Sunday, September 30

Alexander Supertramp - Into the Wild

I've mentioned previously that one of my favourite reads over the last couple of years has been the seminal "Autobiography of a Supertramp" by W.H.Davies. And I suspect that this source was behind Christopher McCandless's choice to adopt the name of Alexander Supertramp.

I'd not come across this reference before. But I can guarantee it will be popping up on the UK Outdoor Forums over coming months.

His lonely starved body was found in an abandoned bus in an Alaskan national park back in August 1992. On the face of it a failed attempt to live off the land far from "civilisation".

Whatever the aims of the individual during his life, his death resulted in an outburst of conflicting thoughts, eventually resulting in a book ("Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer), a song (Ellis Paul - "The Ballad of Chris McCandless) and now a recently released film.

There's a number of net based references as to the rationale and suitability of this failed experiment which make for interesting reading, particularly The Cult of Chris McCandless and this recent appraisal which gives an even minded summary of AS and the impact it has had since. A couple of quotes from these articles provides food for thought:

"McCandless didn't need the wilderness," he says. "He needed help";
"I don't know what his problem was, but it wasn't surviving. If he's a hero, he's a dead hero";

Many of us strive to visit remote areas. To escape from the strictures of civilisation.

Some of us meet with accidents. Some even may not return.

But self sufficiency, preparedness and risk management is amongst the essential tools we should all take with us. A modicum of sanity helps as well (Or does it?)

And once the hype is ignored there's a salutary tale with lessons for us all if we are preapred to listen.

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Mmmm... sanity and insanity both sides of the same coin, John. You've gotta have a measure of both. Yin & Yang; John & Yoko; Bubble & Squeak. What was it that R.D.Laing used to say about the maddest are the wisest?
Sadly, not very wise in this case!
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