wild – cheryl strayed

Wild appears on my summer reading list and was chosen by Oprah for the first book of her Book Club 2.0!

I finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed in record time.  In just under 24 hours, Cheryl marched her way through my imagination on the Pacific Crest Trail.  This book is a perfect quick read that will inspire–especially great for a summer vacation or long weekend at the pool.

This coming of age memoir explores the ties that bind us; to our family, to our past, to our loves.  Strayed’s beloved mother died and her marriage ended shortly before she set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  Thing is, she planned to do the hike by herself, in about 100 days…and she’d never backpacked before.

As her hike progresses, she finds herself solving problems that she never imagined encountering.  Watching her survive and make-do was empowering to me personally, as I often what I would do in harrowing situations.  It’s a relief to know that most of us have the mettle to handle hard times.

Strayed’s utter lack of prior planning for this monumentally difficult hike was endearing/crazy.  Endearing because I am a very poor planner (I think this might be a two-fold problem…1., I am often overly confident in my ability to figure things out on the fly.  2., I lose interest after the ideation faze.)  My favorite part of the book was reading about her donning her pack (nicknamed Monster) for the first time before she sets out on the trail.  I could so picture myself in her shoes.


I am giving away my copy of Wild to a Tiny Twig reader!  Just leave a comment below with the “wildest” thing you’ve ever set your mind to doing.  Comment by Sunday, June 24 11:59 PM EST and I’ll announce a random winner on Monday, June 25!

My Wildest thing:  I went to Florence, Italy study art history for a summer and didn’t know a soul in my program.  It was one of the best experiences of my life, but there were definitely moments of loneliness and wishing I had someone I loved to share it with!  It’s hard to imagine I’d do such an independent thing again, after having the companionship of being married for 7 years.


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  • Reply Anh Le @ Fab 'n Fun June 22, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Thanks for the giveaway. I am so eager to join :)
    The wildest thing I have ever done is traveling to Thailand alone and joining a couple I met randomly on a bus in their journey. The man is American and the woman is a Thai transexual. I just went with the flow with these strangers and it turned out that they were really nice people and we had a great time and surprising experience together. Sometimes strangers aren’t scary at all. Go risk your life :)

  • Reply keely June 22, 2012 at 6:59 am

    I don’t know if this counts as “wild” at all, but having a home birth for the first time seemed pretty wild, especially since my husband and I had moved to a new city where we had no family or support system in place. By the time we were 3 for 3 with home births, they didn’t seem so wild. Well, except #2, who came before our midwife arrived and my husband caught himself.
    Ok, now I’m rambling. :) The book looks great!

  • Reply Sarah June 22, 2012 at 7:01 am

    My wildest thing is very similar to yours. I did study abroad in Spain for a year, all my myself, with the bare minimum amount of Spanish classes that my university allowed for students to be able to take the trip (all my classes in Spain were in Spanish — like economics, marketing, etc.) I had to find my own housing and everything, it was a very “sink or swim” experience.

  • Reply Jenni Phenicie June 22, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I am not sure how “wild” this is, but was for me! I decided to do the Chicago Marathon last October. Something I never thought I would do! I completed it with a great group of friends and now we are training for it again!

  • Reply Barefoot Hippie Girl June 22, 2012 at 8:32 am

    How about, signing up for the Influence Conference?!=) (is it going to be wild?=)) Truly, I can write to anyone, but actually going and meeting with people, all by myself, “knowing” no one-is a huge thing for me. I always rely on others, like Mr. Hippie, to help me meet and greet. This is one thing I am doing on my own. Very scary.
    I also can relate with Jenni (25k, though-not a marathon) and Keely (4 home births). I wondered with both these experiences just what was I thinking???=)

  • Reply Tiffany June 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Wildest thing – setting paperwork in motion to adopt our daughter, going to Guatemala to bring her home and parenting her. It’s the wildest because it requires me to be “all in” in a whole new way.

  • Reply Penelope June 22, 2012 at 9:24 am

    It isn’t very wild. I moved to the Texas coast knowing only one person. It was about 4 hours from home and quite a daring move for chicken-little.

  • Reply Jess // Curating Style June 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

    What a great giveaway! This book sounds awesome.

    The wildest thing I have ever done is to move to Cairo without a real plan in place. Granted, I was there with a study abroad program, but I was doing a direct enrollment so there wasn’t any structure—and I wasn’t living on campus. I moved into a hostel with a bunch of other foreigners (we found each other online through a listserv) and then two weeks in we had figured out who wanted to live with who. In the midst of all this, living in one of the world’s most packed cities and trying to find an apartment…it sure led to some interesting memories.

    The second wildest thing? Being in a relationship. I had been purposely single all through college, so now I’m on this whole new crazy rollercoaster. But it’s a good one.

  • Reply allison June 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I think the wildest thing I’ve ever done was run a half marathon. Next up… a marathon!

  • Reply Hannah Mayo June 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

    The wildest thing I’ve ever done would have to be my trip to Zambia when I was 17. I went with a team of other college students, and we spent 3 weeks camping in the bush and visiting schools and orphanages. It was amazing.

  • Reply Adventures in Dressmaking June 22, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Cool! I heard about this book and think it’s so cool to hear this kind of story from a woman’s perspective. So often survival books are about men or young men, and it’s hard to imagine myself in their shoes. I don’t do much wild stuff, myself, although I think some of my goals are pretty brave–all the savings I do to buy a house, etc. That’s wild for people in my circle!

  • Reply Liz June 22, 2012 at 11:09 am

    At the age of 23, I voluntarily chaperoned 11HS students who I didn’t really know to Germany FOR A MONTH!! How naive was I?! What were those PARENTS thinking?

  • Reply Bridget June 22, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Sometimes the wildest things are so close to you, you don’t even remember that they’re wild. My wildest thing is getting married to a man I barely knew. So not me, cautious planner that I am. But we’ve been married twenty years, and I love him more than I ever have.

  • Reply Amy Cornwell June 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

    My wildest thing recently was probably quiting my job of 9 years and becoming a WAHM for the first time!

  • Reply Andrea June 22, 2012 at 11:33 am

    The wildest thing I’ve ever done is get on a ship with 700 other students (strangers) to travel the world for 4 months! LOVED.every.second. Would love this book!

  • Reply Katy June 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    On of the wildest things I’ve done was take a trip up north for less then 24 hours. My husband stayed with the kids while I just had to get out of the house. Huge thanks to my sister who let me stay at her cabin. I needed the break :)

  • Reply Cassie June 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Just saw this on Oprah’s list this morning! The wildest thing I feel that I have ever done is start my own business! I just started it in April and it is so scary to invest money and not know if it will be a success or not. I’ve never done anything like this before and it is scary! Way out of my comfort zone, for sure.

  • Reply Emily June 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    The most recent “wild” thing I did was buck tradition and make our wedding ceremony our own. We planted a unity tree instead of lighting a candle and we danced down the aisle to “Walkin on Sunshine” after being pronounced man and wife. It was very meaningful for both my husband and I.

  • Reply Missy June June 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    The ‘wildest’ thing I have done were some random dares in my youth. Now days I feel most wild when I take my three little ones hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s wonderful!

    Sounds like a great read.

  • Reply 17 Perth June 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    This book looks so so good. I thing one of the wildest things I have done is study abroad in Africa. I too, was alone most of the time…but it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I didn’t read or research anything before I went—-I just knew I wanted to experience something completely different than what I already knew. :)

  • Reply marisa June 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    oooo. i want to read that :)
    my wildest thing — hiking the inca trail last summer in Peru (ending at machu picchu) — it was the hardest thing i’ve ever done, but i’m SO glad i did it.
    yay for adventure!

  • Reply Amanda June 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Oh, wow! This book sounds great!

    The “wildest” thing I’ve ever set my mind to doing: I’m moving to China in August to teach kindergarten for a year! And I’ve never even been on a plane! I’m nervous and full of “what ifs” but mostly I’m excited. I want to prove to others and to myself that I can do this!

  • Reply Jessica June 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    First, I am so excited for Amanda (above) and her wildest thing! What an awesome adventure. My wildest thing was leaving a beloved job (and paycheck) to go to back to school to study theology for two years. I didn’t have an incredible call story, but I felt invited – and nudged – by God to dig deeper. I graduated last month. It was incredibly challenging and meaningful and God made such a way for me. Every day was like opening a gift!

  • Reply sam June 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Neato! The wildest thing I’ve ever done was eight years ago: I hiked 40 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail with my husband. Most incredible experience ever! Three days and two nights backpacking in the beautiful Oregon Wilderness together. We hope to someday conquer the whole trail…after these kids are grown!

  • Reply Ellen June 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    this book sounds like it would be a fun summer read. my wildest thing is a study abroad too — i applied for a 6-month program in paris on a whim, studying french cuisine, history and film. i was at a sort of turning point in my young life and jumped headfirst into the experience. loneliness wasn’t definitely a part of it for me too, but the daily new experiences and culture made it well worth it!

  • Reply Ellen June 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    was* definitely a part of it!

  • Reply D.L. Mayfield June 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    i so want to read this book! the wildest thing i can think of is the most recent–my husband and i both quitting our jobs and joining an apostolic order amongst the poor. based on other peoples reactions (including parents, etc.) this seems pretty wild!

  • Reply caroline June 23, 2012 at 8:17 am

    the wildest thing i’ve done lately is fly a helicopter!

  • Reply Maggie June 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

    The wildest thing I’ve done was pack up and move on my own to a brand new city to start a job. I’ve met wonderful people here and learned to make adventures on my own, but for a homebody like myself…That was wild!

  • Reply Kristina June 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    This book looks awesome! I enjoy backpacking as well, though I’ve never tried anything to that extent. The wildest thing I’ve ever done was backpack my six month old into Adirondack park to stay at a Loj (yes, that’s how they’re spelled in ADK park) for two days and lead some friends up Mt. Marcy…. fun times :-)

  • Reply Rachel Cambell June 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I gave up my teaching career to go to the USA (from the UK) to Bible College for my MA. I’d never been there before and didn’t know anyone. It felt pretty wild – especially as I threw up all over myself (and the poor passenger sitting next to me) as soon as the plane landed in Chicago! Things improved though – I met my future husband just a few months before my course ended. We’ve been married for a year now, living in England, so I would definitely encourage taking risks! Rachel

  • Reply Jenn H June 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    thanks for the chance…I have been wanting to read this book.

    Back in 97 my father passed away and he lived in a different state. While there for his funeral I knew that is where I needed to live. Two weeks after getting home I walked into work on morning and on a whim I told my manager that I was moving and giving a months notice. I had not planned on doing this, nor had a job, place to live, or knew anyone for that matter. It all worked out in the end and I don’t regret it one bit.

  • Reply Tracy hoover June 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    This book has been added to my summer reading list!! The wildest thing……hmm….there are so many to choose from! At age 17, I decided I wanted to live in the city. I moved from a very small, rural town to Atlanta. I was about five hours from home, however, I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me…..and I left behind my twin brother, who was and still is my bestest, closest friend. It probably doesn’t sound very wild to many, but for me it was. I experienced a totally different world than what I was used to……and I loved every (almost) minute of it!
    Thanks for your awesome blog. Tracy

  • Reply Tina June 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    My wildest thing is going to see my sister in England, by Myself! I’ve been married for 25 years, and met my husband when I was 15. Can you imagine?!

  • Reply 6512 and growing June 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I read and loved this book and would love to own it.

    The wildest thing I did was backpack alone (pre-cell phone days) all over the San Juan Mountains in my 20’s.

  • Reply Corrie Anne June 24, 2012 at 2:37 am

    That book sounds so good. The wildest thing I’ve ever done was move to the Dominican Republic for 2 years to teach — when I had never even been outside the US before!

  • Reply Wendy June 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I’d love to win a copy. My crazy thing is just like yours, tiny twig. A summer in London studying art all by myself. Crazy, but I met lots of people and learned so much (including my love for travel). I’d love to go to Haiti on a mission trip this Thanksgiving, but not sure I can because of a commitment this fall. That would be my next crazy thing, if it’s something God wants me to do.

  • Reply Allyn June 24, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I would love to read this book. The wildest thing I have ever done is move to Japan to teach English without knowing a soul. I loved it and dream of doing something else like this again someday.

  • Reply TAra June 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Funny how so many of these involve travel….
    Mine does too….I was traveling in Europe during the summer (when in college), and so very very lonely. I met a nice gal from Sweden in my summer school, and at the end of the summer when we were packing up and she invited me to come visit her family in Sweden. I was supposed to continue on to “explore” the continent, but 2hrs later I had bought a ticket to Sweden and scrapped all my careful plans for seeing France and Germany. Best decision!

  • Reply Anne June 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I discussed this with my book club recently – we all found it a fast read too – but what a great idea to add a discussion of your own wildest moment. Mine is probably signing up for/doing a half marathon all by myself, even though I was nervous as heck. My husband was on call that day, so he couldn’t be there, but I gave myself the necessary pep talks to get through it all on my own. And I beat my goal time!

  • Reply Laura June 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I’ve been fortunate to take some international “wild ” trips, but by far the wildest is our present journey welcoming a new son and daughter into our family this summer AND pregnant! In January our family = 18, 7, 6, 5, 3, and new baby!

  • Reply Jessica Sliman June 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Ahh, I know this is a late comment but I still wanted to post. I am looking forward to checking out the book. The “wildest” thing I ever did was to walk the Camino de Santiago – a medieval pilgrimage – from Southern France through Northern Spain. It was about 500 miles and I did it with one friend from college during some time off while studying abroad. It was crazy hard and one of the best experiences of my life.

  • Reply Laura June 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I know this might not seem wild at all, but right now it seems very wild that in 2 short weeks I will be a stay-at-home-“mom” while my husband works and we live in a house we just bought, preparing for our little one. This is 100% different from where I’ve been living for the last 5+ years.

  • Reply Weekend Reads July 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    […] Wild – Hayley did a book review on this a few weeks ago and ever since I’ve wanted to pick it up.  Lucky […]

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