Saturday, 20 February 2010

Into the Wild

I've been in Couchsurfing for almost three years by now, and some time ago a friendly girl from London that I hosted at my flat told me that I should watch "Into the Wild" (the film), in order to understand some things about people that always have travelling in their minds and that sort of things about like why do we live in society, why do we work, and so.

Well, I said to her that I had seen the trailer of the film and knew what it was about, and didn't want to see it, because I'd feel so envious of a guy who's really chasing after his dreams, leaving everything behind. She told me that doesn't matter, because there is somehow a lesson to learn from this film (which is a real story, by the way).

In the end I saw the film and was fascinated and moved by the story, beautifully told... even if I knew that I hadn't really learnt so much because what happens are things I already knew, some of them I didn't want to admit.

I watched twice, and then I bought the book last week.
After having read it, I'm shocked by the similarities in the personality traits that McCandless and I share.

That said, what I really wanted to remark on this post are the differences between that unfortunate guy and myself on this matters of travelling...

I feel that in a certain way we're determined by our place of birth and the experiences associated with our childhood and youth years, so McCandless was deeply North-American and his thoughts came out of his States-based point of view.

He wasn't a bit interested in learning anything from different cultures or peoples, he somehow couldn't see further than North America while doing his walk around it, once and again in circles.

Definitely I won't do serious hikings or trekkings during my Asian trip because I want to enjoy the travelling itself, the discovering, the meeting of new people, the difficulties I will have to face... but I won't fight against nature and society, that is not my purpose.
If I wanted to get lost in the wild I wouldn't plan thousands of miles of a route, just in order to climb some minor mountains... I'm not saying I won't walk through wilderness, but that won't be my specific target.

We all, avid travellers, feel identified with McCandless and his feelings of freedom on the road and spiritual achievement within the nature... but that's not everything we've got in mind.


  1. I readed about McCandless when the movie came out. Someone said that McCandless comitted suicide, or maybe felt into deep depression because of poor nutrition. Anyway, some people said that they(Hollywood) turned the story of a troubled boy into a poetic fiction about looking for the nature and breaking social conventions. Maybe is a bit of each views. I just remember that, and just want to put this point of view, but actually didn't see the movie...

  2. I thought pretty much the same as you do before I saw it or read the book, but it has somehow a deeper meaning and it is by no means a Hollywood product.
    After reading the book I can tell that the film is totally based on it, so not much was made up for it, maybe just the order of the storytelling differs, but the overall tone and the insights of the character are the same ones.

    There are light and shadows in it, it critises but from empathy, since the book was written by a man who truly understood McCandless because he felt identified with him.