The Wild Trend: Is Finding Yourself the New It Thing?

According to the New York Times, the Pacific Crest Trail – a 2,650-mile-long hiking trail which winds its way from Mexico to Canada – has seen “a record number of long-distance hikers this year.” It is no coincidence, the Times continues, that this peak follows the publication of (and obsession with) Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailIn fact, they call it “The Wild Effect.”

I prefer to call it, simply, “The Finding-Yourself Effect.” The concept of making an escape to find yourself is hot in the world of memoirs. And I, too, am guilty of getting swept away in the romance. But unlike Strayed, who lost her mother and fell deep into drugs, I’m not reeling from catastrophe. Nor am I stuck in a post-divorce rut, à la 2006's source of inspiration – Eat, Pray, Love's Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m a twentysomething with a good job living in a city that I fall in love with more and more each day.

My father, born in a matchbox of an apartment in the Bronx in the 40s, never would have dreamed of such a thing. The idea of finding yourself – so thrilling to today’s pseudo-intellectual hipsters and hopeless romantics – was a luxury. When I think of him, the idea of finding myself suddenly feels selfish.

So for now, I think, I’ll wait this hype out, stick to finding myself… a coffee… and get back to work. There is a time and place for every big adventure. And today, no matter the memoir du jour, is not one of them.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

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