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.
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.
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.
Alexander Supertramp, in our hearts forever.