Escape. That’s what Christopher McCandless sought when he ventured out into the wild. He could never get enough, could never get far enough away from the everyday world and ordinariness of his life. His desperation to be cut off was his eventual downfall, but putting that aside for a moment, let’s concentrate on the desire, the need, that fuelled his venture into the unknown wilds.
Jon Krakauer’s biography of McCandless, Into The Wild, tells the tale of adventure as he made his way alone, on foot, to the remotest and most idyllic reaches of the Alaskan hinterlands. It was his need to escape from a world of high-pressure and cramped social circles that drove McCandless away, but follow in his footsteps and you’ll discover what made him stay in this rugged and untouched landscape; why it captured his soul so completely.
The answer for McCandless was simple:peace. Tranquility. This is the place to free yourself of your shackles and just live. There is the space for the mind to roam, and detach from the pressures and anxieties of everyday living. Sometimes by simplifying life, we can make it so much richer.
Living alongside the residents of the Alaskan wilds – elk, deer, bears – trace McCandless’s route along the Stampede Trail, which culminates in the school bus, parked hundreds of miles from any town, village or even road. How did it get there? Who drove it there? The mystery remains, but climb aboard with the same fascination and intrigue as McCandless did and see his living quarters for his final few months in this Alaskan wilderness. Stumbling across this mysterious landmark was the world’s small reward from McCandless’s adventure into the unknown.
If you follow McCandless’s path into the wild, who knows what you’ll discover; it’s about discovering it for yourself. But one thing we can guarantee is a simplicity you don’t always find in life – and in the humble tranquility that surrounds, remember that this is where an ordinary life became extraordinary.