Christopher McCandless graduated from Emory University in Atlanta in 1992. He came from a successful wealthy family, did well in school, and had $24,000 in cash that he was able to give to charity when he made his life changing decision. McCandless changed his name to Alex Supertramp and then hitchhiked to Alaska where he went to “live in the wild”.
Compare his trip to Thoreau (in itself a good reason to look at this review) who said about his Walden experience, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Thoreau was in walking distance to where Emerson lived, and he probably felt he had learned all those essential facts, but McCandless must have learned far more than he expected before those essential facts took his life.
McCandless changed his name to Alex Supertramp. His statement about why he did this was that ``You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''. He had nothing but a bag a rice and he had thrown away his map. He left a diary, letters and notes which tell of his unsuccessful effort to survive. He was lost, injured and starving and after four months his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter.
The author dug into McCandless’s youth to see if he just had a death wish. He found a rebellious moody young man who had a strained relationship with his father but nothing that would point to anything but an adventurist young man who made some serious mistakes on this trip.
Quotes by Jon Krakauer
“Happiness [is] only real when shared”
“It's not always necessary to be strong, but to feel strong.”
“Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.”
“We like companionship, see, but we can't stand to be around people for very long. So we go get ourselves lost, come back for a while, then get the hell out again."
“The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences.”