Wednesday, February 20, 2008


One of the best movies I saw in 2007 was Into the Wild. Based on Jon Krakauer's touching and insightful book, it recounts the journey of Christopher McCandless as he travels across the western United States and into Alaska—where his life comes to a tragic end. He was only 24 when he died.

People thought McCandless was crazy for going out on his own, ill-equipped and into unfamiliar territory. He was young and stupid, they said.

But I think he was a great seeker of knowledge and truth. Getting lost can help us find who we really are.

I also think that somewhere inside all of us, there is an adventurous spirit that wants to run away. I've had conversations with friends several times about being overcome by the desire to just keep driving when we're on the way home from work. Just ditch everyday life and go set up camp in the Grand Canyon or casino-hop in Vegas. Shake things up a bit. Feel more alive.

But instead, we settle for little escapes. We spend hours lost in television shows and movies. We live vicariously through characters in books. We hike in the local mountains. Or maybe just try a new restaurant in a neighboring city. Throwing mere scraps of experience to our starving adventurer.

I admire Chris McCandless for being brave enough to indulge his appetite. He turned "what if" into "what next"—something most of us will never do. And as a result, he may have known himself better at age 24 than any of us will ever know ourselves at 100.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you know, I absolutely loved this book and movie. And agree with your thoughts on it. And sometimes, I also envy him, I think we have all had those moments, or at least I have, where i followed that inner spirit and found fulfillment and peace with who I am and made resolutions to be this person that I was so excited to have found. And then life continues and somehow, I am back to feeling that old familiar tug, that something is missing, that I am searching and searching but can't find myself or the meaning in my life. So back to my envy. In a way, how great to find that and then die - end on that high and never have that disappointment of losing yourself in the shuffle and knowing that at one point in time you had your finger on it.