When I heard that this week’s topic would be “it’s wild,” I immediately thought of the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Wild documents Strayed’s journey walking the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself. It highlights the hardships as well as the breakthroughs, and it paints a clear portrait of a broken woman on her journey to recovery through the process of hard work and achievement.

I read this book earlier this year, after I saw the movie version featuring Reese Witherspoon. While I liked the movie, I felt like Witherspoon’s soft features and sweet spirit were not tough enough when compared to Strayed’s personality. The movie focused heavily on the struggle and the harassment Strayed experienced throughout her journey, but the book looked at the empowerment of the situation.

To be honest, many of the instances described in the book and movie are brutal. The things that she experienced were truly awful, and there were several instances when she thought seriously about quitting. In the end, Strayed persevered and she completed the journey in spite of all the hardships she encountered.

Although Strayed’s early life was rough and several mistakes were made, there are a lot of valuable lessons that we can learn from this story. One of the biggest things I took away from this story was empowerment. This is the first important lesson from this book: self-empowerment. What Strayed did was challenging, but also groundbreaking. Women did not walk this trail alone, especially not the entire 2,000+ miles of the trail. Everyone told her that she couldn’t do it. Along the way, other hikers questioned her capabilities and tried to talk her out of completing the journey alone. Although she thought about it several times, Strayed never quit. This is the second important lesson from this book: persevere.

Wherever you are in your life, I think you can learn a lot from Cheryl Strayed. Whether your “pacific crest trail” is getting through school, or if it is seeing through an important goal for yourself, perseverance and self-empowerment are valuable lessons to apply to your situation. Along the journey, you will find that you have grown and changed as a person, and you will look back fondly on the experience as well as the achievement.

-          Bria