I read the book "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer after years of being told it was one of those books I should read. It sat on my shelf collecting dust until one day I pulled it down and never put it down much until I finished it. (Let me go on record here that I love Jon Krakauer's nonfiction works. There is not a book of his that hasn't moved me, made me think, taught me about life, or exposed me to a view of the world I hadn't ever thought about. )
As soon as I finished the book I watched the film. I have this thing about wanting to read a book first before I watch the film. I am pleased I read the book first when it came to "Into the Wild. The book and film did change the way I look at the world.
"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, for each day to have a new and different sun."-Christopher McCandless
The film "Into the Wild" is the true story of Christopher McCandless and his journey of extreme living as he left behind all material possessions and found people and places that changed his life as he prepared for his goal of hiking into the wilds of Alaska. Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, and Henry David Thoreau were his heroes. He wanted to find his place in the world by immersing himself into nature. He didn't pick a pond like Thoreau. He didn't have the experience in the wilds that London had. He was a romantic and an idealist. He took on the challenging, unforgiving wild land of Alaska alone and without much knowledge of this unforgiving state. He found a bus to live in. He ate rice and found food in the wild. He kept journals of his travels, the people he met and his life living on the bus as he took on this difficult journey. He wanted to be freed from money, his parents, and all that bothered him in the world. He wanted to feel free.
Why did this movie move me? I admire any person that stands up for their beliefs in such a strong way. I am not adventurous. I am not a person that would walk into the wild for a purpose. I live safe. I am not a rebel. Christopher McCandless was all that I am not, yet I grew to understand him and why he did what he did. It moved me.
The film also helped me understand how the events of life that are out of a person's control can send a person on a spiral of discovery as he/she tries to understand what happened. The actions of parents, friends, a sister, strangers met along the way can all impact the journey that follows. Leaving all those people behind can further impact that discovery.
Thank you Sean Penn for taking the book that the events had already been played out in real life and making it into a film that stayed true to the book and brought Chris alive even more that his words in the book.