Is your life a dull, brassy, patina? Just enough shine in it to make you want to get up to see what comes next. Or maybe it’s lacking in just about everything. Need some inspiration to become a wanderer? An adventurer? Read “Wild”, but don’t jump on the heroin addiction just to have something to hike off. You could grab a copy of Bill Bryson’s book, but you won’t be a thru-hiker when you jump off the trail in Pennsylvania because you miss cocktail hour too much. Watch a movie instead. Yeah. That works for me. Nothing to fire up your wanderlust like a visual representation. Here is a varied selection that get seals of approval from somebody whose name shall not be mentioned, but which I have approved of as well.
1. Into The Wild: Never mind that Christopher McCandless actually died inside that bus in Alaska (starvation), his mission was noble. At the front end you get a little of his philosophy as to why he left Atlanta and shrugged off grad school, and the world. He was woefully unskilled, and it was a tragedy. All the same, good movie.
2. Jeremiah Johnson: I’m telling you right now. Get your preteen/teen son to sit down and watch this movie. Robert Redford as Jeremiah Johnson (based on real life Liver-Eatin’-Johnson) fighting for survival in the yet to be tamed America is a classic. The Dakota Bed scene is an actual skill, and nobody should use it (carry a decent sleeping bag and pad). Bittersweet ending.
3. Into Thin Air: Jon Krakauer’s book, a true tale of errors and death, brought to television. 1996, Mt. Everest, bold Sherpa guides and legendary mountaineers lead ill fated attempts at the summit. The days waned away as one after another the capable succumbed to their fate. The ladies will find some moments to be tear jerkers (the last phone call). A theatrical release is in production and is slated for release next year (Josh Brolin, that Gylenhall guy, Sam Worthington).
4. My Side of the Mountain: As a kid I loved this book. I saw the movie soon after reading the book. I wanted to live like that. Wouldn’t it be cool?
5. From 1968 until 1999 Richard Proenneke lived alone in Twin Lakes Alaska. Not a big deal? It was. He built the cabin himself, and keep in mind this was the late 1960s Alaska. Not Anchorage. You could walk in or fly in. No roads, anywhere. His time alone was filmed, mostly by him, and sometimes by his friends who flew in for hunting trips. Alone In The Wilderness still airs from time to time on PBS, and when I watch it I always turn to my wife and say, “We should move to Alaska.”
6. The Way: This gets thrown in not because it is about a wilderness experience, because it isn’t. It’s about a journey. I’ve seen the Camino, and stepped foot on it, but to tell the truth I don’t have the urge to hike it. It’s paved, and you stay in hostels the entire way. Not my kind of backpacking experience. But, it is a recognized Roman Catholic tradition, so maybe I will. This is a decent film, and my son told me to add it because he liked it. Not a lot of danger, or wilderness, but maybe there is something inside us to make up for it.
7. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure: His bike is stolen, and he’s on a mission. He is assisted in his quest by a waitress who wants to travel, Satan’s Helpers (a biker gang), and Large Marge the trucker. Tequila!