We finally watched the movie Wild.

The inspiring aspect of the movie: I connected with the idea of going for a long walk, an adventure, and the outdoors to create a better life. I have never seen my hiking trips as a means of getting away from something but instead, they have always felt like a way to get somewhere new, mentally more than physically. A defining feature of long distance hiking for me has been the sense of living a significantly different life from the normal existence I know in 21st century USA. The experience of shifting priorities and shifting focuses has always been fruitful for me and the trail life epitomizes this major shift. I get that in this film and am thankful to have this idea resurfacing in my life with new baby on the way.

We have been admittedly hesitant to see this movie, and we have never read the book. There was an initial jealousy and competitiveness. That soon passed as we did some honest self-evaluation of our actual writing abilities. We then attacked the storyline, unjustly of course, considering we hadn’t read it. The idea of celebrating a person’s overcoming of challenges is a good storyline, no doubt, but I didn’t relate with her struggles and I didn’t feel a sense of empathy because they were not at all relatable to my life. Presently, I’m at peace with the movie. Our books were fun to write, we’re proud to share them. They’re not Oprah books. Strayed’s struggles are real and people do relate to them.

I’m glad I finally saw the movie. While the main storyline didn’t hook me, the simple idea of making a major change when things aren’t what I want in life is a valuable thought. My big caveat to this idea is that I’m not cool with the carnage that is left along the way in terms of people and relationships as a result of following this idea fully. I think there is a balance that can be struck when change is required that doesn’t need to be unjust or incongruent with past commitments. However, I think it’s very easy to become complacent, to become stuck in the status quo, afraid to make mistakes and afraid of change. To that I say, Go hike a trail! Sail around the world! Move to Africa or some other place vastly different from your current life. Your life will be viewed from a new vantage point and things you could never imagine will be created in your mind that you could never plan for. That is a major benefit of adventuring: change. Wild is a good reminder of that.

Resse Witherspoon was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress (2015).


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