Other than writing and gardening, one of my favourite pastimes is reading and right now I’m reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
This book has really given me pause to stop and think about the paths that each of us take in life and how, while we personally may seem to be doing all the wrong things and making what we perceive as mistakes, those ‘missteps’ actually have led us to exactly where we are right now.
If you’re not familiar with Wild, it is a memoir based on the experiences of the author, Cheryl Strayed. The book is largely a reflection of the choices she had made in her life and what led her to the decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail as a woman alone. The book outlines her adventure on the PCT all the while lending itself to flashbacks in Cheryl’s mind of her childhood, her mother’s death, and her divorce shortly thereafter.
Cheryl’s adventures throughout her story have in some cases startled me, scared me, and at the same time been a source of envy for me. How many people are brave enough to give up everything they have in order to hike alone on an unforgiving trail in order to ‘find’ themselves? Not many, I don’t think.
Perhaps Cheryl’s own choice of adventure is a bit extreme for most of us, but I admire her courage nonetheless. I’m not sure that I myself would dare to make the hike on the PCT (or anywhere else for that matter), but I can relate to her searching for her own path to peace.
Before this summer started for me I made the decision to have a ‘great and fun summer’. I wanted to have adventures of my own, to do things I normally wouldn’t, and to let loose a little as a stress release of the previous months. (I don’t foresee myself hiking much in the near future, but I have spent a lot of time in my gardens and flowerbeds, my own version of ‘Wild’ I suppose!)
Truth be told, most of us don’t feel the strong urge to do daring and dangerous things, but stepping out of our comfort zones every once in a while can be good for us. Going on the odd adventure with a close friend, challenging ourselves to do something which we are afraid to do, even expressing our feelings to another person are all things which can be a little ‘wild’ to us too.
There’s nothing wrong with a little adventure, heck there’s nothing with a big adventure either. I’m pretty tame with my adventures so I could not be a hypocrite and tell anyone that they should hike the PCT or journey to a far away land, but many of us go on our own adventures each and every day.
Adventuring allows us to alter our reality for a bit. It allows us to become vulnerable in new situations and in new places. Adventuring can allow our confidence to grow and our horizons to broaden. We can become different people, if only for a short while. Adventuring can enhance our soul, stimulate our thoughts and our senses, and give us the ride of a lifetime.
Even if your adventures aren’t huge, even if they don’t involve mountain climbing or hiking 2,700 miles along a trail, they can still be your own. Your own adventure could be a walk down an unknown path, talking to someone you don’t know, or scaling the face of a mountain. Really an adventure can be anything you make it.
What adventure will you go wild with?