About Matt Johnson

Since I am telling you how to prepare and survive, you may want to know a little more about me than the blurb on the back cover of my book. After all, the subject matter is about survival, and that’s a pretty serious topic.

I grew up on the prairie and have been an avid outdoorsman since childhood. During the summer, two nearby rivers provided fishing, a swimming hole, and camping. My friends and I also played six man baseball.

I graduated from high school at 17 and began working as a rough neck on oil rigs in Wyoming. I enlisted in the Army at 18, and I was already stationed overseas by my 19th birthday. This adventure allowed me to visit 21 countries by the age of 21.

Over the years since then, I have been able to visit a few more countries through business and family travel.

After college, I landed a job working as a chemist with the State of Alaska Assay Office / Fairbanks. But it was not to last. The entrepreneurial spirit kicked in at the age of 27, and I founded Fairbanks Ramp Service with one old truck that I had refurbished. That business grew, and we eventually delivered home heating oil and trucked fuel to some unusual places. Fuel was often delivered by semi-trucks using ice roads in the winter and occasionally driving up shallow rivers to a remote mining district in the summer.

Later, I bought a DC-6 aircraft that delivered heating oil to remote military installations and isolated northern villages as far away as Barrow, Alaska. In most cases, the destinations offered only a snow-packed gravel runway or a frozen lake. Everything north of the Arctic Circle is difficult, and a few of my adventures were downright brutal. But I would do it all over again! It was hard and sometimes dangerous, but oh, the adventure of it all. The aircraft refueling business was eventually renamed under new ownership, and a few years ago it was purchased by one of the largest aircraft refueling business in the U.S. I’m very happy that it lived on!

While far less glamorous than my time in Alaska, some years later I served as the president of a larger multi-faceted company with over 500 employees. That only lasted a few years until the internet came along. After that, I founded my second business which was the third online travel company on the internet—TravelHERO.com. It was sold and then later re-sold to a conglomerate. They absorbed the business into its own structure. Hence, the name was changed. We pioneered many of the ways in which online travel is used today.

My family and I have lived in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, and Arizona. My wonderful wife, Marlene, and I share our time between the Midwest prairie and the Desert Southwest. We have been blessed with three children and five young grandchildren.