Being Truly Found: The Book ‘Wild’ And Its Impact On Me

Posted: September 21, 2015

Tied down with a hectic job and other commitments, the author recounts her reading of Wild and how it changed her travel-starved, monotonous life. 

This article is not a review of the memoir Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed. It is a narrative of how I rediscovered myself after reading Wild. I am working in a regular 10 to 8 (9 to 5 doesn’t exist anymore) job. This job gives me financial and emotional security, which I had been missing in my life for quite some time. But what it robbed me of was my independence to travel freely, to set out on an expedition whenever my mind wanted to stray and to just leave for some place where I could open up my blocked mind. Although I have been travelling on weekends, those excursions taken with my family don’t really help in rediscovering a part of me that sometimes goes missing due to a monotonous and callous life.

This job gives me financial and emotional security, which I had been missing in my life for quite some time. But what it robbed me of was my independence to travel freely, to set out on an expedition whenever my mind wanted to stray and to just leave for some place where I could open up my blocked mind.




A few weeks ago, I was leafing through a list of must-read books by women authors, when the mention of Wild intrigued me. I had always been interested in the ‘road’ genre. My favorite movies too belonged to this genre. I immediately grabbed this book, thinking to read it during my before sleep ‘me time’. But I never thought that I will start devouring this book like a person who is starved of travelling.

Wild is a memoir of author Cheryl Strayed, who after the death of her mother feels completely lost in the world. In a hope to rediscover herself, she starts hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, taking more than three months to finish it. But what those three months of wilderness taught her, the rest of her life couldn’t.

Reading a book is very different from watching a movie. While a movie serves us a complete picture, leaving nothing much to imagine, a book offers a wide range of imagination. As the author continues describing the story, the reader keeps envisaging it in her mind. When Cheryl described her trail, I felt it wasn’t just her who was hiking that trail but that I too joining her in her expedition. Like her, there were days when I suffered the wrath of the unrelenting sun, there were nights when I coiled myself inside the tent and shivered in the seemingly never-ending snow. It was all in my mind. Yet I was living it.

When Cheryl described her trail, I felt it wasn’t just her who was hiking that trail but that I too joining her in her expedition.

Wild taught me that we have massive and unimaginable power within us. But we are too afraid to unleash it. With every passing day, we try to keep walking on the safe road to avoid ourselves from the challenges that life could throw to us because we think we won’t be able to conquer them. Only when we get exposed to certain circumstances, which don’t have any escape route, that the hidden power within us sets itself free. It surprises us but once it’s out, it can never be bounded again.

Life has some moments that seem unfathomable to us. But it’s better to leave them and move on than to waste time and energy to derive some meaning out of them. The reason behind their occurrence will one day become clear to us but that day can be just 2 days or 5 years later.

By the end of the book, when Cheryl finishes her hike of over 1100 miles, I felt I was coming to an ending of something. The moment was overwhelming. I wanted to end it soon, yet I was reluctant. I couldn’t hold back my tears. After a long period of emotional hibernation, I for a change, escaped the “all about me and my miseries” world, stepped into someone else’s shoes and understood that person deeply. I felt unburdened; I was empty again to be refilled by the new lessons of life.

By the end of the book, I couldn’t hold back my tears.

A book has the power to absorb someone else’s life; to land there, to live, to endure and finally end the journey in order to start a new one. Wild was one such book; my life was one such canvas.

Cover image:  Peanut Butter Fingers

Hailing from the foothills of Himalayas, Isha presently works in an advertising agency in Mumbai.

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Comments

2 Comments


  1. Thanks for a wonderful writeup Isha. I feel inspired to read the book after reading about your experience. You have beautifully expressed your thoughts and I can feel how deeply it has impacted you. Hope to see more of your writing in the near future.

  2. Hmm…. Well written.even I m planning to read it now

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