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Matt Raney reflects on the man he’s become.

AS A BOY, I spent every waking minute in the forest behind my home. To me, that was what I was called to do; I was made for adventure. I reveled in those summer nights that I could squeeze a few more hours of daylight into my fort building or land exploring. It was my God-given duty to conquer the land behind our home.

I had to raft down the McKenzie River, I had to chase the wild deer in the early morning, and I had to build the biggest tree fort on the highest branch. I cannot tell you how far my heart sunk when I would stumble upon a fence or see another house. Every piece of civilization that I came across was an indicator that my world was getting smaller.

Today, I sit in my corner office in a sprawling business complex in the greater Los Angeles area. I stare out at the trees and pond adjacent to our building. I’ve been contemplating buying an old Willys jeep to take camping in the Sierra Nevadas. Every time I let myself daydream about the adventures I could have in that old Jeep, I have to tell myself, “You’ll never make it out there. You’ve got too much business to do here. You can’t take time off work. You can’t even go a day without your Blackberry.”

The “Man” I’ve become is more worried about climbing the corporate ladder than climbing the tallest tree.

It’s true. The “Man” I’ve become wouldn’t do that. The “Man” I’ve become is more worried about climbing the corporate ladder than climbing the tallest tree. The “Man” I’ve become worries too much to enjoy a break.

This makes me think…

What happened to that boy? What happened to daringness and adventure? When did fashion become more important than function? When did following systems and processes become more important than following trails and blazing new ones?

As a boy, the most important aspect of my wardrobe was how many pockets I had to carry my “stuff” (treasures, tools, snacks) in. You can’t carry a hatchet in a 3-piece suit. You can’t cross a river in Italian leather shoes.

Today I build corporate offices; I expand my client base; I implement sales tools to increase my profits; I read people to distinguish key points to hit during a presentation. This isn’t who I’m meant to be. I have become a shell of a man, I’m grasping at anything that might be worth holding on to.

I want to build fortresses. I want to expand into uncharted territory. I want to implement my own tools of survival. I want to read the land. I don’t want to be clinging tight to the few things in life that I think are worthwhile; I want to open my arms to new things that will enrich my life.

I want to taste the earth’s soil when I bite my fingernails. I want my muscles to ache and burn when I lay down at night. I want my clothes to be stained with dirt, and blood, and sweat. I want to feel accomplishment. I want to seek adventure. I want to know danger.



About The Author

Matt Raney

Matt was raised on the logging roads of Northwest Washington. He studied Journalism at Whatcom Community College. After a short stint at Central Washington University (majoring in early American History and riding bulls for the school's rodeo club), he ventured to Southern California in search of Adventure. His writing is most often concerned with his blue-collar upbringing and the woods and farms he was raised on.

  • EHA

    Currently struggling with a decision between staying and hitting the road again. Your reflections on life and adventure have inspired me this morning, Matt. Thank you!

  • P. Dog

    When you are ready, your mountain awaits.   Thanks for sharing…

  • Priyanka

    The fact that you are thinking about these things means that the fire and the desire is very much there. 

    Make sure that you don’t suppress these thoughts. Indulge and fan them. They will lead the way for you eventually. Good Luck!

  • Kelley O’Rourke

    A lot of people can relate…including moi…thanks for sharing.

  • Megan

    Don’t sit in the passenger seat as your life passes you by, drive.

  • Tim L. Tan

    It’s a wonderful thought !  i did not share in my facebook because it’s already there ! I enjoyed the vignette . Thanks ! Matador :-)

  • Untold Roads

    I think you and I had similar childhoods. I want to get back to that sense of adventure. 


  • N Petit

    i’m so lucky i still get to play A LOT when i’m 26. i’m a teacher. and living in a tropical island. SUCK ON THAT!

  • Kat Carney

    You can’t take it with you when you go, free and easy down the road you go…

  • nashcowmoo

    Thank you so much for this! :) You really struck a chord here and I hope one day you and I meet those forests and uncharted territories that got us to where we are in the first place. :)

  • Pheonyx Roldan Smith

    be fearless and be free!  join the human race, NOT the rat race!  best of luck, Pheonyx @

  • Marie Lisa Jose

    Thanks for this. The timing could not have been more perfect for me!

  • Matt Raney

    Thank you all for the support! Due to the incredible responses I’ve received (from this site and other social networks), I’ve decided to start a blog (I know, I’m a little late in the game; even my 12-year-old cousin already has a blog). You can read the unabridged version of this article and follow my other ramblings at
    Thank you all!

  • Yu Hang Ng

    very well written Matt, reminds me of the contemporary disconnection between man and his work…

  • Kym

    I hear your longing. You can change your choices at any time :)

  • Koty

    I love this! Very inspiring and relatable.

  • 24pfilms

    I guess thats why I sold everything I own and travel with 50 things. I live in a wood heated 270sq ft cabin in the south of Chile. I call it Digital Walden. I still work hard, but I do it in a place that Makes me live my childhood again, far away from consumerism.

    • Makesense95

      can you please tell me how to achieve this lifestyle you lead? ive also sold everything i own and quit my ready to go

  • praveenrastogi

    Nice one..i like this article..its helpful information..thanks for sharing with us..
    u may visit now

  • Carol Villafuerte

    I hope to breath the fresh forest air again, sweat out and feel my muscles working up the trail and finally claim the visual delight of being up there :o).

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