into the wild, quotes, and movie image

„Into the wild“ by Jon Krakauer will definitely always be one of my favorite books. It was released in 1996 and tells the real story of a young man called Christopher Johnson McCandless, or how he later called himself ‘Alexander Supertramp’. But let’s start from the beginning.

Temporarily removed

Christopher McCandless was born in 1968 El Segundo, California where he spent his childhood. When he was 8 years old he moved to Annandale, Virginia with his parents and his sister Carine. Chris’ father had another 6 children from his first marriage; they didn’t have a lot of contact to them. These kind of relationship with his father’s first family already changed Christopher’s view at the world when he was just a child. The book often reveres to his father’s mistakes and shows how much all these troubles shaped the young boy.

Chris graduated from High school and University with top grades, which of course promised a bright future ahead of him. But he had other plans than following society’s norms.
As soon as he bought his first car he was on the road as often as possible. For him, there was nothing like tramping through the country, probably to escape reality for a while.
His trips weren’t the only thing that gave him the opportunity for a break from time to time. He was a reader and spent most of his time fantasying about Jack London’s works about Alaska and its wild nature.

Temporarily removed

As he finished his education, he gave all his savings to charity, sold his apartment and left, without telling anybody. Only a few weeks later his parents realized that something was wrong, as they got back all their letters they wrote to him.
When they wanted to visit them in the end of summer 1990, they were told that Christopher sold his flat and left. Nobody heard of him since that day.
To that time, Christopher already started the road trip of his life. It was a journey to live the lifestyle he loved and he found himself in a way he’d never thought was possible.
The author made a great job to re-write his history, find every little detail about his life and managed to actually understand his life decisions, to spread it with the world.

Alexander Supertramp (or Christopher McCandless) tramped through the USA without a car, with barley any money and with no ID or any other documents. He worked sometimes, for restaurants or on farms, but always called himself ‘Alex’, not ‘Chris’.
After two years of traveling the country and meeting new people he prepared himself and left for his ultimate adventure. His biggest dream was Alaska and in April 1992 he finally reached it.
To understand this personality and his story better, I really recommend the book by Jon Krakauer. Like already mentioned, he really managed to discover the whole story of Alexander in every detail and made a great job writing it down. If you’re not really into books you can also watch the movie. It was released in 2007 and is based on the book; you can watch it on Netflix.

book and into the wild image

Now I want to use the opportunity to tell you what I think about the main topic of the book, dropouts and hitchhikers. I want to tell you my opinion on the way Christopher decided to spent his life and you’ll see why this is one of my favorite books of all time.

The first time I came in touch with this book was when I was 15 and prepared for my final exams. Everybody of us had to make a book presentation, as an exercise for our exams.
I got the book by coincidence and I totally fell in love with it. Back then, I didn’t have the opportunities to travel by myself and the only trips we’ve made were with my parents to Italy.
And even though I always enjoyed our holidays abroad, it wasn’t the same like it is today, where I take every opportunity to spent time on the road, like Christopher McCandless did in his teenage years. As a 15 year old girl, my only chance to get away was my books, but instead on Jack London I read Into the wild and similar books over and over again.
I think this is the first connection I got to Chris as a person and it was his urge to escape society and his ways of getting lost in good stories that makes it possible for me to relate with him that much.
He was a special kind of person, someone you barley find now a days. Of course, I can’t tell for sure since I never met him (he died before I was born.) but the way Jon Krakauer explained him showed me exactly who he was.

“So many people live within unhappy circumstance and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace in mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure life. […] Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon.” - Alex in one of his letters

I think one of the main struggles Alexander had to experience during growing up was to understand how to be alive, a problem many young people fight with. Finding your own way through life is hard, especially if you see your parents living a meaningless and money orientated life, like Alex’s parents did. How was he supposed to see the beauty and the value of life while he was stuck in society’s norms?

“It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found. God, it’s great to be alive!” – found in Alex’s diary, written about half a year after leaving for his trip.

He was that kind of man who didn’t care about material worth or money, he saw the world and society for what it really was. I don’t really know if I should call these kinds of people dreamers or realists, because somehow we are both at the same time.
The dreamer in us screams for adventures and a way to break free, a way to live the life we always read in books and see in movies. The dreamer in us is always awake to give us a beautiful imagination of what life can be like and how we want to live it.
But at the same time we a realistic, we see the world for what it is, the poverty all over the world, the hunger and the wars. The lies and fakeness of society lets us despise the planet we live on and supports the dreamer in us with the urge to get away.

alaska, cold, and inspire image back, ink, and old image
“I think maybe part of what got him into trouble was that he did too much thinking. Sometimes he tried too hard to make sense of the world, to figure out why people were bad to each other so often.” – Wayne Westerberg on Chris’ personality.

In the case of Alex the dreamer won and he set of into a reality he only had in his head until the summer of 1990, and I admire him for his courage to do so. Only a bunch of people have the strength to decide to live their life like they want to, to fulfil their dreams and set off into rough path like he did. His way wasn’t easy and he came to many breaking points, but he kept on moving, he kept going, all for his dream.
Sadly, this dream also cost his life . But at least, he left this world while in peace with himself, something only a bunch of human beings manage, and for that I’ll always respect the person he was.

into the wild, book, and movie image