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Cheryl Strayed: “Wild”

2019-01-02 | 🔗

New York Times best-selling author Cheryl Strayed reflects on her soul-stirring memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.” Filled with honesty, raw emotion and breathtaking moments, the book outlines the events that led Cheryl to embark on an 1,100 mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. In 1995, Cheryl was a 26-year-old waitress whose life hit rock bottom after she lost her mother to cancer. Cheryl says she scarcely resembled the healthy, strong, and happy woman she used to be. She knew she needed to make a radical change in her life, and decided to journey back into her true self, step-by-step, along the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl’s journey proves that all is never lost, even in the darkest hour. In 2014, “Wild” was produced as a major motion picture, starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the podcast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starkness right now. When shall strayed began her eleven hundred mild track from the Mojave Desert in California all the way to the cascade mountains in Oregon? She had no, you hear me no experience as a long distance, hiker she'd. Never even gone backpacking before she just now. That she had lost everything and she believed this hike. Could somehow help? find her way out. I had been at this place in my life when I was out of sorts and what I think of us at the bottom of my life
her downward spiral had begun for years earlier when she was twenty two. I was a senior college when my mother thought what she got us a bad cold. She went to the doktor and I found out that she had advanced stage lung cancer and she died Ten weeks later I was becoming the woman. I was going to become, and in the midst of this I lost my my one route. Might my role model other Charles Biological Father had left the family long ago when Cheryl was six or stepfather Ed helped raise her, but after her mother died Ed, moved on remarried and started a new family, and so what I lost my mom. I really truly became an and surely had married young at only nineteen years old Twenty one year old, name Paul in a small ceremony on her families land, I loved my husband, he loved me, but I was just too young and too much grief to sustain that kind of fire.
So Cheryl sought, comfort elsewhere. I needed male attention. I needed men to one of you know be sexually involved with me. I needed that kind of affirmation, and so I thought it and I cheated on my husband in ways that I knew at the time were the rotten I knew was the wrong thing to do, but I couldn't really keep myself from doing it in my grief, so much spun out of control. I really tried very hard to continue in my life in the way that I was sort of men too, and that I had promised my mother, I would ultimately failed at that, and I think that so much of what I write about and wild is coming to peace with that and with each day on that trail, Cheryl Gan her journey from lost two found. So this is the thing I read this and was so excited about it. I said I can't keep it to myself. I just can't keep it to myself.
The shout from a mountain top. The on the web I mean did tell everybody I know about this because it is so really to have this work and to know that it actually happen. It's not all right, that's right than it actually happened. It's a real story. It you know it's so interesting as its? It is just part of my life. You know it's not it's not just, story. It's one was one of the things that happened in my life and and- and I will say the most dramatic things this ever happened, but ultimately just go back to that telling a story about something. This is who inspirational, no matter where you are in your climb in life and what you're doing you have to keep getting yourself up in every day. No matter what obstacle is there, you just have to keep getting up. What does it mean to be wild. I think that You know it's interesting to me that you say it so inspiring big has really the place that this so he began was at my least
separation moment. You know, I think it's so much. That story is about me having been lost and and reached the bottom of my life from us. Two found from last to found in civic crest trail. That's where wild begins. Now that that will when, when I, when my mother died, it brought me to what I think as my most savage sell its drift me of the of the thing I needed it was My mother was the task of my life and suddenly I didn't have that anymore and I had a wild love for mother, I had wild sorrow and then I went wild. Wild into the into into my life, I'm turning to page twenty three, because I remember that where it is, They are angry with God and my mother, as you sat by her mothers bedside in her last days. I prayed fervently rapidly to God. I love your sentences. Sometimes is underlined, as I watch I read this in with a real book. I read.
With a book. I read it with my kinda liberated with them Ipad and I just have markings all over the place, but sometimes I just work, love the sentence I prayed forever. The rapidly to God, any God to God. I could not identify or fine. I cursed my mother who now Given me any religious education resentful, of her own repressive catholic upbringing, she'd avoided church altogether or adult life she was dying. I didn't even have God a prey to the whole wide university God would be ended. Listening to me, I prayed and Great Britain. Then I faltered, not because I couldn't find God, but because absolutely did God was there I realised, and God had no intention. I love this so much mixed Mizar of making things then, or not or saving my mother's life? I think that That is the moment where I added a more complex relationship to God. You know that it was not a grant her wishes. I think you know a lot of
children think ok, younger pray to God now get that no new new toy new toys for Christmas or whatnot, and I realize in our here I was twenty two and my. Mother was suddenly being taken from me, and I had that child version of smeared swelling in right. Like what do I want? You at least take mercy on me and I really I wasn't gonna get it and my mother wasn't gonna get it, and I knew that you know Countless I mean I knew that rationally thousands of people don't get it. We know people bad things happen to people all the time, but when they happened to us we think but wait a minute. Why would I do that? To me, and so on that moment I realize yeah I'm going to have to figure out a new definition of God. And that was a wild experience too girls, unanswered, prayers left her feeling empty and alone and so she did. What most of us do she said for ways to feel herself up to fill
avoid about three years after my mom died, I came to Portland Oregon. I was living in Minnesota at the time and my marriage had reached this. Nice where we decided to separate, and so I was in this really I was her broken and I met this very charismatic and charming young man who I pretty immediately took up with and he immediately introduce me to heroin. I had never been somebody who abuse drugs or alcohol I'd always been
fairly server moderate person when it came to those things, but the first time I use heroin was different than anything else have ever experienced to this day. Really it was the first thing that that took all of my pain away. It took all of my uncertainty, my sorrow, my doubts after I would use when I, when I was high, it felt like I could live in the world that was that was without my mother and I could live in the world where I had destroyed my marriage and all of those things I wanted. I wanted to be reckless. I had had to become so grown up when my mother died in some ways. I was just saying you know what I'm just going to be young, I'm gonna be in my twenties and I'm going to be dangerous and, and I dont have a parent is going to stop me. I was so angry that I didn't have a mom or a dad. I was so angry about that and in some ways I wanted to do you know I want to make some hey levying a bad girl and I was a bad girl. Ok, what does
I felt like when you take it. What does it feel like? I have It is safe. I felt really good to me. It felt pleasurable, but Fortunately, it felt like what it. Is it made everything? Ok, it made all the facts of my life. Ok, Ok that my mom was said, nothing has ever made it. Ok, it's still not ok months been dead. Twenty one years has still not ok. Well, you know that doesn't say I haven't gone on and it's not. I don't cry of over it. Every day you know have found a place to hold I'm in my heart and in a way that actually makes me happy, but it's not ok that she's dead. Heroin made it. The gated indicated that sorrow and and I think to so there was that it was actually like a cure. It was a cure for pain, which is pretty spectacular. I think the other piece of it is I think I was actually- and I can only say this
brought respect, I was just looking for attention I need somebody. You I'd always heard that you become instantly addicted, some like. Why won't you a heroine attic? Well, I was getting down that path. You say heroin on page one forty three of the book but walking along a path. I carve myself when I hope with the pc tea was the opposite of using heroin the tree there I pulled in stepping into the snow, made me more alive to my senses than ever uncertain as I was, push forward. I felt right in my pushing as if the effort itself Mitt something that, perhaps being amidst the on desecrated, beauty of the wilderness meant I too could be on desecrated, regardless what I'd lost or what had been taken from me, regardless of the regrettable thing I done to others or myself for the regrettable things that had been done to me of all the things had been sky. Go about. I didn't feel sceptical about this.
The wilderness had a clarity that included me what a thing ass. Thank you wow, that's beautiful! smiles water. Thank the wilderness. Had a clarity, let me coded me and the clarity that includes all of us. I believe that idea of her shawl strange wild eleven hundred mile journey began in nineteen. Eighty four one Blizzard left her car buried under snow. This is to that's how life happens to us meeting a shovel Cheryl headed. Are these books on the shelf, and this was one of them- the Pacific, Crest, her volume, one California and had never heard of the trail before pressed her volume, one California and had never heard of the trail before I had never gone backpacking before I've done a lot of hygiene
grown up in the wilderness of Northern Minnesota, but you know something about this book called to me site. I turned it over and read the back and it told the story of this amazing national scenic trail that went from Mexico to Canada through California, organ in Washington, along the spine of the two year in Nevada and the cascade range, and it just it seemed like such an important thing, such a grand things, significant thing- and I was none of those things about moment in my life, and I just knew that I wanted to attach myself to it. I knew instinctively that the wilderness was the place that I felt most gathered and I was in serious need of gathering at that time. So what happened? Is that day I took it. I took the book and I said it back on the shelf and I walked out, and I dug myself out of that blizzard and in ways both literally and figuratively, and I just this decided a couple days later, that I had to
into the store and buy it. So I did I drove to the area and living in Minnesota and I the book- and I read the book over and over again and I began hiking the trail about five months later. Ok, this is was so amazing to me and everybody listen to us has had this motion. Were you feel like your life is just not where you want it to be. If you live longer That happened, I do you feel like you're, like system where you wanted to be, and you are, our key. I store, which I never even heard of until too ago camping with Gale Yosemite you're. There are ye I store and you see a little book- and you know I think, you'll understand this way- many books, changed my life? Yes, you know they have been the works of great literature, but this was a guide book, a wilderness guidebook and I picked it up and I read the back. That's the first time of I've heard this trail,
I'm embarrassed to admit the foresight her about it was reading of illegal. I know and Oliver the nation I asked people and about many most we all know the population trainee I'll know the appellation trail. We all know Kellerman the ongoing your backyard algebra its it over the here over the hill as it is, and you don't how about it. But you know what you do now. I do you do when you did you did before you knew. I think that I really believe this. I think that there is something really powerful about something as vague and met innocent as that trail for everyone who lives in this great now side of our own over it. I don't know how many times have preserved that corridor. Yes and its there. For us, it's yours. You can walk that trail and every every wow I want to now that you ve done it you have to so. This is what I thought. I thought you know I just knew instinctively. This is something magnificent and I needed to attach myself to something magnificent, ok, standing in line at the hour Eli as you picking up the book. Did you think
oh gee, I want hike this, or did you think what was your initial feeling when you read that you are the best way for me to Describe it, I think I say this in the book. Something bloomed in my in my chest. I felt some sense of opening or or wonder, and I maybe I should do that, and I put the book back and I left and then I came back the next day and bought the book and so began a really long journey. Now there was so many things that now you can look back and say. Oh, that was a coincidence. That was a coincidence and later in the book you talk about how everything one thing leads to another thing. I know I'm Mortier Avenue but you have how one thing leads to another thing leads to another thing and how you see how everything falls into place right and we and you we can't see what it is. I get time right. You don't know
and good and bad guess. You know we don't know how you, how does it affect your life? If you, if you have a mother who didn't love, you are, how does it affect your life? If you had a mother who did Those are those are the questions that we ve had a journey far and answering in our lives. If we ve done our work here, you know- and I I think that the same is true of the other of the smaller things you know there was that book. There was epoch in my hand at that at the moment that it needed to be in my hand, And I dont know I ve been asking for well what if it had been a different block right now. Would you want? I want somewhere and it wasn't, but maybe the answer is maybe I won't have you. Maybe maybe it wasn't just this this place the Pacific Cresswell. Maybe it was. It was I needed to venture- I knew I needed to go into the wilderness, sir, where that wasn't the wilderness of my home, where I grew up north. Minnesota. As I don't know, it's a mystery, isn't it it's one of the most compelling mysteries, I think, of our lives, how to
How do we make meaning of what have been hiker before you know? I had hiked. I grew up in northern Minnesota on forty acres of land in a house set, my family felt we built ourselves electricity now running water, no under plumbing them? You know, I think, a lot of people here that they think are your parents were hippies they weren't so much hippies. It was more that we were poor, you know and we couldn't afford to get those things until you know several years over the years, but so I had periods in the wilderness and I had a night height. I like driven in my truck and I'm gonna day hike. You know, but I had never gone. Backpacking never got backpacking until the first night of my trip. Which turns out is not such a great idea, but not so advisable, but I've always been someone who had to learn the hard way And Cheryl learn the hard way on the very
today of her trip. So this is monster the pack. I carried all the way on the Pacific Cresswell that summer of ninety ninety five so my backpack. So on day, one of my pc t hide. I work woke up and motel in the town Mohammed California. I had all of the things there. At room with me that I was going to take on the Pacific Cresswell. I had not before this moment pact monster. I knew it was a good idea to pack my answer, but I just haven't done for whatever reason, and so I got all this stuff piled on the bed and I crammed into this backpack, which at this moment didn't have a nickname monster. Yet the nickname months So when you finally put that backpack together- and I love that moment- where you're in the hotel but that MAC Peck Backpack together and you go to lifted off the floor, it doesn't move.
Move now. This is what I learned about myself. Reading this I was thinking cash. I am such a worse because that would have been the moment- I really am thinking gee. I have got to toughen up because that would have been the moment. I would say that society in our proposal to go home is doing that. I need all these things, but no, said you hunched, yourselves and put on this matter. Stir of a backpack I did and then and then I understand I understand I was hunting and in a remotely up right position, because it's more than half your weight. Yes, yes, yes, absolute! Yes, absolutely and you no part of it was you know my biggest fear. Your biggest here on this whole trip was that I would fail, and I was failing in so many ways and I could not fail. I'm too proud. I was too proud to go. You know have to call my friends and say you know how I was gonna hate that tried to
so, no matter what no matter what I had to get that packet hats to me and it didn't feel good. It fell terrible. It was really painful. Well, maybe this is what backpacking is like you know, and it turns out. I was carrying way too much stuff, but really, I think, has even experienced people who would see you they re always say this is what in the world they would say what are you carrying I could see that my pack EDA, which does so much bigger than it, did and everyone else's pack, but you know I I really needed in retrospect I needed to carry that heavyweight. I need to carry the weight that I couldn't bear. Not good metaphor: that's a wild is about is about We bear what we cannot do. Oh sure, strayed saw rattlesnakes bears in traces of Mount lions on the trail. She says
it was human beings. She feared the most. Most of the men I met on the trail and those people who have read wild are no. This already were amazing, generous good natured. I was one of the guys on the trail and I was just treated so kindly by so many people, but I did meet a couple of hunters BO hunters and Central Oregon. Who were not that way with me. They were sexually suggestive, insane all sorts of things to me that a woman doesn't have said to her when she's alone, in the woods ever really, but especially when she saw the woods- and I was terrified- I honestly thought that night that they were gonna write me actually, and I really thought about
What how I was going to respond if they took things further than the mate than they went, and I was going to fight with everything in me and luckily you know I was that we were able to sort of part ways without things escalating, but I was terrified and it did really change the way that I have thought about myself on the trail. Do you think that this high court have been do and if you hadn't, been female, nobody is threatened by a woman alone, either all cultural narrative around when women alone is that you know it basically were pray victims in all areas, and so you know I slipped that narrative and and said yeah here I am I'm out here too. In this thing, people really wanted to help me they want to take care of me. They wanted to give me things. They were kind to me when we right where you most afraid, when you're out of water, I was most afraid when I ran out of water, because there I knew this was an imaginary thing. This is
something I was like thinking. Well, you know this might happen. This was I was. Had no water and I wasn't, as was agreed in may be out exactly this is I do not have any, why don't have any water and I'm it's a hundred degrees and I'm carrying a pack, and I dont know where the next water source will be I was, I knew that I was going to walk to what I this pond and I hoped it had water, but it might, it might not have you now so that taken that tank was, it was empty. It was empty and I that pond and that water was just like mud mud and I and I pumped the water out of that and drank it and it was, worse. Water, I've ever had my life in the best water. Too don't go anywhere or to come after this short break today's episode is supported by hallmark cards. We say I love you too. The people we care about all the time so much so that sometimes it can start to feel a little bit like a habit if you're,
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there were many moments that were frightening: I couldn't handle the rattlesnake glow, rounded. I could have even handled the bear. Even frayed even handle men on the trail. If they hadn't bothered me what would have really sent me into psychological trauma and which still need to be therefore I would become a babbling crazy person is then, ain't you laid out in the wilderness and you didn't go under the tent now I didn't and something happened. Yes, can wander, tell us what that was well. It was this very all day and I had This pond is basically this oversight. Mud, puddle, yes and I was so exhausted. I'd run out of water, I drank by war. I fell asleep on my top right next to the pond. Thinking I didn't need you run out of water, so you pumped sides sounded out of that, and so I
lie down on its head and his two shadows exhausted. Even one of the reasons why I tell you and it's so hot anyway, so I think I'll just sleep in a hundred stars and I wake up- and I have this sensation- that somebody is touch it just little hands all who wet hey, who, when he has yet and I wake up slowly, and I realise that I am absolutely covered absolutely covered in little. Frogs that are have are leaving the ponds, because now the day has the sun had set their leaving the pond and doing whatever frogs do up beyond the pond outside it, and they are all I'm in the path of their migration. So I'm cod with black frogs, and I jump up shrieking yet reality that running and as I'm goin on trying not to step on them and kill them because you Squire size do, of course they do and I've never forgotten. The feeling
of underneath my feet: thou squashing, even black clause horrifying and I was worthy like down in Europe. There are everywhere I was trying to get them off my cause. I was wearing a t, shirt and short, and I'm as in running I'm screaming stepping on then trying to get them off out of my clothes, and I also to drag on my gear. You know everything. That's on that tarp is you know my pack, everything and I'm dragging alleys frogs with me and yes, it was terrifying. True. It was that the animal that frightened me the most on my hike, Brazil little one final question without I've gotta know you're a girl after my own heart, because everywhere I been there, what are you afraid of those frogs? Oh, my god. Forever traumatized by it. Let's talk about the since of isolation and alone nests. At one point, you speak about
the wilderness and everything in it and how you are a part of it feels like your part of it. Yeah it took some time to feel that way will the first eight days of my height see another human being right right there. I could it's gone home at the end, they days and had a profound experience just that experience is the first eight just just eight days, if not alone, not on eight days without similar go. You know oh yeah I had neither. It was interesting. And completely silent, so you're not like listening to your phones. You don't have ipod because their work, I've there weren't in ninety. Ninety five there were not. I didn't any electronics with you didn't, have a cell phone and have I didn't know what a cell phone was
I mean I don't think there were several falcons worth its I'm writing that if they were those big homey believe I did not. I just got one so brilliantly. Yes, there are now that you know I didn't have music. I would sing to myself in my my mind really tried to entertain itself, while a but after I, gets. You know I've been out there eight days without another, whom even then I was out there or not, and I kept going and going and priests I realised that this place felt like home, but this place but like the place I belonged, it say It seemed to us. It seemed to you know when you first go into a new house and it doesn't take you into its arms, its rise. You know about them. You ve been there while it does in the wilderness at that, saw page, sixty nine, you say no escape or denial the thing about hiking, the Pacific Crest trail. The thing that was so profound to me that summer and yet also like most thing,
so very simple was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do how there was no escape or denial, no numbing it down with a martini or covering it, with a role in this, It was relentless, it was. I was Thereby myself walking down the trail, those for that that was the fact, I know what you just said- it is because this is what I want everybody to think about. I'm sure you have, if you, if you offer of your already read the book, but as you are reading the book. When you're walking the trail at night. We're not talking about night with lit streets or lit paved path, we're talking about oh pitch black. You can't even see your hand in front of you write by the stars. Sometimes every stars,
I could see my and sometimes, but sometimes there not sometimes, but what is out there is the great fast wilderness. Yes, page, one nineteen, you say the trail rattle loneliness alone had always felt like an actual place to me as if it we're state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was the rabbit oh alone, is of the pc. T had altered that sense. Large, like this, without even a roof over my head made, the world feel both bigger and smaller. To me, really, it was it it in a way. I never had before long being at large like this, without even a roof over my head made the world feel both bigger and smaller, to me really was it my alone does not had gone from being. You know this. Irene. Writer, yes, who would have profound alumnus in my little room when I was writing and that's where I would seek solitude and the night?
to the world and expanded that sense that that room became bigger. That's powerful experience for me, ok, so here is the biggest thing bearing. The biggest thing, the very idea, the very idea, the whole book ass, a metaphor for conquering fear, but the very the idea I mean there have been times when on my own, property alone at night Scarred just just walking so the dogs and so the idea of being an uncharted territory in the wilderness pitch black by yourself. Female on a path you, you only know words going because you ve got a map to say it is, and you were not afraid or were you fraid. I know you created this mantra of I M, not afraid, and I said to myself, if every time you too I'm not afraid I'm take, I'm not afraid, but I do believe in spooks. I do I do
do I do it? Would not do it don't weapons as listen that the most important thing to me? I guess that I would add that I would hope readers that you will trust me. Believe me yeah, yes, that you will take away from wild. Is that that I'm not different than you, I'm not more like. I wasn't more courageous of bravery. I was, I have those same fears. I could walk down this driveway in and also get Creek Dounia. I you know a sound yeah, you know it's not like. I came swooping an like this big. You know amazonian brave woman and said I'm gonna go hike, eleven hundred miles from the wilderness it decided so much so much of the most important things I've ever done in my life that have asked a bit been brought real real things, life enriched my life, the big things they ve all happened, because I decided that I was
going to, let fear hold me back. I wasn't going to let you know my doubts, my my mistakes, my shame any of those things, and so you being fearless is is simply is not being unafraid its its eggs within with your fear, saying it's. Ok, I won't be courageous. Being courageous is having the feeling that- here and doing it anyway. Now, when I were work also were courageous we know what you are. What I say that, as I said, I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid Every time I heard that Brandt crack in the night of snuff, crackle pop I'd think that's. Just an animal doesn't want anything to do with me, and I was right. I was right. I could have said. Oh, my god. The bears gonna come and eat me and I see no reason. Wrench shrieking, o the wilderness, and then my trip would have an over. The other thing that gets me is for years, everybody whose watch the Oprah show knows, I would wish got when my heel, shoes, I'd, put em on I've, sent there look
for the show and then take them off immediately afterwards goes. There is nothing worse than having your feet hurting and your feet We are in the wrong side. Shoe for most of this hike, I cannot believe that you bore that they really hurt they really really really hard. As you know, even once I did get the rights issue, they still her. I mean I just first about carrying it have you pack and walking. Basically, a marathon everyday through the wilderness is going to hurt your feet If you don't have just thinks accurate, that you know- and you know I just never. I finally had just come to peace with that I had to accept that suffering was going to be part of this again, a literal physical extra. Instead echoed the one that I was. Having is amazing to man that was not a real reason and people's user to small people do people people and their their long hikes, because their feet her too much things a toenails, real, ass, six toenails that an end-
have you ever lost a tunnel. No, it's it's not an it's as if it's a long and painful process, it's it's a very painful, but I've heard. You know I do loser to now and then to put your dirty socks back on and clinking volume keep walking yeah. That's that what else was I going to do? The other option was to quit, which was my biggest fear. I wasn't gonna get cave into that you know so I just went on wow. I just went on, but you know. I think that that that I'm not afraid thing. We know it spilled over into other things that the compelled me to keep going. You know it's it's. We always have that voice. You know that voice innocent, I'm! You know I'm too far. I'm not good enough? like those negative voice, rice and then you, we'll have to just counter it and say: I'm not gonna. Listen that analysis this other thing, and so you know what I was suffering. I would say I'm uncomfortable right now, but it might, but I can do this and I could
I did do it, you pull your toenail, often keep going yeah. Let's talk about the burning of the books, yes, yes, the books I carried along the way they are so important to me. They were my entertainment. They were the thing I did at the end of the day that my reward I got to read, so I took some incredible books with me books that ever forget, but I also have to be practical, and so I did it and I don't know how your book is that's right, and so, as I went, I each night with tear those pages out that I in the morning I would burn them so that I didn't have to carry them. So my book that started out this thick with slowly get like this until did it feel sacrilegious as early as a mediator. Buddhist army looks really are my sacred texts. Usa, s sake. I have found some solace and the palms and stories that I've read between the pages of a work. Yes, and so I was doing Ino burning books out of a very different place than you know when we think about yet as we know they are right. Yes, there, people who don't want us
things were, I guess and I, was just being practical, so I said a little prayer of her over every book and I felt forgiven I felt for given by those writers absolutely now I know even now, even if it's not a book that particular leg, I will move from one location to the next cause. I can't throw book away so the idea, I was wondering when you first have to burn the pages of a book it with a big mom. That somebody's work their life's work on those pages. In the words I now, but I took them, I took them in my heart and you know when I got back from the trailer went bottle, bought all those books again, so I have no and myself to lighten her load on the trail share, also mailed herself boxes at key points where she pass a post office places like belt in town and crater lake. The package's were full of dried food, reading materials, fresh socks in each box, why
twenty dollar bill, gotta. Ask you. I could understand why he only said yourself: twenty hours, Well, it's not as if I had an option, that's how much money I had so you know the thing about that is, if I had really waited around until I had what what most reasonable people would think enough money for those you're moving along the trail. You're mailing before you left you'd already mail to all the checkpoints right. Yes and there'd, be twenty dollar I'd mailboxes with food and supplies in them, and I placed it dollar bill uneasy, because that's how much money I had well and but if I do wait around to have enough money for my trip. I wouldn't be able to take my turn because I didn't have any more money and so that more love that, because, if we wait for the right time right, you may never call and also, if you wait, I mean you know tell people's might really Look can think, or she didn't have enough money, but I did because I took the trip
yeah good at it. Now I didn't have enough money to be controversial. I didn't have enough, might get everything I wanted. As you Know- and this is, This has been true and many many ways I mean I wouldn't be a writer I went wild wouldn't have been written. If I waited to have enough money to write I didn't have enough money to write wild. I when you just wanted to have. A snap of lemonade. I now do you know that I we look for snap eliminated and they don't make it anymore we will only knew I know was coming out. I know that I know they start making, but I crave sample lemonade on my high and there were times that I couldn't afford. Even established lemon. I remember when you had seventy six cents and Women, gay organisations? That's right, and she said what do you have? I was in a store, and I I was sort of reach for the staff of lemonade and- and I couldn't afford it and the woman-
and the counter said we'll just how much do have an she. She, let me have it for seventy six, yeah. Yes, I remember when you had only zero dollars and two cents left you'd bought. That's right. When I finish my hike, I had zero dollars and twenty cents left. I had two dimes. The last thing I bought a giant ice cream caught at the end of my dress and then it was out of money, and but I Ok, I mean to me: I group, poor, working class and fund money was always a struggle and I thinks it that I used to resent that You know I resented being the kid at school whose parents won't pay for my college education, whose parents didn on my year abroad or what not, and I always have jobs and support myself and such but when I was on the trail, I realized that that growing up like that actually gave me such freedom, because it gives me confidence. I saw my my mom and father lived
happy life that outlined that that is the meaning you brought to this story, so it wasn't just about a high, but you were able to tie and that everything that ever happened even an you were not aware. That all g growing up without having any money not having any money, not seem so bad, that's right and then and then you can again sap acceptance, except I said I didn't have Might it be comfortable on to get everything I wanted, but so often that's when the best things are born. When we have to struggle a little bit when we have to suffer through that moment, wait for the next. So, This is halfway into your track. After you bypass the sucked in I say errors your soaking in rare bathroom, I think some one was in here. You say it was me I was here. Felt in a way I hadn't in ages. The me inside of me, ok I and my spot in the fathomless milky way. I saw myself, I felt myself.
You know in the universe, and I think so much of where I began. This journey is as I just I keep using this word. Loss I was I was, I didn't know where I was you ve been so numb didn't know where to place myself non and also you know I think to so much of this goes back to that essential, prime all need, that we all have to feel that we belong in and first a definition of how we belong is is given to us for our mother and father and I didn't have either of those people anymore. And so who was? I, where was I I was just lost and that in that milky way, and so when I felt myself located, that was the beginning of my rebirth. Am I hence a redefinition of my place in the world. It let's get to the snow, didn't expect the style. Didn't this now, but I hadn't you left your. You left her ice pick back at the dead. Yes, I did so. I was trying to picture that is the
Are you walking up an incline and their pieces of patches of snow or what so here the tree subject the zigzag? I went up and up and up and then it and then it starts it. What it does is it follows a crust right ahead of the Pacific Crest. That's the key. Rats trail, whereas ok, it's the crest of the range is that run up here, the Son of California or I should like the Sierra Nevada, so the crest of that is its not that that takes her dislike the highest kind of through line, and that's where the pc to use its high in your walk in Europe. There are looking down on everything. So when I reached this place, where I got you know up to sort of the quest for Suddenly I just see before me first, while patches of snow and then it's his snow is all snow
that's a moment where we think well, there is no gotta turn back well, it is the more were allowed. People quit- and I dont mean this in a critical Yankees disobeyed. They decided what I'm gonna come back into next year were riders, you know so that was Harry when I would find one that why would be on those slopes and that happened throughout the trip like even even after I was through the snow, no I'd suddenly round a band and there would be maybe a north face that had said. You know in the shade or something in the snow had melted and I had to even if it was you know thirty feet across. It was horrifying events, genuinely life threatening site. I know you have escaped, you kept going, no one's mother would say to do that they would come back you had a moment with a fox I Tell me about that. I had been alone. Yes in the snow, I got company. This fallen down tree and it's it's bare of snow. That's like this snowless place. I sit on it for to have a little rest and it
before I know it. I just see this this flash of red after my right and I see that it's a fire and it's in it's just you know, maybe ten feet away from me and it doesn't seem to see me but it walks by and then it stops right in front of me and turns and looks at me and just studies me just looks at me and I was startled. Do you know it's just this big that it's like you know, there's a wild animal. Looking I know, and you like, as you going to com, is a good job. I mean they attack. Me is again it yes, but I also felt what an amazing moment- and so I just I just stayed still and then I said Fox just very delicately to it and it in turn. Continue continued on its way into the woods. What happened in the end this moment- and I still can't explain it- is that is sooner- fuck started to walk away. I just started yelling mom mom, I just I wanted. I dont know why that came panel to me. I'm also manage to me when it- and I think that
and it didn't come back. It just walked away, but there is something there are some essence that I felt that my mother was there, which stands completely strange, but it was there so you're. So not strange to me. It felt like, of course, that was your mother was so ensure. Not only that, I think you mother was the whole time she was at every step. I mean even just this morning, as I was thinking about the book I go Of course. I there was led head spirit in charge seawater, yeah she's still a you feel that ideal. I do my mother always said, and it says on her tombstone, I'm always with you. Yes, because that was her. I mean your biggest source, when she knew she was going to die, was that she was leaving me and my brother and sister Anne, now that I'm a mother. I understand that that that's really the only thing. That's the only that that's the thing that would cause me the most pain. Perhaps the most harrowing and heartbreaking, seen in her book wild shall we, the loss of another beloved family member, her mother,
horse chestnut named lady other bought her when I was five, and so she was, I had her really out of my life growing up. She was just this beautiful grand Lady of a horse and my mother loved her? I always said that courses were my mother's religion. It was that's that's where she went to find her solace. That's where she felt most gathers on the back of a horse. That- would save my mother's life. My mother was a waitress at the time and she her customers have this horse. They wanted to sell him. She said she wanted to buy it and she paid them off slowly and then you worked in exchange. Board for this horse and later was the horrors that was with me my whole childhood. We learned was failing and she was failing and she was she was old and she needed to be put down. And I didn't have the money to higher that's an to use an ice her
My stepfather tat, he would take care of her. And he Didn'T- and so I found most- come coming to the house right, grow up and see she was actually really suffering. I spoke to my grandfather, my mother's father, who was a horseman, and he said you have to do. You have to do. A further down there, with me and my younger brother leaf, who were the ones to put our mothers forced down and the day after Christmas we lead, lady into the back pasture on our on our property and tied to her to a tree My brother shot her exactly where he had been instructed to right between the eyes and what have it was really the worst thing that either urban witness to, in my whole life- and that is that she didn't die, he had to shoot several times until he ran out of bullets.
He's still alive for a long time. I think we both felt that we needed to be forgiven that we ve done something wrong. And when really what we were trying to do is something right, so in some ways I feel like that that data, we shot. Lady was the day that we, both really looked at each other in the eye and knew that our mother was dead. It's the hardest thing that I've ever done and is the hardest thing. I've ever written, you know what's the worst. In my life- and I think that I think, it went ass. She went as it was meant to go. That we don't know. We don't know what that where death looks like and that it wasn't some Hollywood instantaneous Dorothea. Everything went right, and yet it was still the worst thing that I've ever done. I can say and now we are now so
but what I mean when I say that it was as it was meant to that Yes, I've had to come to a decision. I right thing to it was the right thing to do is definitely needed. Assembly is my brother, and I you know Who is our mothers horse and theirs? some there's some dignity and there was Some dignity and us been that we loved her son got an us being the people to do that. But then you later wrote and because you had dreams of it the dreams of lady I didn't have to kill anyone. I had only to accept a giant and then tactically colorful bouquet of flowers and she carried to be clinched in her soft mouth, not me with her nose until I took it and in that bring. I knew that I was forgiven, but was I was her spirit when it only my subconscious working it out. It was her spirit, it was sphere overture. That dream sometimes and it's always
same dream I have of her shoe. C4 gave us to say it was ok and not only for gave you. Thank you. She sees giving me these puts bouquet of flowers. Isn't that call answer yes or what happens to us? No, that's right. I think that those dreams were so helium to me. I thought it was so interesting that after this was. You are nearing the end of this journey and it was your mother's. Birthday and your mother would have turned fifty nine, that day and you were so angry? I was her because she you felt that she should have been there and she should have turned fifty and yes, you went down the list of all the things that she could neither heritage. Dried entered yes yeah, as you know, my mom died. I was a senior in college, twenty two. I was at that moment in my life. When developmentally what what what we're supposed to do separate from our parents in some way
and in Go Ngo and go often find our own identities in some ways part of that entails really a process of sort of condemnation. We have to come to grips with the people who raised us and you know, there's a natural part of that. That has a negative side right. We criticise our parents and and then we come around and we forgive them. Understand that their complex and all of that stuff, but when happens. My mom died written that moment and so It was suddenly like angelic. She suddenly had to be perfect because to criticise her would be in some ways. I thought to really bitch her rise in so I had to love, love love, my mother things. I did love love, love, my mother, but I think what happened on the trail honour, fiftieth birthday, birthdays I'd come far enough, that I could be angry at her and I could look at her flaws and look how she had failed me in some regards. You know minor regard see down but important enough that I needed to acknowledge them to myself. Yes,
and so, when I wrote that that there's a list in the book, and I wrote it and I thought well, there's no way this is going to be in wild because how Could I be so petty, I'm gonna, be so mean that I would write this about my beloved mother, and then I realized I smoke where one in front of you exactly see hit me with a CMU with a wooden spoon ass. She didn't I even know like I applied to one college. I didn't know you even applied to two. I got an even and you know it respect I realize sheeted, neither you now As a young woman, you hold those things against your parents anyway, but you know, but I realized you know my heart of enough is realising that your parents are human, yes and my other is human, and that means she's not perfect either, and what part of what you realize is that
in the end. Even of that day is that she did the best she could see did, which is ultimately, I think for every mother or father who's ever loved a child. Thank did the best they knew and that man set that whole adage that my Angela's taught me so well and when they know better, they do better. That's when you know better, you d better, but they did the best they could, and I have to tell you my mother did great job My mother had three little kids and no money and no support and she was really a single mother. There was no co parent, no joint custody, no grandparents taken the kids every other week and my mother was really alone and what she how she she made our lives so full of love and magic. I really do not know. I do not know You know, I think, that I just everyday thank her for what she gave me and my siblings The end of your track, three o six, you cross the Sandy River and stopped a splash your face with water and you
ass. Where was my mother? I wondered. I carried her so long staggering beneath her weight on the other side of the river. I, like myself, think and something inside of me, released. There were many releasing so where there were there, not that's the whole pain and weight of your mother. You were saying still miss her. Obviously twenty one years later, still not ok, that she's gone something released. What was that? I think it s think it was my sense that if I raised against it, if I reeled against it, that I would be able to change circumstances, which I know doesn't make any sense didn't. I knew, of course I couldn't bring my mother back, but I thought if I, if I were you, views to allow this to be true that somehow it won't be true. I'm so dont resisting die. Stop revisiting what I said. This is what it is, and this is who I am, and this is how my life's looks talking earlier about how everything leads you to the path that you're on every single thing is
we're happen in any of our lives. Has created the moment that we are experiencing right now wherever you are, and what interesting. You say that your step father Ed heading I come into your life. You may now have never done the pc t. Why. Well, he taught me how to be in the woods. He taught me. You know he was he's he's really the world's most self sufficient human paying. You know if you wanted to be surrounded with anyone anywhere, it would become because he can he can. Fire he can make food, he can make shelter, he's really one of those people who just knows how to do everything and he not me all of that. He also, more importantly, loved me. Is the only man who ever loved me like a father and even though, ultimately he couldn't keep you know he could not find keep that bond. Yes, think the line you use was he loved me when I most needed he loved me. Why must I guess that was so great was so great a requirement now
I can t I wanna try not to, but now I thought that was just. Because so often people get hung up in the story of their lives and my mother they're, my dad didn't do when they needed than I do. But what they there when you needed. He loved me when it mattered I was a child so hungry so hungry for a father here and I got one and I had him in those years when I was a young one, what you're ravenous for a while. I was rather an all out of that hunger of never getting it from your father when yeah little girl. You understand that little girls who don't get it are ravenous for it. Why they are always searching and looking in the wrong places. That's right precise moment you know in my life that I also read about it in wild. Where I talk to this outcome, mother died. A friend sent me to this astrologer and the extra who says you know we're we're here for your wound. In the place where your father, you know who it was well wounded and that's what
our fathers do if there are loaded and they don't hear that one they pass it on. In writing. While shrill says it was her intention to tell her story with love and come, ashen towards the people closer to her Then if relationships had become strained, I loved my husband, he loved me, but I was just too young and too much grief to sustain that kind of thing, and so what I did. As I said about destroying not myself, I cheated out. My husband in ways that I knew at the time were the rotten I knew was the wrong thing to do, but I couldn't really keep myself from doing just because our love was changing it. Something else we didn't want to lose it and so HOLLAND. I, when we broke up, you know which we did. Each other a lot and rio. We worked really hard, got divorced to say, friends,. How is Paul now
We actually, I was wanting to what other people thought about the book who were written in the book he's great ex husband, my ex husband emailed me couple weeks ago relay he did Suddenly. I just got this email and he said I love the book even in the gallery. I hadn't cinema galley. He loved the book. He said it made him really reflectively and understand things about both of our lives that he didn't before, and he thinks me for for writing needed for rain about him with such love and gentleness, and he said, congratulations friar success. You deserve. It wow. We see I've married a good. I married. I married I picked good men, that's what, if You know I mean I always knew he was a good man, but I didn't know how he would respond so is really touched. I was really touched
my stepfather came to my reading a few days ago in Toulouse. I haven't seen him talk to him for years and he gave me a big hug wow and he said I love you and I never stopped loving you and I was I love you well and I said I know- and I love you too. My brother loves the book here. He was we moved by it. We had the most profound conversation of our lives after he read the book. Yeah is there a part of you than here as for your mother, to be here and no about the book. Every part of me I mean what so strange as I was coming here today. I thought I wish
so the hearse gonna beat Oprah only use that that's it so amazing to shield she would absolutely die like she left here I mean I can't believe that that she doesn't get to be here for this. It's terrible it would be so beyond anything that we ever amount. Like I was also turned, think does what did my mom, even though, with the New York Times by Cyrus was like? I don't know that I knew what that was as a kid I you know, I didn't grow up in this. This culture I live in now, and I It didn't was striking thing to me about my mother is in those first years, Escher after she died. I couldn't imagine the world without my mother, I had so much trouble thinking I and how to live the rest of my life without her and now I can't, back in the world with my mother. It's like that I just can't even really why me
I've lived so far beyond her. I can imagine her in the world anymore. Who would you be? Had you not done this hike? That's such a hard question. I think you know. I think that I would I would be me I would be who I am. I would have found what I needed to find in a different way. I dont know how that would have. You know down early in my life, but I think I would cotton here. What are taken longer, it would have taken longer, it would have been by a different round, but I think I would have found myself here and I think that that goes back that original. Original sort of impulse I had really to do that's where I knew that I knew that I had lost my way and that I needed to gather myself. Who are you because you did that? I think that I think that
The thing I am in a lot of ways is born of that experience on the trail in. I feel like that. I I walk into the life I have now, nine days after my hike, I met the man who became husband, Brian, my husband. I got married and the other side of the river just across from the place where I finished my hike several years after that we had kids, and I think all of that that life that life that I have now that is so fulfilling to me. Really. I had put my I had I was like the gift I got at the end of that long struggle and I put myself in that situation on the trail. And I ve been. I walked others miles and I learned all those lessons and it was that woman who came out the other side of that who could who could have walked into this life that I am now that I have now. I think what is it you know for sure now, but I heard question
What do I know for sir? I know that we are that were good at our core and that that lucky, but love is really the only thing that matters. I know that sense. Try, but love is this. And to have everything. I think that love is the way you know it's a thing that has delivered me too places and even though sometimes it's brought me to the hardest places and I think too that we can survive. We can all survive. We can all be and what we think we can bear. And I learned that you know in a story that I write about in this book and in all the things that I've experienced in my life, feel you know when I read the when I finished the book, I thought that that whole trail, And not only just that whole trail where We are, but so fully exe breast in the magic of the trail, betrayal, magic
every day the sun set and the colours in the bird speaking and just what the wilderness does it's easier to two to connect to it, but did you feel? like you were in the bosom of God. Salute lay absolutely. I do every time, I'm in If a place you know, did you change what you believe, God to be? Did you you believe in God. I want you landed on the beach. I found it more. I see I didn't know. I was thinking like God's gonna swooped down from some euro cloud and save my mother's life, and then I realized I am, I don't even have any idea who got is or what God is, and I in I think not just on this trip through through life. You know I'm constantly seeking that still, what is god- The best answer I have like God is within you got his within me.
But what I got it is managed set made manifest when we do the work rigour to do we, when we trust that that that true, his voice inside of us, you know that one, they told me to be a writer who take the trail to let go well? You know everybody receives a different message from this book: people who lost their mothers or lost a parent or lost any love one they connect. You know on that deep level for me hikers connect, because these high gang and other people, late to it, for whatever reason, but for me although it's obviously a physical journey journey, it is so much spiritual journey, meaning seeking the deeper part of what he is did you? Did you see it that way? I know when you did it, that's not what you were doing, but do you now
is that why, when I did, when I did it, I mean what happened. I first of all, I agree with you entirely and when I as you know, I did go out. There are seeking a spirited quest, but but what I got was with physical test and I didn't understand how connected that is. To the prior to our side. To my sense, exactly I can't Betty I have this packets of wait. I cannot bear well. This is what- happening on the inside, and this is what the book is about and over and over again, the humility involved with finding water carrying your own water, carrying your on water what I'm powerful thing that is, and I think that over and over again the physical respect that you gain for water, for cleaning, actually all those things, and so that the physical round delivering this spirit to me and I think you know sometimes you can like over- is like it's like you over correcting and a car you're you're working so hard to these spiritual. Yes, and that's what I love about this, where are you
We talk a lot about it on many of our shows on own, but this is actually doing it right. You have to live it and you have to come, to that, but that part of you that its spiritual, otherwise you wouldn't have Wouldn'T- have survived that's right, yeah think about that I mean we all know this right go for a walk, go her walk and something will happen. I promise you, you know thirty minutes just go out there by yourself, don't put anything in your ears and lead whatever happens happen, you know, and it's it. What will happen is that you're going to you're going to hear that that thing inside of you, that is that, is you Yoon, oh yeah, and so eleven hundred miles of that a lot more half, Many lessons for for those we haven't done it yet, but obviously I'm going to do going to do. I can join me or I'm going to do, but what? What did the trail teach you
book, is about all of that, but if you had to sum it up acceptance, I think that that if I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be that really so often had to accept accepts the fact of the hour, the fact of the mile, the fact of the summer, the facts, my life and over and over again I found that if I could do that, everything else sort of gave way and it led me to the next step. The next thing that was going to reveal itself and I think that that is such a powerful, an important thing that We all we all suffer. We all have heartbreak. We all have difficult things and you know that's that's part of life, and that was a really profound thing for me to talk that and to come to grips with thought on the pc that that journey that summer taught
It gave me that that really grand sense of humility that I think you have to have two, to keep locking and ways both physical literal metaphorical. Well, why is so powerful about this book, and I don't even know that I think it opens people up to, not only be able to accept the thing that they most me to bear, but I think ultimately, what that leads us to is a path of opening ourselves up to love. I just feel more open. After reading Thank you. I just feel. Maybe you thank you. Thank you now to life with a capital l Thank you that way. I really find it was for all because wow
I'm over Winfrey and you ve been listening to supersede conversations the pod cast. You can follow super soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple pod, callous and subscribe rate and review of this progress join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-01-15.