#ichooselove, zachary, part 5

Zachary and his own adventure in to the wild…

In the 1990′s when the story of Christopher McCandless became main stream I was intrigued. I saw so many connections between the way McCandless was presented to live and think and the way my brother did.

  • They were similar in age.
  • They were both middle class white males.
  • They both had troubled relationships with their parents.
  • They both had dreams that they followed through on of epic adventure in the United States.
  • They both intentionally bucked American norms and desired separation from organized society.
  • They both were incredibly intelligent and loved to read.


  • They both had a seemingly complete and utter lack of common sense.

I’m not trying to romanticize Zachary and his journey. Unlike McCandless, Zach was addicted to drugs. He made lots of poor choices that hurt others outside of himself. He journeyed through the wilds of urbanity vs the wide open spaces of our wilderness. He was not McCandless and yet had so many similarities.

3 weeks before McCandless died he is said to have scrawled, “Happiness only real when shared”

Though Zachary may have never directly expressed this to me in words he did in other ways. Happiness, loneliness, fear… He made these feelings reality by collect calls from random destinations, quick passes through town, occasionally attempting to settle down and stay for good. I believe these are the things Zach would do when he needed to confirm his reality, his existence, his experience. And in a way I think these calls and visits home did just that, confirmed all the dreams and mostly the nightmares he had lived while he was on the streets, which is also why he could never stay…

There is one other stark similarity between Zachary and McCandless…
One I didn’t know of when I first heard of McCandless in the 90′s.

The very adventures that in ways brought them life, also brought them both premature death…

Zachary Zamecki was hitchhiking across country in June 2001. The car was in an accident in Northern California just outside of the small town of Eureka. He was ejected from it because he was not wearing a seat belt. Airlifted as a John Doe it took over a week for the hospital to locate us. After two months in a coma Zachary passed away.

April 26th would have been Zach’s 39th birthday. I am holding an art show commemorating him. All proceeds from sales at the show will benefit homeless and runaway youth.