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Here’s the Wild Idea

Cheryl’s Wild Idea: To share her story of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, encourage others to get outside, share their stories, and embrace kindness.

Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild about her trek along the Pacific Crest Trail. The book was adapted into an Oscar-nominated movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.

In addition to writing Wild, Cheryl also wrote the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, as well as her first novel, Torch. She is the co-host of Dear Sugar, an advice column turned WBUR podcast, and a true force of nature.

On this episode, we talk about hiking, how to choose your best adventure, how to make better decisions about what to do with your life, the party she’d throw, and so much more. I have wanted to interview Cheryl since I read her first book, so this was a real treat. I hope you enjoy this show. *Please note, we are taking next week off, which is important for living wildly.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You love Cheryl Strayed.
  • You want to go on a big adventure.
  • You’ve ever thought about being a writer of any kind.
  • You love hiking.
  • You think the world needs more kindness.

Key Takeaways

  • 1:45 – How hiking fits into Cheryl’s life today.
  • 3:55 – Where Cheryl loves to hike.
  • 5:25 – How Cheryl feels about all the people hiking the PCT.
  • 7:20 – How times have changed since Cheryl hiked the PCT in the 90s.
  • 10:20 – Why if you have an impulse to do something big, you should just do it.
  • 12:30 – How Cheryl makes her pros/cons lists.
  • 14:30 – What books Cheryl recommends.
  • 16:50 – The other adventures that are on Cheryl’s bucket list.
  • 19:40 – Cheryl’s relationship with health and exercise.
  • 21:40 – How she balances time for herself and her family and her professional life.
  • 24:55 – People have really embraced her advice to write like a mother f*****.
  • 26:15 – What advice people are asking for these days.
  • 28:20 – Cheryl’s advice on how to start.
  • 30:20 – What the process of writing Wild was like.
  • 32:10 – How Cheryl learned her own writing process.
  • 34:15 – Where to put your work into the world.
  • 36:10 – Cheryl’s take on recent youth activism.
  • 38:30 – How Cheryl responds when people ask her for advice.
  • 40:50 – How to be a better listener.
  • 43:20 – What Cheryl looks for in mentors.
  • 44:25 – The things that make Oprah amazing.
  • 46:50 – Balancing a writer’s life, which can be introverted, and living a public life.
  • 50:00 – Why negativity is not interesting!
  • 51:15 – What advice Cheryl would give to her 20-year-old self.
  • 52:40 – What Cheryl’s dream party is like.
  • 54:50 – Keep walking.

Cheryl’s Books

Tiny Beautiful Things
Brave Enough

Awesome books Cheryl recommends

My Journey to Lasa by Alexandra David Neil
Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt
Tracks by Robin Davidson
Walk in the Gobi by Helen Thayer


Forest Park
Aspen Matis’ book, Girl in the Woods
Best American Travel Writing
Dear Sugar Podcast

Connect with Cheryl




Wild Ideas Worth Living on Facebook
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Instagram
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Twitter