Cheryl Strayed in 1995
Photo: George Burns
PAGE 4
Oprah: What did this hike teach you?

Cheryl: Acceptance. I had to accept the fact of the hour. The fact of the mile. The fact of the summer. The facts of my life. Over and over again, I found that if I could accept those difficult things, everything else sort of gave way. Each step led me to the next step, the next truth that was going to reveal itself. We all suffer. We all have heartbreak. We all have difficult things. They're part of life. Realizing that was very profound for me. The PCT gave me a really grand sense of humility, which is what you need so you can keep walking in ways both literal and metaphorical.

Oprah: Who would you be if you had not done this hike? Who are you because you did it?

Cheryl: I think I would still be me; I would have found what I needed to find, but in a different way. Still, everything I am is born of my experience on the trail. I feel like I literally walked my way into the life I have now. Nine days after my hike, I met Brian, my husband; several years later we got married and had our children. I walked all those miles, and I learned all those lessons. It's as if my new life was the gift I got at the end of a long struggle.

A Note from Oprah


I read Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Wild, on my Kindle, on my iPad—and in hardcover, too. I love this book. I want to shout it from the mountaintop. I want to shout it from the Web. In fact, I love this book so much and want to talk about it so much, I knew I had to reinvent my book club. So here's the story: We've arranged some extra features for a digital version of the book and on Oprah.com—things like special reading guides and a chance to see what my favorite passages are—and you'll have an opportunity to ask questions, too. I will also be on Facebook and Twitter (#oprahsbookclub). There are no membership fees for the club. Just bring your enthusiasm! But remember, it doesn't matter how you read this wonderful book. Just read it! I can't wait to hear what you think.

More from Oprah's Book Club 2.0

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