Saturday, 27 November 2021 11:02 GMT

Does your life need an adventure into the wild

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Does the feeling of kinship with nature stem from the need to escape lifes harsh realities or is it a more primitive urge Enid Parker wonders

I’m not sure if all bibliophiles suffer from this particular malady but a good story has always had the power to influence me very deeply.

A few days ago I was reading an article about the book The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless. Those familiar with the tale of Christopher McCandless a 24-year-old American adventurer who died in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992 will know that Carine is his eloquent younger sister. The saga of Christopher’s brief life and death first came into the world spotlight through Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book Into The Wild which was also made into an award-winning film.

Last year Carine McCandless decided to come out with her own book to clear the air on why exactly her brother may have cut himself off from family and friends and undertaken the fateful road trip in 1990 that eventually led to his untimely death.

The article rekindled my interest in the Christopher McCandless story of which I had vague memories from years ago and I headed to Kinokuniya the same evening to buy copies of both books.

Halfway through Into the Wild I began to feel an odd kinship with McCandless who has now acquired an almost cult status with many like-minded souls visiting the motor vehicle in the Alaskan wilderness where his remains were found. I can relate to his urge to break free as well as the notions he harboured that life should consist of something other than the routine.

I have yet to get hold of Carine’s book but according to the article mentioned earlier it deals with the physical and mental abuse suffered by the family at the hands of their father Walt.

At times I like to imagine McCandless as a kind of romantic detached character who inspired by authors like Jack London and Tolstoy decided to abandon the shackles of convention and tradition and go his own way.

But with the new information that comes to light through his sister’s book it is possible that all McCandless was really looking for was a way out.

There’s hardly a doubt that all of us crave escape in some form or the other. One could be in a metropolis a small town or village anywhere in the world where the humdrum of daily life or domestic or work-related pressures begin to take their toll and you wish you could be doing something completely different.

In such situations there are some who will tell you to count your blessings while others will label it a lapse of reason or just plain selfishness thus sending you on an extended guilt trip. A lot of things in life are directly or indirectly connected with guilt. Flashes of insight into a deeper more meaningful existence are ultimately short lived as very few of us are brave enough to follow through on The Great Escape.

Let’s be logical: shedding a monotonous yet stable existence for something more exciting is everyone’s dream yet the responsibilities of family and home leave little room for such dreams to be fulfilled. But while a McCandless-like trek into the unknown or anything even remotely ‘reckless’ is not recommended one can surely take a little time out from life’s daily monotony.

Escapism takes on many forms – whether it’s physically leaving a place burying yourself in a book drawing revelling in music playing sports partying or just using humour to take your mind off the harsh realities of life for a while.

My experience with the outdoors has always had a positive effect – even something simple like talking a long walk especially via a scenic route. Because when you connect with nature you shrug off your worries for a while and experience inner peace. Yes humans by nature seek company but sometimes solitude is a solution.

And though I can never claim to be an expert on McCandless perhaps this is what he was seeking – time out to process his myriad thoughts and deal with any issues he may have had. Nature provides the perfect backdrop for such pursuits. Many people have criticised McCandless for taking on the wilderness unprepared.

I personally feel it was a courageous act and despite his life having been tragically cut short who knows he may have experienced something beyond our imagination and got the answers he sought.

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