Born Wanderer

Born Wanderer

Words & Photos / Matt Wild

Most Alaskans are born wanderers. This place is so big and there’s a lot to see and a lot to fall in love with. I've always been infatuated with exploring things and places that were unfamiliar to me. It seems like I’m always wondering "what's a little further? A little higher? What does it look like from the top? Or how's the view from down there?" Living this way was tough at first. Finding the money to accommodate my lifestyle was a challenge. I never finished college because all I wanted to do was play. I had a hard time focusing. Whether it was a pow day or the sun just came out, it didn't matter. I always wanted to be outside doing something else. 


As I get older and more mature I've managed to find a lifestyle that can finally support my sense of adventure. I've been working on the North Slope for several years now and as of last year landed my ideal schedule, with Parker Drilling Co., as a floorhand on a drilling rig. I work for 3 weeks straight and then get 3 weeks off. It’s perfect. The work I do is in an interesting career field and I’m able to participate in the production of Alaska’s number one resource. All of this and I still get tons of time off to play.

The money and the schedule have made it possible for me to travel. I work for 6 months out of the year and get the other 6 months to explore and see new things. But it's not without its ups and downs. The work is hard. The hours I work are long and being away from friends and family for long periods of time is tough. It definitely helps having a down ass chick by my side though. She takes care of stuff at home while I'm at work and always has her adventure hat on when I get home.


I recently started my international exploration. Last year I visited Japan and Ecuador. I made a few pow turns in the backcountry of Hakuba and caught a couple waves in Manta. I’ve been to 43 states so far. Alaska will always be my favorite. Hawaii is a close second. I went there three times last year. This summer, I’ll be at home in Alaska, camping and hiking. Then, starting this fall, I plan to visit Greece, Iceland, the Galápagos Islands, and Samoa.


I'm usually broke because I spend all my money on traveling and buying things to facilitate my adventures. But I’m okay with that because I've never really cared much about making a ton of money. I've always been more pumped on having an experience than anything material. Memories and adventures are more valuable to me than anything else and the Slope has given me a way to invest in my own happiness.