I just finished reading “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. I had seen the film directed by Sean Penn, but as usual, the book was much better. It’s a true story about Christopher McCandless (AKA Alexander Supertramp), a recent college graduate that disappeared the summer after graduation to pursue his dreams of traveling the West. McCandless travels for about two years before he finally makes it up north to the Stampede Trail in Alaska. Spoiler alert: he never leaves the wild and is found in an abandoned bus in the middle of the trail two weeks too late. The various probable causes of his death are discussed, and the book is mainly based off of people that he touched on his journey into the wild and the various journals and belongings he left behind.
I feel a strange connection to McCandless. It was not long ago that I graduated from college, and I remember being overwhelmed with the “real world.” Instead of pursuing a boring desk job or law school like his parents wanted him to do, Chris pursued LIFE. A follower of London, Tolstoy, and Thoreau, McCandless was a believer in living a simple life and beauty found in nature. Consumed by wanderlust, Chris searched for a purpose through personal relationships, the wilderness, and eventually, within himself as he died alone. Some criticize him for being ill-prepared and naive, but I was so inspired by his passion to find independent happiness by exploring his curiosities and traveling the world.
Although I did feel compelled to grab my non-existent tent and traveling backpack and head into the bush, I don’t think that’s the point of this story. One doesn’t need to be an outdoorsman to appreciate the character and desires of McCandless. I think we all have our own “wild.” For Chris, it was literally that, but maybe the “wild” is something different for everyone. Maybe it’s med school, maybe it’s a boring desk job, or maybe it’s just making a difference in the world. I think we all have innate desires and goals that we know we have to and can accomplish. Reading “Into the Wild” was a reminder to me that I must pursue my passions daily, to never take a day for granted, and to remember:
Happiness Only Real When Shared.
Whats your “wild?”