Saturday, April 12, 2014

I is for Into the Wild

Into the Wild by John Krakhauer is a beautiful book about a beautiful soul who set out in search of a magical connection with nature. He was a brave soul. A soul who not many can understand.

Alex Supertramp (or Chris McCandless) was a soul who followed his heart away from the world which we all know filled with money and responsibility and little boxes all made of ticky tacky into the beautiful wilderness of freedom. His journey, while being very focused on actual wilderness (mountains, plants, wildlife), was more about connections and love and people than anything else.

For a long time I have felt this sort of urge within me which I'm sure Emerson or Thoreau or Kerouac all would understand perfectly well. It's a sort of pull away from all the norms and established "successful" ways of living into a more organic, uncharted realm of the earth. I have often thought that this urge of mine was simply to "escape" into the mountains away from people and expectations. I think that Chris McCandless had this same idea--that he needed of fill this weird void or satisfy this pull by going into the wild and living off the land. Not to give away anything in the book if you haven't read it (but also to give it all away!), he discovered that as beautiful and wonderful as the great outdoors is, "Happiness is only real when shared." People are essential to our journey.

It has been a dream of mine to hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end--roughly 2,200 miles spanning from Georgia to Maine. I need to be outside. I need the trees and the dirt and the rocks and the sticks. I need the birds. The bugs. The sun. The rain. I need to be alone in nature. But I also need people, too. The AT will be perfect for both of these necessities. Hundreds of people hike the AT every year. It offers a fantastic little community all of its own while giving place for true nature experiences.

This year I will follow this feeling I've had for so long. I will step into the wild, into the realm of love, into a new life and finally scratch this itch on my heart.

Life is meant to be lived. To be loved. To be enjoyed. So I will do just that because "the freedom and simple beauty is just too good to pass up."

Write on!

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