As a sophomore in college, I took many English courses. One of which had required us to read, "Into the Wild."
I should really re-read this book to see what I glean from it now, but as a 19-year-old who was going through some stuff, I was completely enthralled with Christopher McCandless's goal to completely disappear from "society" leaving everything and everybody behind. I became so consumed with the idea. As I read along, I remember thinking two things. First, how much I wanted to see the beautiful things in nature that very few of us actually take the time to see. Second, I wanted to do it alone... I wanted to prove to myself (and probably to others) that I didn't need anybody.
Into the Wild-- Spoiler Alert!!!
He starves to death in Alaska... alone.
This book impacted me so dramatically. It came at a time when I was becoming a grown-up and in doing so, was examining so many relationships (some that were less than ideal) that while initially, the idea of jetting off on my own sounded wonderful; the ending made me realize that running wasn't the solution, and that proving that I didn't 'need' anyone, wasn't either. One of the last passages in his journal, Christopher McCandless wrote:
I'm not sure I buy into this completely. Over the years, I've felt happiness quite frequently in a solo-state, but I definitely feel that happiness is increased when shared. I feel an exponential surge in delight when I experience something hilarious or beautiful and then I turn to look at the expression on the face of the person that I'm experiencing it with. I think maybe that's just how our empathetic brains function.
The opposite can also be true though, which is why choosing people in your life that are positive and uplifting can make all the difference in the world.
I'm getting so off track here, but recently my husband flipped to this horrible reality show where people get married the first moment that they meet each other. So basically their first date is their honeymoon. While on their honeymoon, this woman was having one of those surreal moments where she just felt so taken by the scenery and so very happy and optimistic about life. She turned to her new husband to share in the moment and in return he said something horribly insensitive and odd and was so clearly not sharing her wavelength... and thus her mood completely took a 180.
I say all of that to say that I think maybe that was my issue as a youngster. I was sharing my moments with people who weren't on my wavelength. So I would add yet another caveat to Chris Mccandless's quote and say that it really matters who you share your happy feelings with.
Mile.. Mile and a half
All of the reasons above are probably why this film spoke to me in such a way. Yes, I want to experience nature and the Earth's most breathtaking sites, but even more than that... I want to experience these things with people who increases the joy that the experience will be sure to bring.
The documentary is about these artists who set out for a month to experience California's 211-mile John Muir Trail. The imagery that they collected is so incredibly phenomenal. I've never felt so inspired to walk off the beaten path. I mean...
There is a moment in this film that brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it was the Sauvignon Blanc, or the existential nature I tend to succumb to during my husband's absence, but really, I just think it was a beautiful moment. The crew came upon an elderly man hiking the trail with a loved one on the 50th anniversary of his first and only other time hiking it. He said something to the effect of... "and this may be my last, as such things go" and it made me choke up a bit. Life is so short, and there is just so much of this world to see. Days flip off the calendar and years pass by at warp speed, and we get so stuck in our daily routines. This man had waited 50 years to experience something that had initially brought him such joy.
There was another moment that I loved. There is a woman hiking alone who encountered the group Of artists and soon realized that at the end of her journey, she didn't want to drink a beer alone. Such a simple, and profound statement.
For the most beautiful imagery you've seen on film, check out Mile... Mile & Half, and then let's go camping!