I recently watched a film based on a true story released in 2014, starring Reece Witherspoon who hikes the Pacific Coast trail over 90 days. I avoided watching it for some time mainly because I’m not interested in the traditional media view of women travelling alone but I was nicely surprised and relieved that the film didn’t take this approach.
The story follows a young woman who’s lost her path in life and walks herself back to the woman she used be. I particularly like how the story focuses on the here and now with the occasional flash back of her old life followed by the many realisations that she’s come to whilst on the trail.
There were many parts in Wild where I thought yup I can identify with that. For instance, at the beginning where she’s putting her pack together – it’s so big she can’t physically lift or stand up with it. Her hiking pack contains everything but the kitchen sink (been there) and later on meets a more experienced hiker who helps her to realise that her ‘essentials’ are not essential.
Another scene shows her guzzling her water because she’s been told there’s a water tank not so far away, yet when she finds it, it’s empty (again been there). Comments on her personal hygiene, sexual attitudes and her view on how she’s always offered help and support and her encounters with late night hitch hiking and people whom she meets along the way, really gives your brain some food for thought.
Like I say this film doesn’t have the traditional women aren’t safe traveling alone attitudes. It does cover a few ‘what if’ moments which see her safe and sound and I liked this. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of being surrounded by travelling types, some women, some men, who in their experience believe that the world is kind and a safe place.
I’ve tended to come to the same conclusion, always meeting kind people who’ve looked after me. Some would call it idealistic or naive even. I tend to think that everyone has their own view and encounter of the world and mine works for me and many others who choose to believe it too. That’s not to say we put ourselves in dangerous situations or are carefree. We just don’t tend to adopt ‘everyone is dangerous until proven otherwise’ like the media and old school beliefs and traditions would have us believe.
It’s been my experience that I get what I focus on mostly whether that is good or bad – it’s up to me. Too many live the block buster and fright night mentality and go to town on the few serious incidents that happen throughout the world and don’t get me wrong, of course they should be noted and used to help us prepare for our safety. Yet I don’t think they should be used to control or frighten us – I feel it’s propaganda, sensationalised and there to hold us back.
Yes I really liked Wild and whilst I can’t identify with the main character’s past, I can identify the need for change. I guess my only dislike about this story would be that not all of us go out adventuring because we’re trying to escape or become a new person. Some of us go out because it’s in our DNA, we feel stifled if we don’t and to be in the same place between 4 walls and under one roof means that we’re missing out on what mother- nature has to offer us; abundance, beauty and freedom.
Wild is definitely up there with my favourite film Eat, Prey, Love. If you watch it, don’t expect tense dramatic scenes with action packed adventures. Instead expect a slow, self -reflective journey with some comical but true moments.It may even inspire you to take that adventure that you’ve wanted to do for a while.
What did you think of Wild?