Into The Wild - Ali Ingah          

Into The Wild Essay

Where was I when I heard about Chris McCandles ? I was a freshman attending St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. At that time I was an ardent cosmopolitan that hailed from London, England. Back then, Chris' story sounded both silly and intriguing. Intriguing as it later manifested during my adult life. It seemed back then that my friends were all doing different things to find themselves. Without a close look at Chris' story, I attributed this to a silly exercise in "finding oneself" that has gone wrong. Those around me weighed in, some thought it was cool and some thought he was foolish. I merely thought: "Why would anyone want to leave the comfort of modern life and all that it has to offer?"

Fast forward a couple of decades, a family, house, steady job and emotional scars compliments of modern life. I picked up John Krakauer's book before the movie came out and by this time my curiosity came from wanting to seek what lead Chris to venture out thus turning his back on what modern society had to offer. An illustration of how my perspectives on the matter changed. The book did bring me closer but not enough; I don't think anything will come much closer and it will remain this way. Because of this story, I discovered a new appreciation of individuals that goes against the grain Modern Society has thrown at them. I have built confidence to share this with my daughter and hope it can serve as an example of our free-will.

The closest I've come to walking in Chris' shoes is a visit to Talkeetna, AK. I did think about him and imagined what it must've been like. Were the numerous twenty-somethings that live in Talkeetna there to perhaps relive a piece of Chris McCandles' journey? An inclusive journey for anyone to experience. Chris represented those of us that long to return to nature but can't because of our "obligations" to the rat-race.

Without sounding cliché, this story inspired me to cherish and respect the natural world. I offer no radical or grandiose conclusions on Chris' motives; I can say he has sparked an interest towards authors that inspired him. It is through this that I make the mental connection to the Natural World. It is this connection that instills a sense of mission as it relates to the preservation of nature. His story has a wider impact than what it was first made out to be when I heard of it as a college Freshman. Look closer and you'll see that Chris is a social symbol of what freedom truly is and that we belong to the natural world and have a duty to preserve it.

Author: Ali Ingah
Minneapolis, MN
Radhika Arora

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