In The Wild

I love the cinema. That is why I was a bit surprised when trying to think of an answer to todays prompt from NaBloPoMo:

Monday, November 11, 2013
If you had to be trapped inside a movie for 5 days, which movie would you pick

The only relevant answer I have is that I would like to live in a book: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. For those of you who have not read Wild here is a brief summary:

Cheryl, 26 at the time the story takes place, decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail for 3 months- A difficult trek which stretches the entire west coast of the US. Cheryl is not an experienced hiker, nor a wilderness aficionado, yet she has an undeniable urge to hike the trail. While the physical challenge of the trek is clearly present throughout the pages, the real journey takes place within. For the past several years, Cheryl has undergone emotional trauma and battled with drugs and depression. Being on the trail forces her to come to terms with her past, and live in the present.

You may be wondering why on earth I would want to be stuck in a book that requires strenuous physical activity. Let me explain:

First of all, it’s only 5 days. I think I can manage 5 days on the trail, and our packs would be much lighter with two to carry the load. Secondly, I quite like the ‘trapped’ bit. I will know that for the next 5 days I am stuck. There is no running off to watch tv or read peacefully from bed. There is no time to sit and worry about work or money or if I can make it. I can only put one foot in front of the other for 5 days.  While I know I can be mindful and meditate in any place,  I think this quote is the reason I would like to be trapped inside the book:

On the PCT I had no choice but to inhabit it entirely, to show my grubby face to the whole wide world.

This so wonderfully sums up what mindfulness is to me. The memoir is woven through flashbacks to times in the authors life that haunt her: the early death of her mother, the divorce of her first husband, her struggles to keep her family together and her addiction to heroin.  I don’t think the author would say that this one, albeit life changing, trip cured her, nor do I think she would say you necessarily need to leave your front door, but being a wanderer at heart, I love travel memoirs as I think it mirrors the journeys we all need to take, even in our daily lives.

I think it reflects a lot of the reasons why I chose to travel myself. I am lucky enough to have had a less ‘traumatic’ early adulthood than the author, but I have still fought my battles, both within myself and against the world. I can relate to how much traveling puts things into perspective, and one thing I really learnt about myself was how much being in nature centres and grounds me. It’s like instant meditation!

In conclusion, I would not want to wander in the America wilderness for years on end, but I think a short foray into the author’s world, would make for some wonderful adventures, inside and out.

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