Suffering in the wild

WildThere’s this idea that travel is for fun; a hedonistic activity to be enjoyed.


Some journeys are filled with sacrifice, pain and spiritual awakenings. We get sick. We get lonely. We get lost.

I went to see the film Wild based on the book by Cheryl Strayed.

It’s an autobiographical story about how Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) after her mother’s death and subsequent divorce.

Cheryl walked to try and regain her sense of self after a deep trauma. She was dabbling in unsafe sex and drugs and knew she had to do something drastic; something like walk 1000 miles from the Mexican border to the Canadian border up the west coast of America.

She hiked until her toenails fell off. She ate cold oatmeal mush. She drank water out of puddles, slept in snow and narrowly avoided being raped by a redneck hunter.

This journey had nothing to do with pleasure and everything to do with a deep spiritual need.

In these days of commodification, ease and package everything, it’s easy to forget that travel used to be about seeking something, exploring something, discovering something; not only in the world but in yourself.

Remember that next time you go somewhere. Are you going on a holiday or are you going on a journey. They might just be different things entirely.

Have you ever been on a trip that woke you up? Care to share?




2 comments on “Suffering in the wild

  1. Thanks for the movie rec, can’t wait to watch!

    Early last year I went on a business trip that turned into an 18month travel ‘vacation’ (read between the lines…). At the start I felt like I was running away, but the great thing about traveling – for me at least – is that you can realign with what is truly important, and feel grateful for what you have. The best benefits are always what you discover about yourself, the experiences and friends you make along the way are a happy side effect!

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