I recently finished reading a few travel books and one of them was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I had heard so much about it but just never got around to reading it, which is like so many books on my reading list. Thankfully, Christine from Almost Fearless started a travel book club on Goodreads and Wild was the first pick!
I found that I would read for a half hour and whiz through a ton of pages because it was that good. The whole time I was reading it I kept wondering if I could ever hike the Pacific Crest Trail like Cheryl and I don’t think I could do something that hardcore. I’ve done my own solo journey though to Scandinavia which is a completely different locale but I felt some of the same things Cheryl wrote about. It’s not easy to be on your own for long periods of time but the time alone is sometimes needed to step back from everything that’s going on in your life and get some perspective and prioritize.
While I was reading the book I was also worried that something bad was going to happen to Cheryl. I was honestly more guarded and aware of my surroundings while traveling solo and it’s one reason why I prefer to travel with others so I don’t have to feel on edge all the time and just enjoy the trip. My worries for Cheryl made me think of the travel story that’s happening in the news now about the solo female traveler that was murdered in Turkey. Jodi at Legal Nomads has a great response to this incident and her supporting argument reminds me that there is nothing wrong or dangerous with females traveling solo and that there is more to this incident such as violence against women, not just abroad but more often at home as well.
What I loved most about Wild was a quote by Cheryl about her expectations for the hike ahead of her: “A world I thought would both make me into the woman I knew I could become and turn me back into the girl I’d once been.”
This just perfectly sums up what my first travels abroad meant to me. I had just graduated college three months before when I moved to London to work abroad and travel around Europe. I reclaimed the values that I felt I was neglecting and which were important to me and defined me as a woman and I knew what I wanted to do with my future and the people that I wanted to surround me.