McCandless used to hunt porcupines, squirrels, and birds like ptarmigans and Canada geese. He unlawfully tracked and shot a moose on June 9, 1992. However, the meat rotted within days when McCandless' efforts to preserve it failed. He also tried to burn his belongings but gave up after two days.
In July 1992, he abandoned his car near Koyukon River in Denali National Park & Preserve and never returned. Police found his body eight months later. An autopsy showed that he had died of starvation.
Before he left for Alaska, McCandless worked as a bus driver in Maryland for three years. From 1986 to 1990, he drove students to and from school every day except Sunday. During that time, he also visited Japan five times and Germany twice. His parents said that he saw these trips as training missions for when he became an airline pilot.
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After approximately a month, McCandless is hunting and eating squirrels, porcupines, and spruce grouse on a regular basis. He eats lingonberries and rose hips from the area and climbs a neighboring butte. McCandless kills a moose on June 9, 1992, and is so pleased of his accomplishment that he photographs the carcass. The picture runs in the local paper and brings him many visitors.
After killing the moose, McCandless builds a small fire on the ground to cook it over. He cuts up the meat and carries it inside his tent to eat later. That night, a group of teenagers driving through the area see the fire and think it's dangerous; they call police who arrest McCandless for violating park regulations by cooking food without a permit. He claims not to know about the regulations and offers a $150,000 reward for their safe return. When asked why he doesn't just leave the park like most other tourists, he says that he has no desire to be cured of this experience by going back home to reality.
Police release McCandless after three days because there's no evidence that he harmed himself or others while in the park. He returns home on August 1, 1992.
In April 1992, he set off into the Alaskan tundra with little food and tools, aiming to live simply for a period in solitude. McCandless' famished remains, weighing barely 30 kg, were discovered nearly four months later (66 lb). He had died of starvation.
McCandless was a 21-year-old American student who had been living in Russia for the previous year. After breaking up with his girlfriend, he returned to the United States alone, planning to find other young people like himself who would agree to move to Alaska and live cheaply for several years. He believed that by taking advantage of government programs, he could afford to give up income forever.
His plan failed when he had to work to survive. He took a job as a naturalist's assistant at a wildlife refuge near Fairbanks, but was fired after only a few weeks because of poor performance. Frustrated, he sold all of his belongings and moved to a secluded spot near the Aniak River in Denali National Park and Preserve, hoping to start anew. But there were no other young people like him in this area, so he decided to travel across America looking for others like himself. His journey ended in April 1992 when he ran out of money and food and was found dead by hunters who had spotted his tent earlier that month.
On July 6, 1990, McCandless arrived at Lake Mead's Detrital Wash and was trapped in a flash flood, which soaked his engine. He buried the rifle he was carrying and set fire to all of his money. The next day, rescuers found his body.
Burning your cash is a common behavior for people who are either depressed or have a substance abuse problem. Depression can make you feel like giving up even when you've got plenty of money, while drugs can be used to self-medicate if you need something to calm you down or give you energy. Burning your cash is just another way of saying "good money after bad."
People who go through financial difficulties often say they want to spend less than they make. But what many of them really mean is that they want to spend more than they make. They may want to show off their wealth to others, or maybe they just want to enjoy themselves once in a while. No matter why they do it, burning your cash is a habit that will hurt you in the long run.
Every time you spend your cash, you're making a decision about how to use your money. If you don't have enough of it, then you're deciding whether to save it or buy something frivolous.