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Home » Your DNA Does Not Define You: Carine McCandless (Full Transcript)

Your DNA Does Not Define You: Carine McCandless (Full Transcript)

Carine McCandless

In this TEDx Talk, best-selling author Carine McCandless shares the power of bringing your life into focus and living your truth; lessons she learned from her brother, Chris McCandless, subject of the iconic book & movie Into the Wild.

The following is the full text and summary of Carine McCandless’ talk titled “Your DNA Does Not Define You” at TEDxEmory conference.


I’d like to thank Emory University for asking me here to speak today.

I’m really not here to give you a lecture, I’m here to tell you a story.

The last time I was on this campus was almost 26 years ago. I was here to watch my older brother, Chris, graduate with honors. It was my first trip to the college.

I remember watching Chris stroll confidently across the quad lawn, accepting his diploma on stage. We were very close, and I was a good girl but I wasn’t shy. And Chris had made it very clear that he had absolutely zero interest in keeping track of his little sister around college boys.

Of course, I had no idea that trip to Emory would be the last time that I would see my brother alive.

Two years later, his body was found in an old abandoned bus that had no engine, yet it was miles and miles from the nearest road, in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. He was only 24 years old. There was a lot of mystery surrounding his death, and that intrigued an avid outdoorsman and gifted writer named Jon Krakauer.

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