In the words of lil Wayne, “On a scale of 1 to 10, my girl be a 20.”
An American hiker who decided he wanted to live a simple life, and so he gave up the life he had and ventured off into the Alaskan wilderness(without even as much as a compass). Four months later his dead body was found, weighing only 67 lbs.
The cause of death was starvation, but after recent studies have speculated that, poisoning from Hedysarum alpinum seeds may have been a factor in his death.
Into the Wild is based off his story.
22 Years ago today, this man’s life perished.
I never met him, I never knew him, but this man has completely changed the way I look at the world, and I thank him every day for that.
Inadvertently, he taught me how to look past societies unkind growth, and focus on the real beauty of this world.
Thank you Mr. Chris McCandless for changing my life for the better.
Rest in paradise Supertramp.
February 12, 1968 - August 18, 1992
Over the summer I had the pleasure of going on a road trip to LA, and the entire way there, my friends and I would discuss Chris McCandless to great extent. I had only seen the movie at the time, so was sure if my views were accurate.
We stopped in Slab City and visited Salvation Mountain, and even went to a concert at the Range, just like Alex does in the movie. After the concert was over, I struck up a conversation with Builder Bill, who built The Range. We ended up discussing Chris and I learned that when he passed through Slab City, the Range didn’t exist. This upset me because I was now questioning the rest of the film. What else had Sean Penn added to make it more cinematic?
As soon as I returned home, I started reading. What a lovely read. Props to Jon Krakauer. You are an artist with words.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Range was the only part that was purely made up. I was worried about some of Chris’s internal dialogue in Alaska being made up, but I was baffled when I found that not only had the movie followed the actual events very closely, but that it even stayed true to the narrative structure of the book, one of my fathers biggest problems with the film.
Before reading the book, I would often tell people that I want to be like Chrostopher McCandless, “minus the whole dying part.” And I usually get strange reactions and no one understands my thought process. I’m happy to say that my statement holds true now, even after reading it.
I just find him so fascinating and inspiring. His courage and enthusiasm for what he does is incredible. To donate $25,000, burn everything else and just start completely over has always intrigued me, but I don’t have the balls to do it. I have even found myself on rare occasion wishing that I didn’t have such amazing parents. Wishing that they were more like Walt and Billie, that way I would have an excuse to do what Chris did. After reading, I don’t think I will ever think this again.
Many people say they don’t like the movie as much as they do they book. I disagree. I think the movie is fantastic. It’s the only film that can make me cry every time I watch it. Every time Chris says, “can we talk about it when I get back from Alaska?” to Ron Franz.
The book didn’t make me cry. I actually feel more enlightened after reading. It definitely gives more insight into Chris’s mind in a way that film can’t do without being ridiculed. But I felt more fulfilled reading the passages about Chris’s resolutions at the end of his life. About how those who die from starvation are in more of a euphoric state when they actually go. To know how strong willed he was and how much he loved life is inspiring.
Part of me wishes that he could have made it out of the bush. That way I could talk to him, pick his brain. But if he was still alive today, I probably wouldn’t have known about him. As sad as it is, this is one of those things that can’t be changed, just as Billie McCandless suggests. I don’t want to say that the world is better of because of Chris’s death. That’s not true.
I’m simply more inspired to live my life to the fullest and in a manner that Chris did. Yes he had his flaws but we all do. There is something to be said about his courage and will for happiness. And I think everyone can learn from that example that Chris created with his life.
A solitary fisherman’s home keeps watch on quiet Placentia Bay in Newfoundland, Canada, 1974.Photograph by Sam Abell, National Geographic Creative