I’ve been quiet for a few months on this blog. This has been partly an intentional break and partly because I’ve struggled to find the right words to articulate the reasons behind my hiatus. However, if there are any words that can best describe the tumultuous swinging between wanderlust and a craving for home that I’ve been feeling, they can be found in quotes from Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
Ironically, I read Strayed’s travel memoir in my hometown, rather than on the road. Yet, in six months of hibernation back on British soil, I found that I couldn’t concentrate on reading Wild when I was sitting still. Instead, I turned the pages on trains and buses.
It was as if I needed to be in transit for the journey to resonate.
It seems apt that now that I’ve left home once again for the next adventure (more on this to come), that the time is ripe to share some of my favourite passages and quotes from Wild on this blog.
If you haven’t already, you should read this book (and you’re very welcome to borrow my dog-eared copy), or you can buy it on Amazon here: Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found (affiliate link).
Wild is beautifully written and a painfully relatable story about journeys, both internal and physical; the classic quest for redemption; and the bravery in perseverance.
Here are just few of my favourite quotes from Wild:
“In the years before I pitched my boot over the edge of that mountain, I’d been pitching myself over the edge too. I’d ranged and roamed and railed – from Minnesota to New York to Oregon and all across the West – until at last I found myself, bootless, in the summer of 1995, not so much loose in the world as bound to it.”
“It was a world I’d never been to and yet had known was there all along, one I’d staggered to in sorrow and confusion and fear and hope. A world I thought would both make me into the woman I knew I could become and turn me into the girl I’d once been.”
“It was an idea, vague and outlandish, full of promise and mystery.”
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”
“I was not meant to be this way, to live this way, to fail so darkly.”
“I had diverged, digressed, wandered, and become wild. I didn’t embrace the word as my new name because it defined negative aspects of my circumstances or life, but because even in my darkest days – those very days in which I was naming myself – I saw the power of the darkness. Saw that, in fact, I had strayed and that I was a stray and that from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn’t have known before.”
“As close as we’d been when we were together, we were closer in our unraveling, telling each other everything at last, words that seemed to us might never have been spoken between two human beings before, so deep we went, saying everything that was beautiful and ugly and true.”
“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.”
“Of all the things I’d done in my life, of all the versions of myself I’d lived out, there was one that had never changed: I was a writer. Someday, I intended to write a novel of my own.”
“I will never go home, I thought with a finality that made me catch my breath.”
“I didn’t need to see Oregon, I could feel it, huge before me. I would walk its entire length if I made it all the way to the Bridge of the Gods. Who would I be if I did? Who would I be if I didn’t?”
“What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
“Before I left, I hadn’t calculated how much money my journey would reasonably be expected to cost and saved up that amount plus enough to be my cushion against unexpected expenses. If I done that, I wouldn’t have been here, eight-some days out on the PCT, broke, but okay – getting to do what I wanted to do even thought a reasonable person would have said I couldn’t afford to do it.”
“I read a line from a dozen or so of the poems, each of them so familiar they gave me a strange sort of comfort. I’d chanted those lines silently through the days while I hiked. Often, I didn’t know exactly what they meant, yet there was another way in which I knew their meaning entirely, as if it were all before me and yet out of my grasp, their meaning like a fish just beneath the surface of the water that I tried to catch with my bare hands – so close and present and belonging to me – until I reached for it and it flashed away.”
“It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn’t have to know. That is was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was, like all those lines from The Dream of a Common Language that had run through my nights and days. To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”
I hope you feel as inspired as I do after reading some of these quotes from Wild. If you’d like to read the whole book (and why haven’t you already?!), then you can pretty much find it in any book shop, or you can help me out by purchasing a copy through the Amazon affiliate link below.
Please pin or share your favourite quotes using the images above, and let me know your favourite quotes from Wild (in case I’ve missed any), and your recommendations of what books I should be reading next, in the comments below.
Note: This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a (really) small amount of commission if you make a purchase using this link, should you choose to. I’m only choosing to do this to try and grow this site, so I can eventually write full-time. Affiliate links in no way affect the genuine opinions I have stated above.