ByPaula Lemos, writer at
22. Brazilian. Advertising student. Frustrated script writer. Loves beaches, sun, music, movies, books, fashion and cooking/eating.

I have always been fascinated with cultures and the idea of being a tiny, small, insignificant being in the middle of 7 billion people in more than 200 countries. When I was 14 I was in the middle of an existential crisis, I had to go to a different school, had to take lots of tests to do so because I wanted to go to the best public high school in my state, I was also spending lots of time watching and loving the infamous High School Musical - and of course Zac Efron - and while all that, I was hopelessly enchanted by the idea of freedom I had just discovered by reading Jon Krakauer's book, 'Into the Wild'.

That reading changed my life in ways I was only able to analyse now, 10 years after, while living the most insane time. Of course before that I had already been tremendously influenced by the american TV series 'The OC' - what a dream to go to California, listen to Phantom Planet's one hit wonder homonym song while 'driving down the 101', wearing sun glasses, hair in the wind, feeling the sea breeze. But Into The Wild was so much more than the glamour, dream-like and the pleasure California could give me.

scene from Into the Wild, 2007 - Paramount
scene from Into the Wild, 2007 - Paramount

It starts when Christopher Mccandless decides the life he's been living is too shallow, donates all his saving, rips off all his documents, grab a back and decides he wants to go to Alaska. He works, he meets great people along the way, changes lots of lives including his own, get to observe the nature, and live life to the extremes. The book also contain lots of technical aspects, since the author also do this kinds of adventures. But you don't have the time to read it, watch it. Sean Penn directed an amazing version of this piece of art and life and he was so great doing it that the phrase that the book is always better is just not true. Emile Hirsch making Christopher 'Supertramp' Mccandless is simply genius and faithful to what we see and feel while reading.

After the story that changed my life, I just couldn't stop myself from reading stuff of this kind and even without wanting it. I got myself unconsciously reading to lots of authors that inspired Chris and lots of people who were inspired by him... Jack London, Kerouac, Aaron Ralston, Truffault.... I was almost going to therapy to fix that in me... my mom was worried I was going to run away and go to the Amazon forest. But then I just accepted life and personality. And my mom too.

The I turned 20, had my own money and enough age, I got myself a tattoo of the five symbols I think means the most for me: a cross (faith), a heart (love), a peace and love sign (I was a hippie in another life), a bird (it flies) and an anchor (the oceans that connects the continents and the stability that keeps me on the ground) and when I turned 21 I got another one, a Compass Rose in my spine. This is what I want to be when I grow up: a traveller,a citizen of the world.

Now, as a 22 years old grown up with two wanderlust tattoos and lots of beach knowledge, I moved to Ireland to stay away from all the people I know and love, to learn new things and live new experiences - probably getting another tattoo while in Europe and I figure out, that even though this adventure is safer than his, this is my 'Supertramp' time. This is the time I have to think about everything I have lived and mostly be grateful by all that because life has been good, kind, funny and fulfilled with load of love and happiness.

While writing this paragraph I am listening to 'Southern Cross' by Crosby, Stills and Nash and this constellation means a lot because I know that when I see it again, it will mean I am back to south, back home. But while not there, I am just appreciating the view of Ursa Major. And these references reminds me of this history, of this human-being who died the year before I was born.

Into the Wild truly changed my life and when I was leaving my beloved country to come to strange and foreigner lands, I received so much support from my family I just wasn't feeling afraid any more, I was eager to live and leave. And I still am.


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