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A Walk in the Woods … and a lesson for living

“Writers don’t die. They either drink themselves to death or blow their brains out.”

A Walk

On Monday, we decided to celebrate Labor Day the lazy way by seeing a movie with my dad rather than have our usual cookout seeing as how my boys are back in college, it was hot, and I was pooped from running 18 miles on the day before.

My choice? Inside Out. Still haven’t seen it.

Dad’s choice? A Walk in the Woods. I had heard about this from a family friend who had walked the entire Appalachian Trail last year … by himself, in his sixties, #badass … so sure, Robert Redford sounded good. Bob, however, is still mentally scarred from the time he suffered through Gods and Generals with us, so he opted for Transporter Refueled. (He was a bit bummed to discover Jason Statham wasn’t in it, though.)

Anyway, here’s the official write up from the A Walk in the Woods website:

In this new comedy adventure, celebrated travel writer, Bill Bryson (Academy Award winner Robert Redford), instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and beautiful wife (Academy Award winner Emma Thompson), and large and happy family, challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail – 2,200 miles of America’s most unspoiled, spectacular and rugged countryside from Georgia to Maine. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find, though, is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by the only person he can find willing to join him on the trek – his long lost and former friend Katz (Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte), a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who, after a lifetime of relying on his charm and wits to keep one step ahead of the law – sees the trip as a way to sneak out of paying some debts and sneak into one last adventure before its too late. The trouble is, the two have a completely different definition of the word, “adventure”. Now they’re about to find out that when you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins.

A Walk BookIt’s based on the book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, and apparently, Robert Redford pursued this being made into a movie for ten years.

So glad he did.

While the movie did lack major conflict, (other than a bear scene that placed my brief huh, maybe I’ll hike the Appalachian notion in the Ain’t-No-Freaking-Way file,) and there could have been more about their survival, i.e. food, water, etc., I loved this movie. The scenery, as expected, was gorgeous, as was the rekindled friendship between the main characters. And since my brother, an Eagle Scout, has hiked many portions of the Appalachians several times, it was great getting a peek into a major part of his life.

I also have an incredible respect for those who dare to do the impossible, who set high, crazy goals that are regarded as sure failures to others but pursue them anyway. Seeing Bill Bryson make those first steps onto the Appalachian despite all the negative warnings heaped upon him made me think about my own life. How I want to do more. Be more. Read more. Write more. Watch more movies with my dad. Have more lunches with my mom. Go on hikes with my brother … day hikes, that is, (this gal needs beauty products and refrigeration.) Enjoy more nature.

At times, my mind drifted, thinking of ways to accomplish this. Like, what about starting a Monday Movies tradition, where Dad and I go to the movies, seeing ones Bob isn’t very interested in? What if I made a list of nature trails in my own hometown to explore? After all, there are so many gorgeous Maryland trails to see. What if I also brought along my laptop for some peaceful writing time?

A Walk in the Woods inspired me. To me, that’s a sign of a great movie.

And Bill Bryson’s Writers Don’t Die line? Hilarious!

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