What motivated Chris McCandless to venture into the wilderness?

Introduction to Chris McCandless

Chris McCandless is a name that has become synonymous with adventure, wilderness, and ultimately, tragedy. McCandless was a young man who, after graduating from Emory University, embarked on a journey that would take him across the United States and eventually into the Alaskan wilderness. His story has been told and retold through various mediums, including Jon Krakauer’s book, "Into the Wild," which chronicles his life and death in the wild.

Early life and education

Chris McCandless was born on February 12, 1968, in El Segundo, California. He had a privileged upbringing, with parents who were successful and well-educated. McCandless was a bright student and excelled academically. He graduated from Emory University in 1990 with a degree in history and political science. Despite his success, McCandless felt disillusioned with the world around him and longed for something more.

McCandless’ post-college journey

After graduation, McCandless embarked on a journey that would take him across the United States. He abandoned his car and burned his remaining cash, determined to live a life free from material possessions. He hitchhiked and hopped trains, living a vagabond lifestyle that often left him hungry and destitute. He eventually made his way to Alaska, where he planned to live off the land.

Arrival in Alaska

In April 1992, McCandless arrived in Alaska and set up camp in an abandoned bus. He had brought with him a small amount of supplies, including a rifle, a few books, and some basic camping gear. He was determined to live off the land and survive in the wild. He spent the next several months hunting, fishing, and foraging for food.

Living off the land

McCandless was determined to live off the land and survive solely on what he could find in the wilderness. He was an experienced hunter and fisherman, but he also foraged for edible plants and berries. He documented his experiences in a journal and wrote about the challenges of living in the wild.

McCandless’ mental state

McCandless struggled with mental health issues throughout his life. He was known to be moody and prone to bouts of depression. His time in the wilderness only exacerbated these issues, and he became increasingly isolated and detached from the world around him.

Relationship with family

McCandless had a complicated relationship with his family. He was close to his sister, Carine, but had a strained relationship with his parents. He felt suffocated by their expectations and their materialistic lifestyle, which he saw as superficial and meaningless.

Influence of literature

McCandless was an avid reader and was heavily influenced by the writings of Jack London, Henry David Thoreau, and Leo Tolstoy. He saw himself as a modern-day adventurer, following in the footsteps of these literary heroes.

Personal philosophy

McCandless had a personal philosophy that emphasized self-reliance, independence, and living in harmony with nature. He rejected the trappings of modern society and believed that true happiness could only be found in a life free from material possessions.

McCandless’ tragic end

In August 1992, McCandless was found dead in the bus he had been living in. He had died of starvation, and his body was emaciated and weak. His death was a tragic end to a young man who had set out to find himself and live a life free from the constraints of society.

Legacy and impact

McCandless’ story has had a profound impact on people around the world. His journey has inspired countless individuals to seek adventure and to live life on their own terms. His death has also sparked a conversation about mental health and the dangers of isolation and detachment.

Lessons learned from McCandless’ story

McCandless’ story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of living a life devoid of human connection and support. It is a reminder that while independence and self-reliance are admirable qualities, they should not come at the expense of our mental and physical health. The lesson we can take from McCandless’ story is that true happiness is found not in isolation, but in the relationships we build with others.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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