At age 26, a woman named Cheryl Strayed set out on a journey. With no experience or training, she began to hike more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert to Washington State. Walking alone, she experienced hunger and thirst, loneliness and companionship, terror and pleasure.
As she started out, she made a very important decision — no fear. “I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me,” she realized, “my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so 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. Nothing could vanquish me.”
Her journey was dangerous, but she refused to let fear get the upper hand. She wouldn’t accept that she was weak and cowardly. Instead, she told herself the story that she was strong and brave. And so she was.
After completing this long and grueling hike, she wrote the book Wild, which was later turned into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Looking back, Cheryl Strayed wrote that her life was “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.”