Impulse buying: it's what I do every time I'm standing in a too-long line and the chocolate bars lined up at the checkout counters start whispering my name (No I don't want it in a bag; it won't even make it out of the store!) But impulse hiking? Deciding to put your entire life on hold and hit a backwoods trail you've never been on based solely from reading a travel book you picked up on a whim? Who does that? Apparently Cheryl Strayed did.
Call her brave or call her crazy, Strayed did what most people dream about doing; she sold most of her belongings and hit the hiking circuit on her own, documenting her journey in Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Prior to taking her first step in newly purchased boots, Strayed had little experience in backcountry hiking, let alone the knowledge of how to survive an 1800-mile trek that would take her from the Mojave Desert north into Washington state. The memoir is no-holds-barred honest: Strayed makes no bones about the fact that she was ill-prepared for some of the circumstances she faced. She over packed, under planned and basically threw caution to the wind, but grew so much emotionally as a result. As a woman I admire the fact that she struck out on such a journey alone, trusting in the kindness of strangers and braving the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. I also admire and have a new respect for those individuals who do long-distance hikes.
The book is well-written and although perhaps her trip was a little ill-advised, her can-do attitude and raw candor makes for a very good read, especially with chocolate.
Recommended by Priscilla Garvin