Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer was originally assigned as part of our English curriculum, therefore, I wasn’t anticipating enjoying it. However, I connected with the book and loved it, which came as a bit of a surprise. It inspired me, motivated me, and gave me a little push that I needed into new genres of literature, nonfiction and classics.
Summary: After living a normal life growing up in a nice subdivision with manicured lawns and excellent schools, Chris McCandless felt a desire building up inside him to have a life that made him happy, not the people around him. Therefore, right after he graduated, Chris left it all behind to find his greater meaning in life through a cross-continent trek, determined to escape the materialism and societal norms of highly populated areas. While his ultimate goal was reaching Alaska and living off the land, he had to work his way there, stopping in many places along the way from deserts, to rivers, to abandoned towns, building up connections along the way. Jon Krakauer, after personally being affected by his story, used these people that were immediately impacted by Chris and his motive to piece together the story of Chris’s life after leaving his small town. Through his minimal belongings, brief journal entries, photographs, and interviews, Jon writes the story of Chris to inspire others out there who know what it’s like to have a yearning for adventure that isn’t being filled in our bland society as we know it.
Rating: 5 stars
Why?: As you may or may not know, I am a huge travel/adventure junkie. I enjoy reading travel blogs ( usually recommended to me by my best friend) and reading about how travel can change lives. All it takes is a change of scenery. I’d heard of the story of Chris McCandless before being required to read it, and now I wish I would’ve read it sooner rather than later. Hearing how he used travel as an escape from the pressures of society and it’s materialism really connected with me and how I feel about traveling and our world today. Even being a teenager, I am easily stressed out by the world around me and seeing that I’m not the only one was extremely comforting even if I knew it already. Seeing the initiative he took to change his life so that he could be happy instead of being what other people wanted him to be was really inspiring to me.
What I Took Away From This Story: If you’ve read past posts you would know that I feel easily stressed by school and the quote unquote “requirements” we must meet to be living a fulfilling life. Seeing that he made such an incredible life doing what he loved made me realize what I truly love and has given me the extra push to engage myself in it. I have recently turned in quite a few applications for things that I normally may have passed up, and honestly, I’m feeling really happy with the fact that I am focusing on what I want to do, and what I can do now as a high-schooler. It has also inspired me to start planning out places I want to travel in the world, which as of right now is simply visiting all seven continents.
Also, while I have read nonfiction before and enjoyed it, this novel made me explore more in the nonfiction genre resulting in me adding a hell of a lot of books to my “to be read” list. (Including Mountains Beyond Mountains, which I’m hoping to read soon. It follows a type of person that I want to be, a doctor who goes to other countries to treat patients who don’t have access to the care.) Finally, Chris was extremely interested in classic literature, inspiring me to add more to my usual reading. (Especially White Fang and the Call Of The Wild, which were some of his primary inspirations in his journey of happiness and self-purpose.) Through these genres, I know many people find stories and passages that inspire them to do what they love whether it’s helping people or helping themselves, and I hope that by expanding my horizons a little more I will be able to learn more about myself through other people’s stories as well.
If any of you have read this story or heard of it, what were your thoughts?