Hard-ass Amazonian Queen

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Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is one of the most inspiring books I ever read. If you don’t want to be spoiled about even one word of this book, come back after you read it, I couldn’t help myself to quote her!

What first really interested me reading Wild is that, unlike Mike Horn or Sylvain Tesson, who, in very different ways, are well prepared/trained for their hike, Cheryl realised that she was absolutely not prepared to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. To me, these 3 authors/travellers highlight 3 different ways to travel, guided by very different reasons to travel and this is deeply fascinating and open-minding.

Despite her lack of preparation, Cheryl demonstrates an impressive mental strength, her all body suffering from the pain caused by the hike and her super heavy backpack, and the fear of being alone in the wild somethimes, and her tiredess, and the pain still caused by her mother’s death, her divorce and all the things she considered she had done wrong in her life. But despite all of this, she makes it! And one of my favorite quote illustrating perfectly her strength is:

« [...] when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me? The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way in this earth it was true, I said it anyway: No one. »

At one point, Cheryl started to accept herself and you truly understand why she is hiking the PCT. She is hiking the PCT to find herself (and maybe that’s what most of travellers/explorers/hikers are looking for). With her own words she makes you feel the changes that are operating in her mind, how she started to release herself.

« I dind’t feel sad or happy. I didn’t feel proud or ashamed. I only felt that in spite of all the things I’d done wrong, in getting myself here, I’d done right. »

« Maybe I was more alone than anyone in the whole wide world. Maybe it was ok. »

She is also often shared between intense and opposite feelings, what she expresses very well. She really made me laugh out loud and feel close to her, like if I totally understood what she meant and how she felt, especially with this expression (I enjoyed this page so much I read it several times):

« [...] I felt like a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen. »

Finally, after all the kilometers and emotions she has been through, Cheryl brings us to a magnificent insight not only on her hike, but on her life:

« How wild it was, to let it be. »

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