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Dear Jon

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Dear Jon Krakauer,

He is the definition of determination and strength. He exudes ambition and spontaneity. The memory of Chris McCandless, and the story of his life left an impression on me that can never be erased. I've heard many describe this elated yet deeply serene feeling as 'enlightenment' or a 'reader's high', but both are too standard, falling flat in attempts to illustrate this phenomenon. I prefer to call it 'truly experiencing life.'

I often now find myself stopping dead in my tracks, mesmerized by the soft warmth in the summer sunsets. I've begun to appreciate seeing the misty cloud of air rise from my mouth when laughing with abandon in the cold mornings. The polite green found in a flower's stem, the molten shine on a lake's water, even the harmonious movement of the spring wheat emerges with a life of it's own; a life that Chris McCandless completely and naturally embodies. The lessons I learned throughout this story are timeless, and as a reader entranced by his very existence I came to the realization that life is everywhere. I've found that while living on this planet it's our obligation - our duty - or rather, our gift, to enjoy it. Fully enjoy it.

I will always treasure the way McCandless saw the Devil's Thumb as a wonderful challenge, the solid rock face calling out and tempting him to climb. I hope to forever view my problems this way, simply as a challenge. I now know that the confidence inside is what will give me the strength to overcome the 'Devil's Thumbs' that I will encounter. Chris taught me about that ever-powerful force behind our actions, the one that moves each foot in front of the other and takes us on journeys, (or up 'devilish' rock faces) that once seemed impossible. Nothing is impossible.

Pink fluorescent sticky notes, underlining, and various hues of highlighter threaten to take over the pages of my book. As I flip through it's worn contents and run my hand over it's tattered cover I'm reminded of a well-used textbook, the knowledge having been absorbed and infiltrated over a sweet time. Each moment spent with Into the Wild was precisely that: a sweet time. Chris never believed in haste, he knew that life would unravel in it's own perfect way. This concept seemed absolutely foreign as I grow up in a world and generation that revolves around constant movement, in the takeover of constant thought. McCandless was the ultimate teacher in all things natural and real, and he is the person to whom I owe that knowledge. Slow down, take your time.

With each chapter devoured every word struck close to home, each phrase applied directly to my life, and every single quote aimed to permeate through my being. Simply scanning through the book wasn't enough. I wanted to rush, yet hated to see each page disappear. It felt as though the challenges and events in Chris McCandless' life were beaconing me to revaluate my thinking. This is exactly what a book should do. As an audience we should walk away with an advanced understanding of ourselves, as well as the world around us. Just as Chris says, the joy can ' and will - be found everywhere.

'The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.'

--Into the Wild

Thank you, more than you can imagine.



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