With so much that the world has to offer, it only seems fit that we explore what it has in store for us. In the novel “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, a young man named Chris McCandless was discovered dead in the Alaskan wilderness in the summer of 1992. McCandless always believed that the materialistic views of society were useless and unnecessary. Chris decided that in order to experience true happiness, journeying out into the vast unknown was the key. However what once started out as an innocent dream to explore the wild, soon turned into a mistake which proved to be fatal.
Chris McCandless was a true adventurer. He traveled by foot and made sure to rely on his wits and instincts to survive. His journey into the wild allowed him to figure out who he was and embrace the true meaning of life. Possessed by a nomadic existence, McCandless isolated himself from civilization and learned how to cope with the harsh reality of becoming a lone survivor. Wanting to share his principles with others, Chris wrote a letter to Ron Franz saying, “So many people live life with unhappy circumstances… The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon… It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it” (Krakauer 41).
We all have the freedom to choose how we want to live. Deciding to live with no limits, no rules, and no worries is not the path that everyone would choose, however. While there are a select few who find solace in living rebelliously, there are many people who enjoy a life of security, conformity, and conservatism. Choosing the path of stability tends to sit well with a wide number of individuals. Being able to have a clear insight on what comes next rather than aimlessly going about life is the safest option, it’s like having a personal checklist of the To-Do’s and Not To-Do’s. It all bubbles down to the naturalness of humans wanting to be in control of their life. Being able to have a predetermined path of what’s to come offers smooth sailing and assurance to multiple people. If one has a well-balanced lifestyle, there would be no reason to have to worry about tomorrow because a solid foundation has been built to survive against the hardships of human life.
The mountain man life is a calling for some but is a fear of the unknown for others. Unfortunately for Chris McCandless, leaving behind all traces of civilization was the transcendentalist idea that signed his death warrant. He was simply not ready to live off the land, alone and inexpert, charging through each day without the proper knowledge of his surroundings. McCandless’s errors began the moment he stepped out of Jim Gallien’s truck with only 10 pounds of rice, leather hiking boots, and a .22 caliber rifle. Chris was ready to venture out and experience all that nature had to offer. He pushed aside and ignored all the forewarnings that passerbys and friends had for him, but little did he know, his desire for freedom would come with a price. From incorrectly preserving his kills to harvesting poisonous crops, McCandless proved to be unprepared for the physical and mental changes that the Alaskan wilderness had in store for him.
Life on the road is not meant for the weakhearted or the inexperienced. Although the thought of adventure and journeying down the road less traveled is exciting, only a small percentage of people would take the risk to leave the comfort of their present lives behind. The best advice one can take is to use the life you were given to discover what will inevitably make you happy without the feelings of longing or regret. In the end, if it’s a dream that has wanted to become a reality or a goal that has wanted to be accomplished, never let anyone stop you from exploring the wonders and beauty of the world.