Matt Koller

After graduating from Villanova University in May 2010, I promptly began working as a financial analyst for the New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. After two years of service, I left Dewey to work in compliance for Sullivan & Crowmell, just as Dewey was filing for bankruptcy. While harboring aspirations of attending law school, I also felt the tug of wanderlust, and set out to travel the world before settling down.

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In October 2013, I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney, Australia, intent on spending a year living and working Down Under. While in Australia I learned to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, worked as a deckhand on a super-yacht, pruned grapes as a vineyard farmhard, and made some very dear friends. I then spent a few months backpacking around Southeast Asia, before returning home to New York to visit friends and family.

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However, the prospect of settling down seemed like a daunting task, so I set out to explore more of my own country. Never having been outside of the Northeast for more than a week or two, I spent the summer working at a lodge outside of Denali National Park in Alaska, subsequently exploring the West Coast of the U.S. I found work as a ski photographer in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for two years before going back to Alaska as a naturalist photography guide. 

 

I’m now fulfilling a lifelong dream of calling Hawai’i home, working on a whale-watching sailing boat in Maui, and learning everything I can about the coral reefs and how we interact with the ocean and its marine mammals.

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It might seem like I’ve been all over the place with the places I’ve lived and the jobs I’ve worked, but they all have a common theme: exposing me to the natural world in new and exciting ways. Growing up in a city, I never had the chance to understand how we interact with nature in an intimate way, and I’ve found myself drawn to wide open spaces with bountiful natural life. 

 

I set out on my little journey to understand more about how people lived across the world, but I’ve found that what I really care about is how the natural world varies across the Earth. Educating people about these differences and forcing them to think differently about how we interact with the Earth has become the predominant theme in my writing and photography, and the birth of a lifelong passion.

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