Into The Wild

Into The Wild

“If you want something in this life, reach out and grab it.”

-Christopher McCandless

Christopher McCandless faced an untimely death that draws different views from critics around. Some people see his death as someone who was naive, stupid, and an unexperienced fool that deserved what he had coming to him. Others, such as myself, choose to see it from his perspective as someone who had a deep interest in adventure and nature that sadly ended in tragedy. Whatever your view on him is, there is a lesson to be learned from his adventure and that is needing to be more prepared.

His Travels

Chris did what everyone wishes they could do. He finished school, got up, and then left. He deserted his family by becoming a nomad and traveled across country from Georgia for two years. He had a sense of adventure that he demanded to be met and who can blame him. For us to say that we don’t want to have some sort of adventure in our lives is a blatant lie and we only stop ourselves from doing so because of the possible risks. Like anyone would, McCandless identified these risks but still set forth on his journey because it was something that needed to be done. At this point, people would consider him naive and just plain stupid. Those critics say those things because they wish they had the same drive and motivation as he did, but instead come up with multiple excuses as to why they “can’t” do it. McCandless did something no one else really did back then, and for that I applaud him.

His 113 Day Journey

I’m going to start this part of by saying that I refuse to believe that Christopher McCandless had little to no knowledge on how to survive in the wild. I’m not a survival expert, but I have some basic knowledge on how to live in the wild for a short time. That being said, I know that I wouldn’t be able to survive 113 days in the Alaskan wilderness by myself while living inside of an abandoned bus. What he did was remarkable in many ways and he deserves some props for surviving that long. Now that that is out of the way, let me direct focus back to his journey. Throughout his two year expedition, Chris was fortunate enough to come across some resources that he deemed necessary to help himself survive in the wild. He was equipped with a rifle that he used for hunting, a pair of weather resistant boots were given to him by a man who dropped him off at the start of his 113 day journey, and he also had a survival guide of sorts. He did have other means of equipment as well, but those were the ones that stood out to me. He didn’t go into Alaska with just a jacket, pants, and some water; he came equipped with resources he knew he would need and used them efficiently. Unfortunately, he did make mistakes and errors that led to his untimely death and even he knew that each mistake made would cost him his life. Mistakes such as his poor meat preservation skills when he killed a moose, not taking consideration into water levels rising in the river that he crossed, and the fact that he ate a certain type of seeds that led to starvation. I should mention that his death is the topic of controversy on whether or not it was the type of seeds that killed him or the mold that grew on them due to moisture. Whatever it may be, one thing is for certain and that’s that Chris McCandless did not want to die. As his life was slowly coming to an end, he reached a point where he wanted to go back, but couldn’t due to the water levels rising in the river that he crossed when he first made his journey. In my own personal opinion, this is what led to his death because it caused him to become stranded in an area where he no longer wanted to be in. This is the sad and unfortunate truth of McCandless’ journey and one that should teach us all a lesson.

What To Learn From 

There’s a lot to learn from this tragedy, but the one that sticks out and is most important is to be prepared. He was prepared in terms of equipment, yes but not in knowledge. He graduated from Emory University, so he definitely had knowledge, just not survival based. It should also be mentioned that there was a park service ranger cabin just south of where he was at that was not blocked by a river. What can be learned from that is to just be aware of your surroundings and know what the area will be like ahead of time. Everyone should pursue their sense for adventure and shouldn’t make excuses as to why they can’t do it, but should also be prepared ahead of time and to do research. Being prepared is just as important as the adventure and should be something worthwhile and fun. That’s what it really all comes down to is making sure that you have a great time and something that gives you experience.

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