Departing May 8 in the footsteps of Chris McCandless

salvation mountain

Salvation Mountain: A highlight of the Chris McCandless Tour.

My departure date is set! The Meander commences on May 7. (What’s the Meander?)

People have asked why I’m waiting until May. First, there’s nowhere in the U.S. I’d rather spend springtime than Arizona. Second, my Tempe Leadership commitment doesn’t end until graduation on May 3. So there you have it.

Brothers Birthweek is jumping up a notch in 2013. (Here are pics from Brothers Birthweek 2012.)

On May 7, we’re seeing Built to Spill at Crescent Ballroom. On May 8, we’re embarking on the first leg of my trip: The Chris McCandless Tour. We’ll explore the deserts of Southern California for three days before I put him on a flight back to Phoenix in San Diego.

I know. Chris who? Chris McCandless (a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp) is the foolish adventurer who donated $25,000 to charity, cut off ties with his family and friends, and wandered the West until he starved to death in an abandoned bus near Denali National Park in Alaska.

McCandless’s story was popularized by Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild and Sean Penn’s movie of the same name. Eddie Vedder’s song below is just dope on a rope.

Into the Wild-themed stops will include the Salton Sea, Salvation Mountain, and Slab City. We’ll also explore Joshua Tree National Park and I may try to drag my brother through the General Patton Memorial Museum.

McCandless, the Into the Wild character, not the man himself, is one of several inspirations for the Meander. To me, his journey was a protest against materialism and an attempt to live one day at a time—to live in the now. Of course, he was also an extremist and isolationist. Trust me, I don’t plan to go off the grid. I doubt McCandless would’ve started a blog.

I’m inspired by the concept of McCandless’s journey as one of exploration and discovery – both external and internal. May 8 can’t get here soon enough!

My itinerary is very fluid. Know a can’t-miss spot? Got a friend with a couch? Let me know in the comments!