Let me start out by saying that I have been a fan of Matt Graham since his first showing on “Dude, You’re Screwed” and “Dual Survival”. He has a type of philosophical outlook on everything that appeals to many people. This book is no exception, it reads like an autobiography of Matt’s early days when he felt a yearning to live closer to nature, to give up the comforts of urban life and live entirely off the land. There are many parts that make you wonder how he is even still alive with the close calls he got himself into.
With all that being said, I also came away with a different perspective of Matt Graham after reading his book, one of arrogance and self centering. In particular in his writing about his travel to one particular expo where he decided to walk the distance and needed to travel through the Grand Canyon. Twice he was stopped by a Ranger and told that he would need a permit to enter the Grand Canyon, and Matt specifically doesn’t think that he should need to have one like the rest of us, because according to him “he is absolute with nature”, and he should be able to travel without bureaucratic interference. He goes on to say that he teaches his students that “Rules” are simply guidelines, the mentality that some believe they should be able to decide which rules they want to follow and which ones they don’t is what Matt Graham describes as thinking for yourself. He never explains did he ever get the permit or “whatever” as he says?
The reason I have an issue with this is precisely what Matt Graham wrote about, when he was traveling through the Grand Canyon he got himself caught in Winter Solstice, was wearing only sandals and ill prepared for the weather, he admittedly was in a dire survival situation and could have died of hypothermia. If Matt had gotten the permit as the Ranger instructed him to do so “twice”, he would have also filed a plan for his travel route in case of emergency. Matt put himself in a very dangerous situation because of his arrogance and his mentality that he is an exception to everyone else.
Matt needs to understand that simply because a person does not live in nature, or practice his way of life, does not mean that places such as National Parks, are any less another person’s than his, and he should abide by the same rules we all do.