Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chris McCandless

Chris McCandless (February 12, 1968 – August 1992)
Chris MacCandless grew up in a wealthy family and was gifted intellectually and athletically. He graduated from Emory University with Honours in 1990 and had plans to attend Harvard Law School. Soon afterwards however, he gave 24,000 dollars  that he had saved to Oxfam and went ‘walkabout’, severing all contact with his family and friends, creating a new life for himself tramping around the US. In April 1992 he hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wild. Five months later his decomposed body was found by a hunter.

A self-portrait of Christopher McCandless outside the 'magic bus' on the Stampede Trail which was found undeveloped in his camera after his death.

‘The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlesssly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun’

The story was told by Jon  Krakauer  in the 1998 book 'Into The Wild'

The story was also told in the 2007 film 'Into The Wild' directed by Sean Penn with music by Eddy Vedder and starring Emile Hirsch.

Here is a Charlie Rose interview about 'Into The Wild' with director Sean Penn and musician Eddie Vedder, who composed the soundtrack to the film.  (The picture is of Jon Krakauer who also appears)

 A documentary 'Call of the Wild' by Ron Lamoth takes a less romantic, more balanced look at Chris, his journeying and death. Ron travels to the places Chris visited and talks to the people he knew and who crossed his path at different stages in his life.

The parents of Chris have set up a Memorial Foundation  and a book of his photos and writings (logs, letters, postcards and notes in books) 'Back to the Wild' is available