"Have you ever had your shit stolen?"
"Three times," Matt said casually, as if discussing how many times per year he cuts his hair. "Last time I was in Mexico, banditos showed up in the middle of the night with assault rifles and took everything."
"Even your passport?"
"No, they let us keep those," Matt said, grabbing his sleeping bag from a dry bag.
"Well at least they were considerate," I joked. "How has the ride down from BC been?"
"The CT's been great. Oregon and Washington were a little brutal," Matt said in a thick Australian accent. "I drove through Oregon in a day and a half."
To my untrained ear, it sounded like Irish. That combined with his short stature reminded me uncontrovertibly of a leprechaun. "I'm sure," I interjected. "I grew up in Portland. I would have gotten the fuck out of there too."
"Well I did. The rain was crazy."
"If you ever have the chance, you should check it out in late summer. Its pretty special."
Matt works in stints in construction or as a plumber back home in Australia. When he gets fed up, he travels and surfs until he runs out of money. He's been in this pattern for the last 15 years. It's taken him all over the world. I first heard about Matt's travels through my friend Cyrus Sutton. A few years back, Cy and Matt went on a trip to Iceland. Cy often speaks of Matt's commitment to the traveling life and ability to make it with very little resources. Matt is a rare breed.
By most accounts, Cy's and myself included, Matt's travels are that of character from a Krackauer book. He relinquishes the culture expectations yet has a deep seated trust in the people he meets. Talking with him left me with the sense that I could be roughing it a lot more than I am. My life in my camper felt safe and calculated compared to his travels on his Honda.
I wished him safe travels on his trip through Baja. I told him that with any luck, he'll catch that last Northern Hemisphere swell of the season. A week later, I was in San Diego with Cyrus when we got word that he had everything stolen from by some banditos in Northern Baja. I wasn't surprised or scared for him. Out of anyone I know, he could handle being trapped in the desert with nothing to his name.
Here are some more links,
Matt is on Instagram too,