There were many individual characteristics that combined to form the complicated person who was Chris McCandless. Because of that, there are many quotes and passages that reveal various aspects of his personality. Fortunately, some passages provide information and insights regarding multiple characteristics. One such passage addresses the beginning of Chris's adventure:
...The trip was to be an odyssey in the fullest sense of the word, an epic journey that would change everything. He had spent the previous four years, as he saw it, preparing to fulfill an absurd and onerous duty: to graduate from college. At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence.
Driving west out of Atlanta, he intended to invent an utterly new life for himself, one on which he would be free to wallow in unfiltered experience..he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny.
On another occasion referred to in the book, Wayne Westerberg's mother discusses a side of McCandless that provided motivation for his undertakings.
"There was something fascinating about him...Alex struck me as much older than twenty-four. Everything I said, he'd demand to know more about what I meant, about why I thought this way or that. He was hungry to learn about things. Unlike most of us, he was the sort of person who insisted on living out his beliefs."