I have always enjoyed being outside.
As a kid, I would go outside and run around barefoot as often as I could.
Throughout my youth, like most teenagers would do, I rebelled and lost that childlike wonder for some time and then was suffocated by what I thought the world wanted me to be.
At a young age, I was forced to mature quicker than most people my age.
I become very self-aware quickly and wanted to learn more about who I was.
I started to openly express myself more. I started practicing peace. And I found myself most at peace when I was embracing the world around me.
I read a book. Watched a movie. That I will never forget and forever be grateful for.
Have you ever read a book and/or movie and you just knew it was exactly what you needed at the time?
There’s a movie titled Into The Wild directed by the one and only Sean Penn that, in my opinion, is the greatest movie to ever exist.
If you have not seen this movie, I highly suggest watching it. Whether you are a nature lover like myself or not. There are some incredible life lessons to be learned throughout the film.
Just a little intro, the movie is based on the true story of an adventurer named Christopher Johnson McCandless (RIP).
McCandless was from a wealthy family who valued mostly material possessions and Chris thought much more radically. His family, in his words, were off living their lies somewhere. Their lives, in fact, were all based on lies. His parents fought constantly. But, his sister and he remained close and were both like-minded. Chris didn’t value “things” in life. He searched for meaning. He searched for purpose. He went out into the world to find that purpose and to finally find himself for who he really was.
His family wanted him to go to college, which he wasn’t interested in doing whatsoever, but did so anyways; and after he graduated, Chris finally broke free. He burned all of his money and hitchhiked across country, living off the land and the generosity of others. His main goal: Alaska. Because Alaska to him, was a big as can be.
I do not want to give too much away about the film and story of McCandless, but when I saw that film for the first time, I will admit…I wept. I have never cried more in my life from a movie. I didn’t know what came over me. All of a sudden everything clicked. I felt so emotionally connected and drawn to McCandless’ story. He reminded me a lot of myself.
Over the years now, I go outside like I did as a child, every chance I can get.
It’s not uncommon to see me hanging from a tree on campus or walking around barefoot.
I enjoy embracing all the earth has to offer. Because it really does have so much to offer.
I am the most at peace chasing a sunset or gazing at a mountain. I feel whole.
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up? Get the best stories from The Good Men Project delivered straight to your inbox, here.
Photo credit: Getty Images