Into the Wild

After graduating in May 1990, Christopher McCandless left his home and all of his material possession for a trip across America. He ‘literally’ burnt all of his money, left his car and lived off the road for two years and walked into Alaska in April 1992.

A lot of people criticize Christopher and lambaste the public for portraying him as a hero. They call him reckless, inconsiderate and even narcissistic.

I could write an entire book about how all these claims are utterly and fallaciously wrong.

The boy was a bright and active student. He did well in class. He read good, inspiring books. He was agile, dynamic and friendly. He even made sure he graduated before he left; hence showing awareness so as to abide by his filial duties before reaching out to his calling. How can people say he was reckless?

The boy carried no IDs, no money, no possession and craved to be off the radar. And they say he wanted ‘popularity?’ If he wanted fame, he would’ve made sure people knew where he was.

Understand, that there must be something more persuasive than ‘fame’ to lure a boy with a bright future to abandon his affluent life and walk into nothingness. There was something more than that. 

Chris McCandless

Real picture of Christopher in Alaska at an abandoned bus where he took refuge.

Even though he died around September, he still scrambled and survived Alaska for 3 months, unguided and alone. He was caught by police authorities several times, and he still managed to escape without jail only by persuasive talking.

And they say he wasn’t smart. 

They say Chris had no idea what he was doing. I say, chances are, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing. He was not some hopeless romantic who got infatuated with some book and abandoned his affluent home. He was aware that he might end up dead. He knew the risks involved. He knew that there was a price to pay.

The reason I cannot stop being utterly fascinated with Chris is that I completely understand why he did it. I cannot put it to words, but I know how he felt, what drove him to take the perilous step. What coaxed him to give everything up, to leave them all behind and willingly walk away. I understand how claustrophobic he felt among people. I understand he was mad with the world. I know he was looking for an escape. I know he wanted peace. If I had more guts and less excuses, I would do something exactly like him.

I know what it’s like to live with a mind that won’t ever shut up. 

He certainly took some wrong decisions, and there are opinions of his where I greatly disagree, but I still admire and sort of pity him. Even empathize with him. He is exactly the kind of person I could sit and talk with for hours. The people he spent time with during his escapade said that the boy could talk and talk about the things that mattered. He would listen to anything that was new to him. He had a willingness to learn. A never quenching curiosity.

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He was loved and missed by everyone he met during his travel. He made an impression on every  body. All of them said that the boy was special, that there was something unique about him.

In September 1992, his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters.

Wherever he is right now, I only hope he found the peace he was looking for.

I’ve met a lot of people in various groups who read Into the Wild and were rendered speechless. I really urge you to read it. Please. It’s going to change your perspective regarding a lot of things. And if you do manage to read it, please send me an email. I long to discuss this book with someone.

Until then.

Alexander Supertramp, in our hearts forever.

Love always,

Your blogger.

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17 thoughts on “Into the Wild

  1. YES. YES!!!! I read this book as part of a college introductory English course in college and it literally changed my life. I completely agree that the public doesn’t give Chris enough credit, and that he very well knew the risk he was taking — and had to take it.

    “The reason I cannot stop being utterly fascinated with Chris is that I completely understand why he did it. I cannot put it to words, but I know how he felt, what drove him to take the perilous step.”

    Well said. Rock on 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know, right?

      I watched the movie in 9th grade Natalie. Hadn’t read the book back then. You can imagine the kind of effect it had on the 15 year old me.

      Now, 5 years later, I’ve read the book and it has completely transformed me and helped me through a very difficult phase. I totally love Christopher and admire him so much and could possibly go to any lengths defending him against people who say he was stupid.
      I’m honestly so glad you understand how I feel about this book.

      Thank you so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve actually never seen the movie — is it worth checking out? I was always afraid that the movie would ruin the book for me.

        In part, this book was the catalyst for me quitting a bad job and pursuing things I was interested in. Reading it was a transformative process for me. I wrote my final essay for that English class on why this book was perfect — and so was Christopher. The rest of my class thought I was insane. I’m so glad to find someone else who understands! 😀 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        • I agree with you there. It is a rare case to find a movie better than a book. But in this case, even though the movie is obviously not as good as the book, they’ve done a great job describing his life. Actually, the actor has done a great job playing him. They’ve even showed the girl who had a crush on him (Kristen Stewart-not marred by twilight) that he met while he was staying with Jan Burres.

          I think it is worth a watch.

          Really? I’m so glad to read this. The book did transform you. Wow.
          I’m sort of going through a rare transformational phase myself. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling. haha 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I read about him 2 years ago and watched the movie few days ago. I think he was a little naive about the whole situation but I admire his courage to do something like that. I can relate to him in some ways as well and it’s something that I’d do no matter how stupid it looks to others.
    When I finished watching the movie I thought to myself that if I had a choice to opt out the way I die, I’d like to go out like Chris McCandless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe he was just ‘too confident’ about certain things. I try to believe that maybe he should’ve gracefully accepted the help people were willing to give him. He was way too sure that he would make it through the inhospitable and cruel Alaskan wilderness without proper gear or equipment.

      But then again, he did survive for a long time. That’s what keeps me in awe. The boy was incredibly gifted.

      I believe that no one is ever obliged to anyone on this planet. Gratitude should be there, but that you ‘owe’ your life to someone and so now you should live according to them is just nuts! (Answer to those who say he was unfair to his parents.)
      I still feel he was more in pain than in passion. He was angry. He was frustrated. He was not in good terms with his controlling father. This and many other reasons drove him to the wild.

      And yes, I completely agree with you there. If I too had an option of how I would want to die, I’d like to die like Christopher did. Majestically, spiritually fulfilled and in the laps of nature.

      Thank you for reading. And I really recommend you the book. It’s way more profound and you’ll understand Christopher better. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Like I said, he is someone with whom I can relate a lot. I grew up in an abusive environment and even to this day, not everything is fine. For me, at times, I feel like doing something just like Christopher did. He was brave but he just didn’t foresee the consequences of his actions and that’s why he ended up like that. I wouldn’t judge him because he did what he wanted to do and there is nothing wrong with that. I’d just recommend people to not try it till they’re sure that they will be able to handle it or at least be wary of the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their life but Christopher had his flaws as well and not everything about him was so great after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I read the book, but have never seen the movie. I think your last comment here sums it up for me in that he was perhaps too confident. I do admire anyone who wants to get away from it all and actually carry through with it. Its been a long time since I read the book but I remember thinking here was also a case of book smart versus practically smart. In all honesty for that reason the book really infuriated me, but as I say that was years ago when it first came out. Perhaps I would view it differently now.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I just remember being very torn by it. In my life I’ve come across people who don’t match first impressions. Shakespeare scholars who like to hunt, grizzled fishermen singing a Johnny Cash song to us in an Irish pub, that sort of thing. But something about his story never sat quite right with me I guess. I do like the notion though that Jon Kraukauer made that he wanted to be an explorer…but of course there is really nothing left on land to explore anymore, so he threw away the map to create his own. That is a beautiful concept to me. Maybe its time to re-read the book. Pretty sure I still have it at home in fact!

        Liked by 1 person

        • PS-I meant to add in my previous comments that perhaps part of the reason that I feel so strongly about this book and Christopher is that he and I graduated college in the same year. Now I never had the types of notions that he did, and my family is entirely too decent and kind for me to have felt like I needed to run away, but maybe there is something to the divergent paths we took that compels me to have my opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The boy had a lot of issues. Most of them were personal.
            Plus, he did a lot of thinking. One of my acquaintance often said that it is never right to delve into deep stuff, it can drive you mad and leave you frustrated with the world.

            I guess that was the case with him.
            At one point, he often discussed with one person he spent some time with during his travel that he simply couldn’t figure out why people were so bad to each other.

            If we look at the condition of the world right now, I guess it pretty much makes sense.

            But then again, different people view the book in a different light. But I do know he was suffering. Mentally.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Very true and well said. Even if I have my own opinions about what he did, it is ultimately unfair to make him such a polarizing figure. I don’t mean you personally, I mean all the things that have rightly and wrongly been said about him. There are probably loads of people all over the world who have done similar things yet have not had their life immortalized in a book. So like any book-fiction or non, it should make one think and reflect once the last word has been read. As you have done so well here!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. I just finished listening to the Krakauer book for the second time yesterday. Listening to it audibly makes it even more intriguing. CM was a complex person not easily defined by one or two words. Unintelligent is certainly not an adjective I would use. I can relate to him in the sense that I love hiking in the wildness and absorbing creation.

    Liked by 1 person

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