Embrace adventures both big and small and pursue your wild ideas with this “profoundly inspiring and laugh-out-loud funny” (Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project) guidebook from seasoned adventurer and podcaster Shelby Stranger.
Will to Wild is an instruction manual to adventure. Your guide: enthusiastic outdoorswoman Shelby Stranger. Shelby has been teaching folks how to leap into the unknown since she taught her first surf class over twenty years ago. Over the years, she watched many of her students quit their jobs, end dysfunctional relationships, and move across the country for a healthier work-life balance—all after spending a bit of time in nature. Shelby marveled at the phenomenon. Being outside was changing the lives of her students, her peers, and herself. Shelby was so intrigued, she began to tell their stories, first as a writer and journalist, then as a podcast host for Wild Ideas Worth Living, REI Co-op Studio’s flagship podcast.
With her first book, Will to Wild, Shelby shares all she’s witnessed and learned in her years covering adventurers. It’s the book she wishes she’d had when she’d first felt the urge to leap from familiar to wild terrain. The one that takes you step-by-step from the first inkling of inspiration for your own wild idea through fear and self-doubt and on to the finish line.
In these pages, discover stories with practical tips and tactics from world-famous rock climbers and ultra-runners to longtime thru-hikers, surfers, and desk jockeys who’ve figured out how to get off the clock, and even a suburban mom who started teaching women to scale frozen waterfalls in her mid-fifties. Along with Shelby’s stories, they show you how to get unstuck, how to pay attention to “trail signs” that point you toward your adventure, how to face your fears, and what to do when everything goes haywire (which will likely never happen, never fear!). With Shelby’s characteristic strength and vulnerability, Will to Wild “is the ultimate guide for anyone looking to try something new” (Captain Liz Clark, author of Swell) and encourages you to break out of your comfort zones, get out into nature, and bring your own wild ideas to life. Whether you’re already an adventure junkie or someone who’s never set up a tent, there’s something inside these pages for you.
About the Author
Shelby Stanger is the host and creator of the hit podcast, Wild Ideas Worth Living, an REI Co-Op Studios production. Over the years, her work has appeared everywhere from Outside Magazine to ESPN, and she has spoken to organizations like The Girl Scouts of America, NPR, and Creative Mornings. Always chasing adventure herself, Shelby has surfed from Canada to Costa Rica; sand-boarded down desolate dunes in Cape Town; paddled down a remote portion of the Amazon River (so many bug bites); and interviewed countless CEOs, athletes, activists, and thought leaders. She regularly consults with highly motivated individuals and brands to tell better stories and even launch their own podcasts and wild ideas. You can find more at ShelbyStanger.com.
“The outdoors has a transformative power that all of us can tap into. Shelby Stanger has shared that as creator and host of REI Co-op’s “Wild Ideas Worth Living” podcast, reaching millions of listeners and REI members. In Will to Wild, Shelby blends her own uplifting, personal stories with some amazing guest voices to show how the best version of ourselves is right outside.” – Eric Artz, REI Co-op president and CEO
“Drawing on anecdotes from thrill seekers who skied to the South Pole and summited Kilimanjaro, Stanger weaves a buoyant mix of inspiration, personal experience, and nuts and bolts tips…Those looking to break in their hiking boots will want to pick this up.” —Publishers Weekly
“A rollicking operating manual for navigating modern malaise.” - James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
Whether your "call to the wild" is a solo hike, a new hobby, a career change, or a radical overhaul of your whole life, Will to Wild will help you spot the signs, show you what is possible, and give you the confidence to take the first step. —Melissa Urban, New York Times best-selling author, The Book of Boundaries and Co-Founder/CEO Whole 30
"A priestess of adventure for our times, Shelby Stanger inspires us by curation, example, and her generous good sense. This book may very well change your life." —Florence Williams, author, The Nature Fix and Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey
"Shelby Stanger's signature optimism, curiosity, and joy shine brightly in this inspiringly adventurous book—a great trail map for inviting more wild into your life, or just taking the first step." —Mary Turner, Deputy Editor at Outside magazine
"True story: I’ve written more books (5) than blurbs (4). I almost always refuse because c’mon, when’s the last time you read a blurb you actually believed? You can tell it’s mostly friends blowing smoke for friends. That’s why I only blurb if I read the entire book and believe the writer has something special to say and the chops to say it — and it’s why WILL TO WILD just evened the score at five all. Shelby Stanger isn’t a motivational speaker; she’s a motivational listener. She’s interviewed scores of people over the years who’ve cracked the code for turning their dreams into their day jobs, and she lays out her discoveries in a book that’s beyond inspirational: it's instructional. Stanger digs into the tough how-tos, first by sharing stories of all kinds of everyday folks who’ve broken free and "gone wild," and then detailing how you can follow in their footsteps. She tells you how to finance your wild dream; why it may radically change your personal life and even romances; and what to do “When it all goes haywire,” as she puts it, and you hit that “Oh F— moment.” This is the first book that ever made me stop reading, walk out the door, and try one of Stanger’s tips (singing in the face of anxiety). And guess what? It works. Shelby Stanger knows her stuff." —Christopher McDougall, bestselling author of Born to Run and reluctant blurber.
"Will to Wild is just as captivating as informative for anyone who has ever dreamed of taking that leap outside their comfort zone. An intimate memoir written in a candid, playful, and illuminating style, you will feel compelled to search your will to wild. Had I known of this book, it would have saved me years of doubt and research. So grateful it is available for you all to read!" —Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, Explorer and Author of In The Shadow of The Mountain
"Beautiful, profoundly inspiring, and laugh-out-loud funny, Will to Wild feels like being on an awesome outdoor adventure with your best friends. After every chapter, you find yourself planning a new adventure." -Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project and Saltwater Buddha
"Will to Wild is the ultimate guide for anyone looking to try something new and have more nature in their lives. Shelby makes it fun and relatable—skillfully weaving practical tips, effective advice, hilarious stories, inspiring examples, and heartfelt encouragement into a clear step by step format that will make you feel supported as you take the leap into whatever endeavor is calling you." — Captain Liz Clark, Author of Swell: A Sailing Surfer's Journey of Awakening