Carine McCandless

Author of The Wild Truth and consultant and contributor for Jon Krakauer's book and Sean Penn's critically acclaimed film Into the Wild.

Carine McCandless at Virginia Wesleyan College
  • About Carine McCandless

    Carine McCandless is an entrepreneur, activist and mother. She has been successfully self-employed since she started her first company at the age of nineteen. Her unique skill set lends itself well to a wide variety of lecture topics and she has spoken to education and corporate venues across the United States. McCandless’ memoir, The Wild Truth, was released in November 2014.

    Carine McCandless is the sister of literary icon Chris McCandless, a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp, whose life story captured the hearts of millions of people around the world. She played a vital role in the success of Into the Wild, the internationally bestselling book written by Jon Krakauer. Krakauer endorses McCandless as “a gifted communicator, she is engaging, inspiring, and bracingly outspoken.” Into the Wild sold millions of copies in the U.S. alone, spent a remarkable 119 straight weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, is printed in thirty-one languages and is required reading at universities all over the globe including the U.S., U.K., Italy, Germany, Canada and France.

    McCandless also worked closely with Academy Award-winning actor and writer/director Sean Penn on his critically acclaimed film adaptation of Into the Wild. An accomplished writer, she received screen credit for her script contributions and narrative throughout the film, working alongside Penn, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds, and actress Jena Malone who portrays Carine McCandless. During the making of the film, McCandless worked as a direct consultant to Penn and provided valuable insight to many of the actors including protagonist Emile Hirsch and Academy Award-winner Marcia Gay Harden.

    She has been interviewed for such widely read publications as Outside Magazine, The New Yorker as well as the Los Angeles Times and has appeared on national television broadcasts such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Sunday Morning and ABC News 20/20.

    She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her two daughters.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Wild Truth

    In this personal and inspiring lecture, Carine McCandless shares poignant anecdotes, personal photographs and video to provide a rare inside look into the amazing life and legacy of her brother, Chris McCandless, a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp, and her own journey into a life without him. She discusses the valuable lessons she has learned through chosen paths in life, concluding with her recent hike to the abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness where her brother spent his final days.

    Into The Wild Truth of Education

    Speaking to students and educators, in this lecture Carine McCandless extends the powerful lessons learned from Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild–which has been taught in classes for almost two decades–with the raw and honest stories from her memoir The Wild Truth. McCandless connects with today’s generation in a rare form, providing personal insight and taking their experience with an assigned text to a level of understanding and value that will remain with them beyond the classroom. Dr. Douglas Kennedy, laudable professor at Virginia Wesleyan College said of McCandless’ visit: ”Never had I seen the students so riveted and hanging on a speaker’s every word. Her message, delivery, warmth, and connection was like none other I had seen.”

    Not Your Typical Corporate Conference

    Typical slides with statistics and pie charts are entirely absent when Carine McCandless addresses corporate audiences. Instead, her presentations are filled with personal anecdotes about the drive and vision that have kept her successfully self-employed since the age of nineteen. Whether the topic is productive staff management based on respect and motivation to build a team of leaders or developing a network of loyal customers, McCandless shares her advice on what it takes for businesses to stand apart from the crowd.

    Difficult Journeys…To Great and Unexpected Places

    Empowering women is one of the most important things Carine McCandless works to achieve through her lectures and writing. Speaking to women from all walks of life, she pulls from her own experience overcoming adversity: as a survivor of domestic violence through adolescence into adulthood, as a successful young entrepreneur in a male dominated field, amidst her relationship failures and successes, and in her unexpected roles as a mother. McCandless shares how her absolute greatest rewards have been found at the end of some incredibly difficult journeys.

    Special Needs, Special Parenting

    Having overcome the devastating effects of a tumultuous childhood, McCandless determined early in life that the best way to break the cycle of bad parenting was to never become a parent herself. But as they say; People plan…God laughs. From her own history as an unprepared adoptive mother of a two year old in crisis, to raising her newborn diagnosed with Down Syndrome, McCandless shares how her children have been the absolute greatest gift, and the best source of calm in her sometimes chaotic life. Her thoughtful presentation assures audiences that the most unexpected events in life can reveal the most important lessons.

  • Video

  • Praise for Carine McCandless

    Carine’s presentation inspired everyone at the conference and we were so fortunate to have her as our keynote speaker!  Everyone that I spoke to had wonderful things to say about her presentation.  She truly is a remarkable person and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to get to know her better during our conference.

    President, Virginia Government Finance Officers Association

    Literature comes alive when Carine McCandless shares her remarkable and forthright insights about her brother and the book about his life, <em>Into the Wild</em>.  Moreover, her gentle delivery of her brother’s adventure encourages our students to connect the written word with philosophical ideas…Carine challenged their preconceptions about Chris, their own lives and the world in which they will live. Her lessons reach into each student’s subconscious where they resonate for life.

    Westfield High School

    I wanted to express my gratitude for and recognition of the wonderful and amazing talk presented by Carine McCandless. Her presentation touched the hearts, souls and minds of all who were present. The Freshmen class was honored and blessed to have a speaker who took the time and forethought to research the college support offerings and intertwining the information into her talk.

    Virginia Wesleyan College

    At the Cooperative Leadership Institute, we are constantly in search of the most meaningful and relevant lessons to share with our clients.  Carine McCandless opened our annual speaker series with her message on “Courage in Life and Business.”  She seamlessly wove stories of <em>Into the Wild</em> with feats from her personal and professional lives.  Unanimously well-received, the event was fast-paced, touching, insightful, and beautiful to witness.  Carine has a message that will inspire each one of us to better friends, colleagues, and leaders – a rare treasure, indeed.

    Cooperative Leadership Institute

    Carine kicked off our most recent seminar series speaking on the subject of Courage. After her visit I had countless employees stop by my office or catch me in the hallway to comment on and thank me for bringing her to our company. Her message was received in a very special way. One employee told me that they had never before thought of themselves as courageous, but after listening to Carine speak they now know that they do have that courage inside of them. Others were so touched and moved by her words that they came to tears during our conversations. She touched many of our employees in a deeper and more meaningful way than I thought possible through our seminar and speaker series. Carine is truly gifted in what she does, and although I never had the honor of knowing her brother, I am sure I am correct when I say he would be very proud of his little sister.

    B.F. Saul Company

    Never had I seen the students so riveted and hanging on a speaker’s every word.  Her message, delivery, warmth, and connection was like none other I had seen. Where it had taken me several weeks until my students were completely comfortable opening up to me, Carine was able to achieve that same feat in minutes.  Carine’s gentle nature provided the support for everyone to participate in the discussion and some of my quietest students shared their thoughts like never before.  I have had countless guest speakers assist me over the years. None has approached the effect she has on an audience. Carine’s message of perseverance, overcoming difficulty, and making the most out of life is not a tale of sorrow related to her brother’s death.  Instead, it is a story of life; hers, her brother’s, and how her audience can get the most out of theirs.

    Virginia Wesleyan College

    Carine knows vastly more about what made Chris tick than anyone I’ve spoken to, and is the only one who seems to understand what motivated him to hitchhike to Alaska and walk alone into the wilderness. Carine’s contributions both to my book and Sean’s film were huge.  For the first two decades of Carine’s life, Chris had been her soul mate and confidant.  A gifted communicator, she is engaging, inspiring, and bracingly outspoken.  Without a question, nobody on earth is more qualified to talk about Chris McCandless than Carine McCandless, the little sister he so adored.

    Jon Krakauer
  • Books by Carine McCandless

  • Media About Carine McCandless

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Carine McCandless travels from Virginia Beach, Virginia

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