Throwing a Wild Party for Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed and me in Chamonix, France.

Cheryl Strayed and me in Chamonix, France.

When the movie adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s marvelous memoir, comes out (Dec. 5 in some towns, Dec. 12 in others), I’ll throw a Wild party in her honor.

As you probably know, I spent three weeks with Cheryl last summer in the French Alps. I finished my memoir Gorge there with her and 12 of the bravest, brightest writers I ever did meet.

Here’s the thing, despite her massive success and impending movie craziness, Cheryl showed up for us every single day. I don’t just mean she was present. She was a true teacher and friend, both attentive to our work and our hearts. I left Chamonix with even more respect for her and I didn’t even think that was possible.  

That’s why it is so lovely to see her shine even brighter with the release of her movie, staring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. Cheryl is the real deal, a beautiful human spirit with so much fucking heart, love and more. I can’t wait to see this movie. I know the millions of people she has inspired feel the same way.


Now, keep in mind, this is not a chic flick. It wasn’t chic lit. It’s about the human experience. But I’m thinking, like a book club, this is film will be best enjoyed with people you adore talking to. Here’s how you can go about it:

Find a movie time and theater location that works, and then tell your friends to get tickets:

Invite your pals over for some pre-movie Snapple cocktails (try Pink Lemonade plus Strawberry Smirnoff) and Long Trail beer.

Set out some healthy [] or decadent [] and granola bars.  Or make them up into little packets for each of your friends to snack on in the theater.

If you wanted to do a bigger spread, you could go for her dream of foods on the trail:

"Cake and cheeseburgers, chocolate and bananas, apples and mixed-green salads."  

But don’t forget the Snapple, and send a toast in Cheryl’s direction, thanking her for her amazing work.


Kara Richardson Whitely is a writer, motivational public speaker about body acceptance, plus-size fitness and more.  She’s been published in Self, Runner’s World, Every Day with Rachael Ray. Her next book, Gorge, the story about her third Kilimanjaro hike as a plus-size adventurer, is due out in April 2015 and now available for pre-order.