Author(s): Claire Nelson
An inspirational and gripping first-person account of determination, adversity and survival against the odds. Last year, Claire Nelson made international headlines. She was in her thirties and was beginning to burn out - her hectic London life of work and social activity and striving to do more and do better in the big city was frenetic and stressful. Although she was surrounded by people all of the time, she felt increasingly lonely. When the anxiety she felt finally brought her to breaking point, Claire decided to take some time off and travelled to Joshua Tree Park in California to hike and clear her head. What happened next was something she could never have anticipated. While hiking, Claire fell 30 feet, gravely injuring herself and she lay alone in the desert - mistakenly miles off any trail, without a cell phone signal, fighting for her life. She lay there for four days until she was miraculously rescued - the doctors saying she had only hours to live when she was eventually found. In THINGS I LEARNED FROM FALLING Claire tells her incredible story and what it taught her about loneliness, anxiety and transformation and how to survive it all.
I remember in 2018 reading a news item about a young kiwi woman rescued after falling in Joshua Tree National Park, California. At the time I thought that there was nothing especially unusual about this story, hikers are rescued from trails all the time. The woman was Claire Nelson, on holiday from London and house sitting for her friends who lived on the edge of the park. The desert, a combination of rugged beauty and extreme climates is of course not the kind of place you want to find yourself stranded. It wasn’t until I read Claire’s account of exactly what happened that I came to realise I had completely underestimated what it means to survive. Her survival relied on a series of, what can only be described as, miracles. As the reader discovers, surviving is just the beginning.
Things I Learned from Falling is a vivid account of Claire’s experience in the desert, stuck on her back , a pelvis shattered to smithereens and a dwindling water supply. Fear and a sense of the inevitable began to dominate her thoughts, but her determination won through as well as a resolve to change her life if she survived. A highly relatable read scattered with deeply personal realisations. Even though I knew how the journey ended it did not make the book any less engaging. Claire is a talented and articulate writer. Once finished reading I was left asking what happened next, I wanted the journey to continue and I wanted more from Claire’s life. Gaby