Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir

When I was younger, I was a pretty daring child, and grew up in a place where pushing the boundaries in the outdoors was not only tolerated, but celebrated. With trips to Joshua Tree and other desert or mountain locations, our parents often encouraged us to scamper around boulders, hike steep trails, hop from rock to rock across streams. As I got older and took on more responsibilities, my risk-taking subsided. While I still love being outdoors, I now weigh the risks more carefully and sometimes hold our kids back from trying things, much to my chagrin.

While living in Virginia, I took a basic rock climbing course and did some indoor climbing and bouldering, loved it, and see the same excitement in my kids when they get the opportunity. One of their favorite outings as a family is to head to Starved Rock State Park for long hikes. Over the years, I’ve fantasized about skydiving and BASE-jumping, but the risks seem a bit high. One day…

Learning to Fly book cover

I was recently sent a review copy of Steph Davis’ Learning to Fly (New York, NY: Touchstone, 2013) and her story fascinated me as someone who didn’t take the safe(r) route through life. Steph Davis is a world-renowned climber, skydiver, and BASE jumper. In addition to her blog on veganism, animal rights, and simple living at HighInfatuation.com, she has written for Climbing and Rock and Ice. Her first book, High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity, was published in 2007. She lives in Moab, Utah. When her husband made a controversial climb, the media fallout—and the toll it took on her marriage—suddenly left Davis without a partner, a career, a source of income…or a purpose.

“Rather than using my energy fighting [change], 
I could embrace it and use that energy to fly.”

Really an inspiring book, not only to get oneself outdoors, but to realize that, even with the loss of absolutely everything that seems important, it’s not only possible but imperative to move forward and continue to enjoy life. Deftly written with Davis’ outward journey mirroring the journey within. Definitely a book to add to your reading list.

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5 thoughts on “Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir

  1. Sounds like a great book!

    I've never been particularly daring, and I'm regularly frustrated by the ways I let fear hold me back. I try not to be like that with my kids, but there've definitely been times when I had to just close my eyes and trust my husband when he had them doing something that scared me.

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