be ok.
Next Month’s Book
The September book for the Smart Twenties Book Club (and yes, I know it’s already halfway through September… time goes so damn fast!) is:
This is a bit of a different one but I’ve heard it recommended SO many times that I feel like now is the time to read it.
The full title of this book is ‘Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life’ but according to the reviews it’s not just for writers (and apparently Anne is pretty witty and I’m super keen for a witty book). You can read a little more about it on Amazon here.
Update: Read my review of Bird by Bird here.
Join the Smart Twenties Book Club
Did you know the Smart Twenties Book Club has moved to email?
About once a month, I send STBC members a super-long exclusive email packed full of my personal book recommendations and reviews! Just click the button below to become a member instantly:
What do you think?
Have you read Wild by Cheryl Strayed? And if not, do you think you’d like to read it? (or have you seen the movie and if so, did you like it? I still haven’t seen it!)
And will you be reading Bird by Bird?
Don’t forget comments are always appreciated – I’d love to hear about your experience with meditation!