John Krakauer: Into the Wild

I read Into the Wild while on my 256-day journey living in a pickup truck all across North America. During this era of embracing and relishing in my newly simplified and sustainable lifestyle, I could relate to most of Chris McCandless’s sentiments of bourgeois malaise and understood his expressions of upper-middle class angst. However, Alexander Supertramp’s adventure ultimately evolved into misadventure, and I think Into the Wild is one of the saddest stories out there. Entries later found in McCandless’s journal suggest that he regretted the extreme nature of his rejection of society and that he wanted to reassimilate. The lesson I learned from Into the Wild is that there are appropriate times in life for solitude and a paring of life down to its essentials, but McCandless’s story also shows that humans are social animals and need to be living with others in a spirit of community.

While reading the book on my 256-day journey, my path overlapped in many places with where McCandless had gone, the most notable being Slab City in Niland, California. Continue reading here for memories of my three weeks spent at the abandoned military base.

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