After five economically troubled years as the publisher of a community newspaper in Southeast Michigan’s Monroe County, Justin Matley was through with the toils of his all-work-no-gain lifestyle. Having grown up in the outdoors, spent years as an infantry soldier and thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, grinding away and losing sleep to the life of monotonous business was not an option. Something had to give that would allow him to regain his former self and get back to his roots as an adventurous, outdoor enthusiast.
With impeding stresses from lack of finances building to a climax, and dwindling faith in partnerships and growth potential, like a hammer to the toe, Justin urgently felt the pounding need to change his focus and direction. The monthly newspaper that he had started at age-23 saw its final, printed issue in June of 2007… while he eagerly made plans to move to, and recover in, Alaska. In earlier years as a high school graduate, he had wanted to attend college there, perhaps work in Denali National Park, and it was now time to revisit that old dream.
After selling off all office equipment and a slew of personal belongings, watching bit by bit disappear from the front lawn of his parents home, and after tying up loose business ends and notifying clients of his plans, by February of 2008 he was packed and on the road, headed for Alaska. Justin sped off, car fully loaded with nearly collapsed shocks and a newly installed cargo carrier on top aside a mountain bike that had seen little use in the past years.
After a long drive through a frozen yet open and inspiring Canada, and three month’s stay at the Anchorage International Hostel, dwindling his bank account to just over $8, Justin found employment with Alaska Adventure Media, publisher of Alaska Coast Magazine, Snowrider and Alaska Rider. Years producing The Monroe Journal had finally paid off. His enthusiasm for the outdoors, travel and adventure; combined with the five years experience in journalism, photography and publishing; had developed a valuable skill set for the growing, Anchorage based company.
Justin’s new lifestyle affords him the opportunity to experience the “last frontier” on an almost unreal level, taking advantage of guided services, wilderness excursions and tourism opportunities around the state, photographing and writing along the way, and sharing his passion and new knowledge with readers, family and friends.
The acquisition of a parcel of land south of Denali National Park has become his hobby and pastime as he directs his motivation and love of the outdoors towards the building of a remote cabin.
Life is good again.