The Last True Hermit.

Photo Credit © 2015 Condé Nast

Most of us have enjoyed a normal life. We lived at home, we studied at school, and we played sports. We celebrated holidays, ate at restaurants and spent time with our friends. A simple, happy life.

But what if one day, one of us wakes up and decides “No More.” And then just leaves and never comes back.

Imagine if that person is you. Where would you go? What would you do? Would you ever return?

That’s why the story of Christopher McKnight is so eerie. Because he did exactly that — in real life. This is a true story.

Chris McKnight was a normal guy born in Maine. He had a big family — 4 older brothers and one sister. He had good grades in high school and become an alarm system technician after graduating college.

But, then one day, in 1986, he was driving through Maine….and kept going. He was 20 years old, and he never came back to society.

He lived in the woods of Maine for…27 years! 27 years of complete isolation. No phone, no internet, no GPS. He stayed in a nylon tent, stole food to eat and kept warm with propane tanks. He became a true hermit.

He was recently caught after two decades, and this is where his fascinating story was revealed. The author of the story, Michael Finkel, wrote letters and interviewed him while he was reacclimatizing back into society.

Some of the fascinating tidbits that I took away:

  • What did he do? To pass the time, he was a voracious reader. He spent most of the years reading hundreds of books — with a preference for military history.
  • Why did he disappear? He left because the woods were the only place in the world where he found peace and contentment.
  • What did he think about? Over the years, he lost his identity. Since there were no people, so he didn’t need to perform or act. He didn’t even have to remember his name. He was free to just…be.
  • What was his deepest learning? Get enough sleep.

Chris’s story might be far from normal. But it’s still a fascinating reminder that no matter, you choose the life you want to lead.

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