A Note To Runaway Parents from Chris McCandless

  • Pay more attention to your children and what they are really telling you.

    Pay more attention to your children and what they are really telling you.
    Chris McCandless at this time was graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. At his graduation he tells his parents that he is going to spend the summer traveling. This foreshadows that Chris is going to disappear leaving nothing behind to be able to trace him. He packs up his yellow Datsun and leaves. Chris doesn't take more than what can fit in a backpack throughout his whole journey. He learns to live off the land with little to nothing hitchhiking all the way to Alaska.
  • Lying to your children doesn't always protect them.

    Lying to your children doesn't always protect them.
    At this time Chris was already traveling throughout the country. He mails his final transcript along with a brief note to his parents in Washington, D.C. This signifies that Chris's parents are never going to hear from him again due to fact of his parents lying to him about his father's double lifestyle. In addition, it helps to establish the long and challenging journey he is about to embark upon. Furthermore, Chris assumes his alter-ego Alex Supertramp.
  • Worldly Possesions don't Matter- You can't take them with you when you die.

    Worldly Possesions don't Matter- You can't take them with you when you die.
    While Chris is traveling in Nevada, he is caught in a flash flood. The flood damages his car, causing him to leave it in a near by ditch. Chris takes nothing more than his backpack with little supplies and leaves everything else. He burns the money he has on him and takes the plates off his car leaving nothing to show where he was from and who's car this was.
  • Period: to

    Sometimes your children will need space from you. Allow them to adventure out and find comfort or reassurance in others.

    After abandoning his car, Chris hitchhikes throughout California, hikes the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Cascade Mountains, and goes into Idaho. Along the journey, he meets Jan Burres, her boyfriend Bob, and Wayne Westerberg. These people become Chris's adopted family while he is on the road. They never pressure him and they always listened. These individuals were the few Chris kept in contact with during his journeys.
  • It's easier than parents think it is to be able to disappear without a trace.

    It's easier than parents think it is to be able to disappear without a trace.
    Chris's parents drive to Atlanta only to discover that he had been gone from his apartment for five weeks. You have to find a way to maintain the bond with your children before it is to late and they are gone.
  • Period: to

    Life on the road is hard when you have no where to call home.

    During this time frame Chris travels to Mexico along the Colorado River, gets arrested trying to sneak back into the United States without an ID, makes a note in his journal that he has lost over 25 pounds in The Grand Canyon, and ends up in Las Vegas.
  • If you do not invest the time, relationships can be replaced.

    If you do not invest the time, relationships can be replaced.
    In January Chris meets Ronald Franz, an 81 year old man who had lost his family due to a drunk driver. Franz teaches Chris how to work with leather allowing Chris to make a belt which tells the stories of his travels. Chris finds comfort in Franz due to him always listening and understanding his choice of lifestyle. Chris also influences Franz to give up his sedentary existence
  • Eventually without guidance, a child may make a decision they will come to regret later.

    Eventually without guidance, a child may make a decision they will come to regret later.
    After spending a week with Wayne Westerberg in South Dakota, Chris's last contact with the lower 48 states, he departs for Alaska. Unsure of his future, Chris decides to go at it alone. Unafraid but not prepared either.
  • Take the time to teach your kids the things they need to know.

    Take the time to teach your kids the things they need to know.
    Arriving in Fairbanks Alaska Chris buys a gun, sends postcards to his friends, and reads up on edible plants at the university. He then hikes westward and pitches his tent not far from the start of the Stampede Trail. This is the start of a journey in which he will never return. While taking care of protection by buying a gun, he forgot the map of where he was going. This will be a critical mistake and cost him his life later on.
  • Magic Bus- On the road shelter comes in many forms.

    Magic Bus- On the road shelter comes in many forms.
    Chris finds an old bus after crossing the Sushana River and decides to stay awhile, taking advantage of the crude comfort that the bus has to offer. When you do not have a roof over your head, it is hard to survive anywhere. You are hungry, cold, dirty, and desperate while being all alone.
  • Alone, you quickly succumb to Darwin's Survival Of The Fittest.

    Alone, you quickly succumb to Darwin's Survival Of The Fittest.
    After three months of surviving on small game, Chris successfully kills a moose. Meat that would normally feed an entire family for a winter in Alaska, but Chris not knowing how to preserve the meat ends up losing it. His fait is sealed. The only things that would survive would be the moose antlers and a picture of Chris with the moose. Even the locals doubted that he actually killed a moose.
  • Your goals means nothing, if you can't live to enjoy them.

    Your goals means nothing, if you can't live to enjoy them.
    Chris had made it 100 days in the wild of Alaska, but he realized that he was in the weakest condition of his life. He was starving to death and trapped by a river that was too swift and high to cross. If only he had a map which would allow him to see that there were two cabins and a cable cart within a five hour walk. Chris realizes that he does not know it all.
  • If your child is too far gone soon death will be the end result.

    If your child is too far gone soon death will be the end result.
    Chris posted a S.O.S. note on the bus door. He hopes that someone will come by as he is out looking for berries due to him knowing that his time is coming to an end. Chris's ego is what ultimately gets him in this situation, along the way he turns down materials from others and the given help that they offer. When hikers find him, he is wrapped in the sleeping bag his mother made him.