One Hat Sold, Ten Trees Planted

July 16, 2018 Feature

 

Matty Hannon, Storyteller and Filmmaker.

Photography: Matty Hannon

Surfer, filmmaker and all round legend Matty Hannon tells stories of life, love and everything in between through enthralling images, eloquent text and powerful filmmaking. Although born in England, Matty and his family hopped from Australia to Indonesia before settling in to Country Victoria, Australia    

by the age of 14 making him an intrepid traveller from the start. These early years of life cultivated his passion for exploring and grew a curious mind that was always searching for more. From his first job at Hungry Jacks to his first studies in Warrnambool, Matty learnt the beauty in keeping himself right by the ocean where the sun lives and the surf gives.

 

Spearfishing in México.
After spending time in Mt Beauty, Melbourne and the high country of Victoria, he had completed a degree in Ecology & Communications and a Diploma of Education, becoming a qualified Teacher. It was time for another adventure! At age 22 Matty packed up and headed out on a 4-year solo mission backpacking his way through almost 13 different Countries, spending most of his time residing in Mentawai during the surf seasons. This is where he learnt the true meaning of simple living.
Phone reception and internet were inaccessible a lot of the time, guiding Matty to discover hobbies and skills that saw him living off the land and easing his way into the local community and Island life. Surfing hours on end, freehand tattooing the local men and catching fresh fish for daily sustenance became the everyday. Like many others, surfing withheld a large chunk of Matty’s day and so in the absence of good swell one must find a new outlet in order to beat boredom, painting was his. This way of life stirred a feeling within that urged him to share his journey.
This flourished into the ability to story tell the galaxy of feelings and experiences through text and visuals and was shared amongst loved ones back home, social media and new friends. His images became a window into what seemed an improbable lifestyle to the typical westerner, forming single frame stories of life on new land.
Lunar landscapes & unique transport 
Like the saying goes: all good things must come to an end, it was time to head back to the motherland of Australia to start yet another chapter in an endlessly proactive life. A few years situated in the buzzing outskirts of Melbourne City saw Matty at age 29 with a masters in Creative Media and working at a Production Company. The natural progression of life continued and showing up to a job every day that was no longer fulfilling and became the outcast of his naturally humble, slow way of life.
Perhaps it was the delirium of 1 am internet browsing or the lingering sounds of Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background but a thick presence of spontaneity was in the air. By 1:30 am Matty had a one-way ticket to Alaska with no other purpose than ‘to see what else is out there’.
Catch what you eat, eat what you catch. Perfect spot for a fish bbq.
It was June of 2014 and all of life’s necessities were packed tightly and saddled up on a motorbike making the impromptu Alaska trip finally real. As many (if not all) overseas adventures teach you to expect the unexpected, Matt had doubts that began to envelop his mind, wondering why the hell on earth he had packed up life back home, sold his belongings and placed himself on a vehicle that had never previously sparked interest to him, only to be sleeping amongst the precarious land of Brown Bears.
Despite the recurring self-doubt, questioning and re-assessing the continuous hustle of perseverance pushed through and made what-once-seemed a silly idea, into a 2 and a half year journey of self-exploration and love. From Alaska, Matt explored via motorbike (with a surfboard strapped tightly) through Canada, Washington, Oregon and California before finding himself in Mexico for a 5-month stop-over.

It was during the earlier stages of his trip riding through Canada where he made a new friend on the beach, her name was Heather. Spending a short 7 days becoming fond of one another Matty decided to continue on, always documenting his surroundings and experiences. With Heather in a flexible stage of life with the transition of selling her farm, there was freedom to make impromptu plans like flying to Mexico, buy a bike and join her friend on what would soon become the foundation of a life full of adventure together.
Peruvian Landscapes.
Continuing down through America’s stopping into 9 countries brought them to the astonishing land of Chile were both hearts felt at home and the next 6 months were to be spent. Having relied heavily on petrol stations and mechanical parts for the transportation of motorbikes, Heathers years of farming experience influenced the decision to swap both vehicles for 4 horses.
The responsibility of owning horses was to simply provide them with clean running streams, fresh grass patches and the occasional hug, confirming any doubt they had about selling off the bikes. In unison with their courageous decision, the nomadic couple came across local legend Ramon Navarro, an incredible surfer and influential human to many. It was there in Chile they spent a few days with the Navarro family closely observing their lifestyle that solely focuses on fishing, farming and surfing. Ramon’s dedication to his family, the Ocean and core values exalted their immense respect for him and became a pivotal point in the next stage of their trip.
From here on, was a 6 month horseback expedition through Chile in search of waves and rad times together, finishing up their entire trip in Argentina, South America.
Come January 2017, it had been 2 and a half years since Matty was on Australian soil. The progression of his travels with Heather grew a collection of written memories, photographs and a feeling stronger than ever to begin the next chapter of life, together. Having documented moments in time that are unexplainable through any written or spoken language, Matty had novels and novels of compelling imagery that needed to be shared.
Soaking up the stars in Utah 
Now residing on a small farm in Byron Bay life is lived through intention and mindfulness. Days consist of surfing, spearfishing and working on his latest project ‘The Road to Patagonia’. A 70-minute feature-length documentary telling the story of surf and self-exploration, adventure and falling in love whilst being on the road.
A narrative of small steps taken on a long journey back to a life sustained through the land and sea curated and set amongst some of the most inconceivable locations on earth. A story of how they discovered the power of life and love through the freedom of the natural world. The way it should be.
Learn more about Matty and his journey on his Website or Instagram Gallery