Monday, May 24, 2004

I spent the day reading Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer and it had a marked impact on my attitude. The nonfiction story starts in 1990, when Christopher McCandless, a 22 year-old who grew up in the suburbs of D.C. and attended college in Atlanta, decided upon graduation to live a minimalist existance, travelling in search of himself. He hitch-hiked througout the Western U.S. before eventually navigating his way up to Alaska; he died in September, 1992, most likely of starvation, though his body wasn't found for several weeks.

I couldn't put it down, reading nearly half of it in today's sitting. Though my infatuation with the story wasn't necessarily a healthy response to the book's content, I was hit with a small sense of longing and a twinge of curiosity for such a life of solitude and adventure. I don't align with the rough edges, dismantled relastionships, and bitterness that filled his personality, but I could easily relate to the desire that led to his nomadic independence. His outlook, suggested by highlighted passages in books by Thoreau, Emmerson, Jack London, Leo Tolstoy, and even in his journal entries before his death, sounds content, satisfied, and fulfilled. Krakauer doesn't necessarily glorify McCandless, but there's something so intriguing about his positing and observations of the impact McCandless (who changed his name upon setting off to Alex Supertramp) had on all his acquaintences. I definitely recommend reading it, although I still have the latter part to get through. If anything serious comes up that changes my perspective on the book, I'll let you know.