May 28, 2013

Matt and his Honda Trail 110

“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,

A Few Sketchy Moments (Blog),

Matt is on Instagram too,

Matt Whitehead (Korduroy TV).

10 Comments



  • May 28 , 2013

    Good story man. I myself will be traveling the west for the month of June living out of my pick-up with no real plans. As the time gets closer to head out, I find myself a little anxious that I’ve made little plans or preparations. Stories like Matt’s remind me of the beauty of the unexpected.


  • May 28 , 2013

    Eric,
    plans rarely work out. hope you have a blast. where are you heading?

    foster


  • May 28 , 2013

    What a brave man!

    I’ve been in the process of letting go of the structure of a traditional lifestyle for a bit. I recently dropped everything to join a conservation corps & I’ve been traveling & working in the beautiful forests of the Southwest – I’ve never been happier. Best decision ever. It’s stories like this, men like you & Matt, that inspire my wild adventures. Thanks.

    Melanie


  • May 29 , 2013

    Taking off from Idaho into Montana for a few days then down central Oregon to Yosemite and back up PCH from San Fran area to Washington. At least that’s the “plan” now. We’ll see where the wind blows us.


  • May 30 , 2013

    Melanie,
    The southwest is a great place to dirt bag around. hope its not too hot yet.

    ERic,
    That sounds like a great path. i’d take two months. thats a lot of driving

    foster


  • June 3 , 2013

    I have to say that i am more than a little jealous, I want to do what you guys are doing but just seem to be trapped in the rut of work and responsibilities that never seem to go away, I guess thats the choice we all have to make but if I had my time again I know what I would choose. good luck on your journey.


  • June 5 , 2013

    Patrick,
    How old are you?

    foster


  • June 6 , 2013

    I met Matt a couple summers ago on a ferry out on Victoria Island. We were both in the middle of our respective bicycle tours. You meet some great folks when traveling.


  • June 6 , 2013

    Andrew,
    You meet the best people while traveling. In my opinion. Matt is the real deal.
    foster


  • Stew
    June 9 , 2013

    I think you mean deep-seeded, not deep seated.