Category Archives: Adventure

1st Anniversary

Summer and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary a couple weekends ago. The year has just flown by us. It’s hard to imagine the chaos that was only just beginning to subside about this time a year ago.

To commemorate the leap into marriage we decided to jump off a bridge.

About an hour North of Portland there is a very high bridge in the woods of Amboy Washington owned by the good people at How high? About 230ft. making it the highest commercial bungee bridge in the US.

You have to walk out on the bridge when you get there which allows you to look down at the foot deep stream of water running below. There is nothing comforting about it. However, the five people that got there ahead of you that are screaming with excitement as they bounce around on the long cable attaching them to the bridge, is comforting. This like many dangerous activities, with proper care, can be done safely. The people running the bridge are all about safety. They double and triple check the gear, select the correct cables for your weight, and tell you how to avoid getting popped in the face by the (padded) cables.

When you get to the platform you really aren’t thinking about how far down it is anymore. You’re only thinking – Jump – and then you do.

Summer had to wait quite a while to get her jump in so they gave her the option of doing a running jump off the opposite side of the bridge. Most people aren’t given this option until their third jump. She went for it without hesitation. You’ll hear her say “Go big or go home baby!” as she’s running toward the edge (right before all the screaming).

That’s my girl!

And then two more jumps before she was done.

It was a fantastic day, all day long. I wonder what we’ll do next year. 🙂

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Filed under Adventure, Personal, Video

Off to Thailand

I’m so very out of practice. With writing, with photography, with travelling, etc. but I’m finding my groove again pretty quickly. I’ve been on a couple outings since my return from the long trip (aka. Phase 1) but nothing like Thailand.

I was somewhat consumed with work and a certification test prior to our departure so I really didn’t do much pre-trip prep. In fact I packed a suitcase the night before while drinking and video chatting with my parents. I’ve found several things missing from my usual travel supplies, mostly band-aids and antibiotic ointments, but they are readily available at any street pharmacy.

Summer and I arrived in Bangkok early on the morning of the fifth somewhat groggy, me from my spotty sleep and her from the mini-bender at the all you can eat/drink executive lounge I talked our way into before our flight departed. To clarify: I did the eating, Summer did the drinking.

Kind of a funny story… So, we had seven hours to do something with upon our arrival at LAX, and found our way to an overpriced bar – of which there are many – in the international terminal. We found a table near a power outlet and made use of the free Internet while consuming about four pints apiece. During this time we met Nelly, a lovely Kenyan woman, who noticed Summer’s airline crew tags and had some questions about her baggage. She was flying to London for a few months and exceeded her allotted baggage weight limit. “Don’t they want you to shop while you visit America?”

“Yes, we’re pretty sure they do.” we answered. Sometime later through the fog of their cheapest pilsner, and a lot of laughter for a short time, we’d exchanged cards and been offered somewhere to stay in Kenya. We offered our place as well. Nelly, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome anytime!

Ok, so after making our way through security there really isn’t much to do in the international terminal. Summer and I decided to try our luck at the airline lounges.

The first two lounges were a bust as we were either not flying their airline or they weren’t convinced by the confidant-walking-past-the-attendant trick. Third time’s a charm… We aimed for the Thai Air executive lounge with the extra ammo that we were actually flying with Thai Air. However we were informed that flying economy standby did not qualify us for the riches beyond their doors. Nearly defeated we said ok and turned around to find a group of people approaching us from the elevator. I addressed the group and said, “We’re flying Thai Air but do not have access to the lounge, would any of you like to have us as your guests?” Thankfully Hans and Christian, fellow travelers on their way to Munich (in Business Class), understood our situation and said “Sure.”

And we were off to the buffet and self-serve bar that occupied us until our departure…

More soon…

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Filed under Adventure, Thailand, Travel

Goal: Hawaii

A bit of adventure.

Yesterday Summer and I packed our bags and headed for the airport. Our plan was to catch a flight to Seattle and then another to Lihue Hawaii.

Well, we made the connection, but the flight was full. After we were sure we wouldn’t be making the flight we checked the departures board and attemped a flight to Honolulu and then one to Las Vegas. Having no luck on those flights either it was getting pretty late and the list of destinations was dwindling so we decided to return to Portland and try again on Friday.

Friday morning came early and we headed back to the airport, resuming our attempt at Hawaii. With no small amount of luck we got the last two seats on a flight to Maui. Neither of us have been to Maui before (this is my first trip to Hawai’i) and as of the time of this writing, I’m somewhere over the pacific sitting next to a cute couple with a seemingly endless supply of little Captain Morgan bottles that they have been kind enough to share.

Summer and I have nowhere arranged to stay when we arrive. For me, that’s the fun part. We’ll touch down in another couple hours and figure the rest out then.

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Filed under Adventure, Fun, Personal, United States

Where the hell is Matt? 2008

If you read the background on this, it just started off as something funny to do and then took off like a rocket. This is his third video, the last one from 2006 was inspiring as well.

More at

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.


Filed under Adventure, Round The World, Video

Halfway Round : Collected Phase 1 Posts

I decided to cobble together all the posts I wrote while traveling last year into a single page (sorry, multi-page code is broken). The blog always lists the most recent post, so if you weren’t reading along from the beginning it can be pretty difficult to navigate through and find all the pieces-parts of the trip.

Round-The-World : Phase 1 (

I have made no edits to the posts themselves. Cleanup, elaboration, and grammatical fine-tuning still remain goals of mine. Just not today. Also, weighing in at a little over 30,000 words, I have not re-read the collected posts start to finish so I don’t know if it flows or is a herky-jerky narrative experience. Consider yourself warned.

All that said, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed experiencing and writing it.

Oh, and Happy Valentines Day too 🙂

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Filed under Adventure, Personal, Photography, Planning, Round The World, Travel, United States, Writing

The end of the beginning…

I actually started writing this three weeks ago, not long after I’d arrived in Istanbul. While I was excited to be in such a diverse and active place I noticed that my sense of awe and enthusiasm were not where they should have been. I found I spent more and more time in the hostel or the nearby restaurant reading or talking to people I’d met. My drive to go walk for six to eight hours a day was gone. I was only six blocks from the Blue Mosque and Hava Sophia and it took me three days before I bothered to go check them out. I was awash in an amazing culture and I was, I can’t say bored, I was tired.

Back at the very beginning of this trip I talked to my friend Candice, who was very excited for my trip and the route I was taking. She had done a year around the world with someone and gave me some sage advice. “From one traveler to another, don’t drink the water, use hand sanitizer a lot, and don’t be afraid to stop if you get tired.”

In Sofia I met a man from Hong Kong named Kerry Pan. Kerry was on an overland journey from Hong Kong to the Middle East. He’d spent the last few years traveling all over the world. South America, Asia, Japan, etc… He would always return home to regroup after a period of time.

In Istanbul I met a German man named Johan (I think I’m spelling that correctly). He had been traveling regularly for 20+ years, all on his motorcycle. He has logged nearly 1,000,000 kilometers and was presently on a journey from Germany to South Africa. We talked about my concerns and lack of enthusiasm and he told me that his limit was six months. He’d taken longer trips but hadn’t enjoyed them as much. He found that after six months for him it just became living. “What pub am I going to hang out in?” “Where am I going to eat?” that kind of thing. The thrill started to wane.

I’d planned the trip, saved enough to get me through a year or more, studied the routes, bought the gear, sold my car, and put my life on hold. It wasn’t until I’d spent months on the road that I realized I might have an upper limit on my attention span for this kind of thing. You can’t know unless you try. No matter what, I know that I tried, and that I’m not done.

I’m glad I had these conversations, and many others, with fellow travelers. When I first started to feel it, I was concerned, and it was nice to have others with a long term trip under their belt let me know they’d felt the same way.

I know there will be some that are disappointed in my decision to stop early. For them, know that it was not an easy decision. I spent several weeks, and countless hours, weighing everything. Was I wasting this opportunity I’d created? Was I stopping too easily? Could I just push past it? In the end I knew that this wasn’t the end, just the end of the beginning. Anyone who thought this trip would “get it out of my system” or “settle me down” doesn’t know me very well. This trip, as long as it lasted, has only opened the door for bigger, more difficult, travel and challenges. So as to not become jaded to future adventures it’s better I stop now and regroup.

Maybe it would be different if I didn’t have my future wife waiting patiently for me at home. She has never pressured me into any decisions about this trip. Still, being away from Summer has been the single most challenging aspect of this whole adventure. Thanks to technology and the availability of the Internet I’ve been able to talk with her often but it’s not the same. I’m sure you can ask anyone posted overseas or in another city about that. There’s also the “Damn, I wish she could see this” factor.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself and the world over the past six months. You can’t not with this kind of experience. You learn what you can and can’t live without, there are more extreme lessons in the world I’m sure, but this has been mine. You learn what is important to you. You learn about the insignificance of so many things you worry about every day. Similar I think to when you age, you realize how to be comfortable in your own skin, and how all that self-conscious crap while you were young, was crap. You realize how everyone is just a person like you. Loves the same, needs the same, lives the same, just differently.

So, with all that said, sorry for the seemingly abrupt end to the adventure. It really isn’t the end. I will spend the rest of my life reaching this goal. I’m more interested in enjoying the ride than unenthusiastically accomplishing a task. Life is too short.

Pacific Northwesterners! I’m back! and unemployed! anybody want to buy me a drink?


Filed under Adventure, Personal, Round The World, Travel