Book Title: Wild By Nature
Author: Sarah Marquis
Promotional Blurb:The epic story of one woman’s 16,000 kilometre, three year trek from Siberia to Australia.
Not since Cheryl Strayed’s Wild has there been such a powerful epic adventure by a woman alone.
In Wild by Nature, Sarah Marquis, a National Geographic Explorer, recounts her extraordinary solo hike that took her literally from one end of the planet to the other. Over 1000 days and nights she journeyed through six countries, starting in Siberia and finishing up at a place of special significance for her – a small tree standing alone in the vastness of the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia.
Walking for three years, Sarah overcame almost insurmountable odds to reach her final goal, surviving Mongolian thieves on horseback who harassed her tent every night for weeks, heavily armed drug smugglers in the Golden Triangle, temperatures from subzero to scorching, lethal wildlife, a dengue fever delirium in the Laos jungle, tropical ringworm in northern Thailand, dehydration and a life-threatening abscess.
Sarah’s story is an incredible record of adventure, human ingenuity, persistence and resilience that shows firsthand what it is to journey as a woman in some of the most dangerous and inhospitable regions on the planet, as well as some of the most beautiful, and what it is like to be truly alone in the wild. Source.
My Thoughts: This is not your standard ‘look-at-me-the-crazy-adventurer’ book. Yes, there is a small dose of that attitude, but it is a thoughtful and philosophical story all wrapped in inch-thick layers of dirt, sweat, and subzero temperatures.
Sounds attractive, doesn’t it?
Sarah Marquis is a capital ‘F’ Feminist and one extremely courageous woman. She has form though after previously undertaking extensive treks in the South American Andes and a 14,000km (8700miles) expedition through Australia in 2002-03.
“…I continually slip into the scenery as I have habitually done for the past three years. It’s like I have a huge tattoo, from three years of walking on my body, in my spirit, on my heart. I can’t erase it or hide it. This is how I am now.”
As she walks, Sarah is supremely conscious of the environment she is walking through and her close connection with Mother Nature. She expounds on her environmental and vegetarianism beliefs, and shares her knowledge of the flora and fauna she comes in contact with. At times her commentary becomes a little out there, but the hardship she experiences is enough to make anyone a bit delirious. Sarah is also very conscious of the lives and roles of the women she meets during the three years of her walk.
“I love these encounters where words are useless and silence reigns.”
Marquis meets the best and worst of humanity from corrupt border officials, to drug traffickers and potential rapists, to stoic nomads who offered her water when she desperately needed it. She also experiences the best and worst of Nature – relentless gale force winds as she crosses the Gobi Desert, life-threatening freezing and then boiling temperatures, and mudslides. Yep! This journey is no barrel of laughs. Thankfully her glimpses of rare red pandas, packs of wild camels and wolves balance out the hardship.
“…let’s listen to our bodies breathe, let’s take a few conscious steps per day, let’s smile, let’s spend a few minutes looking at the clouds, greet a passer-by, touch the bark of a tree. You see what I’m saying, nothing too complicated or costly. The only luxury that I see is time.”
This is not a travel book that will explain how to walk from Siberia to Australia, or how to replicate her adventure (in the unlikely event that the urge strikes you). It is more of a snapshot of select sections of various countries she attempts to traverse. In reality there is probably a potential book in each section of her walk, such is the depth of her experience.
Overall, I found her bravery and sheer determination simply astounding. I like that she is not a purist and knows to bail out when her life is genuinely at risk. I am also in awe that someone can dream up an adventure like this in the first place. How does someone have the vision to believe that this is an activity that is doable AND worth doing?
“Definition of adventure: any enterprise where the risk is considerable and the chances of success, dubious.”
An enjoyable read with a few pages of amazing photos. I gave it 7/10.
Author bio: Sarah Marquis is a Swiss national, who began adventuring in her 20s. National Geographic named Sarah an ‘Explorer of 2014’. She has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic. In solo expeditions she has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail as well as across Australia and South America. Source.
Author blog or website: https://www.sarahmarquis.com/
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Available from: Book Depository for $26.40
#travelreads #epicadventures #longdistancewalking #travelinspo #thegreatoutdoors #armchairtravel #bookreview #wildbynature #nationalgeographic #walkingingasia