A few weeks ago, I finally got around to watching Into The Wild. I’d read Jon Krakauer’s book a while ago; although it was, and is, brilliant work, I have much less respect for the author after finding out that he agreed to whitewash the abuse that Chris McCandless suffered as a child. Everything that Chris did makes much more sense after you understand what happened to him, and his sister, in their youth.
It’s been nearly twenty-five years since the adventures were recounted in the book and movie. If you have even a bit of wanderlust in your heart, it’s likely hearing about Chris’s trip will make you at least consider a trip to “The Slabs,” Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, or the “Magic Bus” on the Stampede Trail.
But there’s one big difference between a would-be Supertramp’s life in 1992 and 2016: hitching.
“It was the summer of ’92, and all I wanted was to be in Seattle. You know, like every other mopey kid with long hair, a flannel shirt and a guitar. But I was 16, with no license and no car. And I lived in Connecticut. It was time to get creative.”
I met Bryce by accident at one of those grad school functions everybody goes to just for the free food. He was your stereotypical late-in-lifer; one of those smart but hopelessly anarchic types that screwed around for two decades, accidentally aged past forty, and finally decided he needed a real career after all. The old grunge tattoos were a dead giveaway, as well as the black crewneck over jeans. He found me more tolerable than the milquetoasts sipping virgin martinis; I felt the same way. Besides, I needed a good subject for my biography class.