• My short bio: I am an entrepreneur, activist, mom, and author. I collaborated with both Jon Krakauer and Sean Penn on the book and film for Into the Wild, which portrayed my brother's story of hiking across the country and into the wilderness of Alaska.

  • My Proof: click here

  • More about our story: www.carinemccandless.com

  • Find me on: Facebook | Twitter

  • EDIT: Thanks so much for your thoughtful questions, everyone! I need to step away now, but it was great talking to you. I hope you'll continue to connect with me on social media. If you're able to see me on tour, I'd love to say hello in person. More info here.

Comments: 91 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

killerbuddhist31 karma

What didn't get into the movie that you would most like for the rest of us to know about Chris?

CarineMcCandless52 karma

The answers to the lingering "why" questions that led to misconceptions about the reasons Chris left the way he did, the decisions he made. Not in his defense...just for those that seek inspiration from him to have the facts, know how much he was hurting. The greatest inspiration comes from truth. He taught me that.

ultrachronic22 karma

Hi Carine.

How well did Emile Hirsch portray your brother in the movie?

CarineMcCandless40 karma

Emile worked hard to understand Chris & portray him as well as anyone could that had never met him.

Mattgardner22 karma

Are you scheduling time to breathe? Reading the book now. 'Not bad McCandless'. :)

CarineMcCandless43 karma

Get outta here Matt, these are for the people that don't have access to talk to me on any given day! :)

CarineMcCandless11 karma

and thanks

CarineMcCandless13 karma

keep reading

adomaniac22 karma

Despite the tragic ending, the impression I got from the book was that he wanted to experience true freedom in a way you can't get from the rat race.

Despite the dangers, would you suggest this kind of action to someone who wants to experience that kind of freedom?

CarineMcCandless27 karma

Each person has to analyze this for themselves. I suggest that people puch themselves outside of their comfort zones, often, yes. The greatest rewards often come from the toughest journeys, this is well known. But I also advise people, if this is going to be a dangerous undertaking that they feel they must do for themselves, that they get proper training, experience. This comes down to self awareness of the person and what they are undertaking.

succapunch322 karma

Carine- I am blown away by Chris's adventures, especially in Alaska. One thing I like about your book is that you took the journey to the magic bus. How difficult did you find the river crossing and what did you pack as bear deterrent? Thx.

CarineMcCandless23 karma

Go to this website www.stampedetrail.info for more info

You can also see a video on my website about the trek, it's the long one, almost 15 minutes I think. www.carinemccandless.com

Bear spray from REI, and other hikers that live in Alaska had guns, but all those from Alaska agreed that the bear spray was the best all around deterrent.

River crossing was extremely difficult emotionally. We hiked the Stampede trail in late May, in a rare window where it was running low enough & slow enough to make a safe group crossing. This window can easily change with the season.

I have been to the bus 3 times. First in 2007 with Jon Krakauer by helicopter. 2nd with the group in the video, hiked in and out, May 2014 3rd time with two of my sisters Shelly & Shawna, again by helicopter, (and also with the film crew from ABC /PBS. That documentary airs on PBS November 25th if you want to check it out.

manatreepose21 karma

Chris was driven to escape. You were not. What do you think the difference was?

CarineMcCandless62 karma

He found healing going headstrong away from society. I found healing charging headstrong into society. We had as many differences as we did similarities, but we understood each other better than anyone else ever did.

Rahn_Buhrgundy17 karma

How was your personal relationship with your brother?

CarineMcCandless30 karma

We were quite close. We understood each other the way others didn't..understood all that haunted one another.

Eternally6516 karma


CarineMcCandless30 karma

No need to apologize. I work with students across the country where Into the Wild is required reading and I speak openly about Chris's mistakes as much as his successes, because I know Chris would want students to learn from him. Of course he understood it was dangerous, that was the whole point, to push himself to the edge and survive to tell about it. Unfortunately he did not survive. The answer to your specific question, about why he would put himself willingly in harms way while having an incredible love for life, is well flushed out in Jon's book. Jon shared a side of Chris that I honestly couldn’t…he related to him as a young male, an extreme adventurer that took great risks, a young man that had a charged relationship with his own father…and now I’ve shared that personal insight that only I can, that fills in the rest of the story and tells who Chris was beyond the literary icon he has become.

Eternally653 karma


CarineMcCandless31 karma

Understand, This was not Chris's first adventure where he carried limited resources with him. He had done this for many years before heading into Alaska, and had, in fact, been to Alaska before several years before his fateful journey that is now so well known.

lanerr15 karma

What has changed over the past 20 years such that you want to reveal the truth about your parents and home life, whereas you did not before? I have taught your brother's story to many English classes over the years, and we discuss inherent bias in the various sources that tell his story---Into the Wild in its book and movie forms obviously, but also the letters you and your sisters posted on his website, among other articles/blogs, etc. What can I tell my students is your motivation for writing this book now? Thank you for being so accessible. It is wonderful to be able to interact with a story in real time as opposed to something being an untouchable piece of literature.

CarineMcCandless13 karma

Great question, and I'm so glad you're here. Working with students is incredibly rewarding for me because I believe we reach these kids at an age of opportunity, when they are deciding who they want to be and laying that true foundation for who they will become. I wrote this book to honor Chris, who believed that truth was paramount in life and in learning, to share my story and that of my surviving siblings in order to empower others that face tough circumstances, specifically domestic violence. Too many people still suffer in silence, and that’s something I understand…it took me 20 years to write this book, and I’m confident it will help others to find their own voice. Along with that, I’ve been fortunate to witness overwhelming and uplifting reactions from the countless people I’ve offered a new perspective to, and these experiences made me appreciate that I had something important to share. I’m finally ready to share it with as many people as possible.

thecinncinnatus13 karma

I found you on Facebook several years ago and told you how Chris and his life had changed mine. You responded with: "I hope this message finds you and finds you well." I never could respond to you because your message needed no reply. I just wanted to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to say (what happened to be) exactly what I needed to hear to stay strong and move on to do great things in my life. My question is, did you ever meet anyone that Chris spent significant time with on the road, and could you confirm they knew him by something he told them that only you or your family would know?

CarineMcCandless11 karma

Thank you for this, the benefit is largely mine. It is this that makes the loss of Chris more bearable. I met several of the people that Chris met on his travels, that Jon writes about, and yes, some others, but Chris really didn't spend a "significant" amount of time with anyone other than himself. Take care, and honor each day. Thanks for being here.

Steven562410 karma

Thank you so much for putting the book out!

  1. What do you think Chris would say about all the people who admire him and his journey if he were with us today?

  2. Since you know Chris best, what piece(s) of advice do you think he would give to the world?

CarineMcCandless19 karma

  1. I don't think he would understand what all the fuss is about. He didn't see himself as remarkable.
  2. Make yourself happy, because only you can. Live your life with pure intent. Live your life honestly.

terracedteal8 karma

I'd love to know, how did your story begin?

CarineMcCandless16 karma

That's a very long answer :) It took an entire book to explain.

terracedteal9 karma

I foolishly asked the question before visiting your website. I'm very much looking forward to reading your book!

CarineMcCandless10 karma

thanks, no worries :)

sfnic7 karma

How would you say the movie version of him compared to who he really was?

CarineMcCandless23 karma

A portrayal of someone is just that, a portrayal. Sean Penn did an excellent job with accuracy as much as that can happen with a dramatization. The entire cast & crew was very sensitive to getting it "right". It was a powerful experience. Good people. I think it honors Chris well.

musicalbenj6 karma

Hi Carine. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a family member in such a tragic way. How did you feel when you found out about your brother's death?

CarineMcCandless18 karma

I couldn't breathe. I wanted the world to stop turning, didn't want to imagine a day without him. But I have found peace and I feel that he is still with me and that he was with me in spirit, definitely, while I wrote this book, and in my every day life.

MST3Kimber4 karma

Hi Carine! Thank you for doing this AMA. Your brother has become a sort of folk hero to many, and I was just wondering: what is it about your brother that you most want your children to know about him? Is there anything you DON'T want them to know about him?

I can't wait to read your book!

CarineMcCandless11 karma

Thanks, and I look forward to you reading it. I want my daughters to know what a pure soul he was. He wasn't perfect, he knew that. He made mistakes but he accepted responsibility for them and learned from them, and moved forward in everything he did, in a positive direction, with pure intent. And I want them to know that he loves them and watches over them...I truly believe this. There is nothing I would not want them to know about him. He was who he was. And they can learn from every part of him.

RonaldPitre4 karma

What all is left up at the bus? And have you been there recently?

CarineMcCandless7 karma

Yes, see above. Bus is still there, but quite dilapidated. You can see a picture from my most recent visit on my website in the gallery, and also toward the end of my book beside the author's note

canadian_eh1824 karma

What is your most memorable moment with your brother?

CarineMcCandless7 karma

Wow. Good question. It's a long book...probably proof that I cannot answer this question in this short format. Some of these moments have been in person and some have been spiritually. I explain this in the book in detail. Didn't believe in that stuff until it happened to me, many times.

shouldbeworking234 karma

Sorry about your brother... he was a true inspiration and glad to see he led life to the fullest. Are you mad at him for going on the crazy adventure and how it all ended?

CarineMcCandless14 karma

No, not at all. It wasn't about him being selfish. It was about his being very self aware. It wasn't a crazy adventure. It was exactly what he felt he needed to do to make himself happy, to find peace. That's the sanest way to live life in my opinion.

Tombro24 karma

Hi Carine, Just received your book today, and look forward to reading it. I really enjoyed reading Chris' story and seeing the movie and loved his innocent, altruism. My favorite quote of his was 'happiness only real if shared'. Did he realize this too late, or was this his essence, his philosophy, through his life?

CarineMcCandless4 karma

You will find this answer in the book, I promise. It's not a short answer :) Thank you for reading it.

strategydc4 karma

Books out, a huge feat, are you enjoying the process?

CarineMcCandless13 karma

I am proud. I am exhausted. I am hungry! :)

Carolinarmfigueira2 karma

Hi Carine. Through the book, Jon pretty much exposes the causes that may helped Chris to think of disappearing, and as we all know cutting the relationship with his parents was the most important one. I haven't read your book yet but as I'm checking your interviews about the book, it seems that you go really deep on the fact that your parents are guilty for Chris's death. Why did you want to write your side of the story 20 years after Into the Wild? What's the impact that you wanted your book to reach? Your fan, Carolina - Brazil

CarineMcCandless10 karma

Hi Carolina, actually, listen carefully when you see me on video, and understand there may be misquotes if it's a print interview. I have never said, I don't believe, that I blame my parents for Chris's death. He made his own decisions to place himself into precarious situations. I only hold them accountable for his disappearance. Their behavior is, in large part, what fueled Chris to push himself to such extremes, and why he had to do it alone.

Sluggworth1 karma

Why didn't Chris take a map with him?

CarineMcCandless17 karma

I don't answer for him. Jon gives a good interpretation of this, and can understand it well. What I can say is that Chris believed that if you knew exactly where you're adventure was leading, it wasn't much of an adventure.