Chris McCandless: The Crazy Unprepared Journeyman Imagine you had it all. A college degree, a car, and $25,000 to get you started on your life. Now think about throwing it all away to tour the western United States as a homeless man. That’s exactly what Chris McCandless did in 1991 when he left the life he knew to go on a spiritual journey into the wilderness. His journey spanned nearly two years as he went from state to state meeting new people and advancing on his plan to finally end up in Alaska. His journey ended just four months after getting to Alaska as his body was found frozen to death inside an abandoned bus. Chris McCandless was crazy because he attempted to live in the Alaskan wilderness unprepared and with no wildlife training. Following the article that Jon Krakauer wrote initially about Chris, in the “Outside”, many native Alaskans were outraged because they thought of Chris as arrogant since they believed he didn’t have any respect for the land. Chris was also criticized by long time Alaskan natives for not knowing as much about the land as they did and even for his lack of animal knowledge, “the scope of his self-styled adventure was so small as to ring pathetic – squatting in a wrecked bus a few miles out of Healy, potting jays and squirrels, mistaking a caribou for a moose (pretty hard to do)... Only one word for the guy: incompetent” (Krakauer 177). Although some have come to see Chris as a hero for breaking the chains of society, most Alaskan natives do not, “The Alaskans who criticize McCandless say they understand his fascination with the wilderness but label his actions dangerous. A comparison would be the way we react when international tourists head off into the Australian Outback with an improperly prepared vehicle or insufficient water” (Chester).
Maybe the only person who didn’t believe Chris McCandless was crazy was Chris himself. Throughout the book you realize Chris really believed he was on the right path and was starting his new life. From his journal entries and random writings Chris shows that he thinks what he is doing is defying the norms of society and is helping him find himself through a spiritual journey. By throwing away the majority of his personal belongings he is freeing himself from society and living his dream of making it on his own in the wild. Much of his influence comes from the books he reads, which he takes as serious information when the majority are fiction books. In his mind Chris thought he was prepared by learning from other survivalists and hunters but the information he receives is not accurate for arctic weather, such as the steaming of raw meat he learned about from hunters in South Dakota. Personally I believe Chris McCandless was crazy. Chris came to Alaska with no real supplies or training. Generally, Alaskans carry certain supplies when entering the wilderness and Chris, being untrained, did not. “By design McCandless came into the country with insufficient provisions, and he lacked certain pieces of equipment deemed essential by many Alaskans: a large-caliber rifle, map and compass, and an ax. This has been regarded as evidence not just of stupidity but of the even greater sin of arrogance” (Krakauer 180). Chris’s mental state was also in question based on his thinking patterns. He was always refuting help from the few people that were close to him. Countless times he refused supplies or money from the friends who were worried about him. This shows his stubbornness and unwillingness to realize the true