Around the Americas with THRIVE: An Interview with Matt Rutherford
Not many people can say they’ve circumnavigated North and South America by boat, and even fewer have done it solo without stopping at a single port—actually, make that one person. Matt Rutherford, a 31-year-old sailor of 8 years from Annapolis, Maryland, is that man. And he couldn’t have done it without THRIVE.
Matt began his journey last June, leaving Chesapeake Bay in a 27-foot, 40-year-old sloop, the St. Brendan. The 27,0000-mile journey took him through the Northwest Passage, down the west coast of North and South America, around Cape Horn, and all the way back up to the Eastern Seaboard in just under 310 days. He crossed his original track at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel on April 18th to make the record, and made landfall in his home port of Annapolis a few days later, greeted by a cheering crowd that included the governor of Maryland. You can see a video of Matt’s homecoming here and see our press release about it here. Matt was doing the trip to raise money for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a nonprofit sailing program for people with disabilities.
We were excited to sponsor Matt in his endeavor to raise money for those with disabilities by taking on a world record-breaking expedition. We donated a 1-year supply of freeze dried and dehydrated THRIVE foods to Matt for him to eat while he was at sea, and we caught up with him recently to see how THRIVE helped him on his voyage.
“I couldn’t have done it without Shelf Reliance,” he said. “It was crucial to have food that would sustain me in any environment—quality food, with variety. I like THRIVE because it’s restaurant quality food. The ingredients themselves were just good, healthy ingredients.” He told us that one of the first things people usually ask him about his trip is what he ate the whole time, and said, “I’m always happy to tell people about Shelf Reliance and how well it worked for me.”
We asked Matt for his thoughts on several different aspects of THRIVE. Curious about what someone with no previous experience with Shelf Reliance had to say after living off of THRIVE foods for nearly a year? Read on!
We asked Matt how THRIVE stacked up against other long-lasting foods he’d eaten on preview voyages. “I’ve eaten dehydrated foods on previous sailing trips, and I ate a lot of canned foods,” he said. “Usually dehydrated food isn’t very high quality—it’s just beans and rice and stuff like that, which you get tired of pretty quickly—and canned stuff always has that nasty canned food taste. THRIVE was completely different than that, and it was also a lot lighter weight and didn’t spoil as quickly. I thought it was easier to make than usual dehydrated foods, too.”
Health, Taste, and Variety
While Matt did occasionally catch fish to supplement his diet, he told us that “THRIVE was pretty much all I ate. It was Shelf Reliance every day. And I never got tired of it. I always looked forward to it, I never dreaded it, I always thought it was tasty. I would happily eat THRIVE for another year, in fact.” So for any of you out there who are wondering whether you can really live off of 100% THRIVE, Matt is living proof. He said he made a lot of soups and stews, since he was in the Arctic for much of his voyage, and told us his favorite product was our Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. He commended us on THRIVE’s nutrition as well, saying, “It kept me really healthy. I’d even recommend Shelf Reliance putting together a THRIVE diet plan, because that stuff is really good for you.”
One of Matt’s favorite things about THRIVE was its simplicity to make. “Preparation was incredibly easy,” he told us. “All you have to do is heat it up and eat it up. I didn’t have refrigeration, and a lot of the time I didn’t even have electricity, but it wasn’t a problem. So I think it would work really well in emergency situations—but obviously it was great for eating every day too. All in all, the food was very quick and easy to prepare, and that makes life a lot easier whether you’re at sea or on land. Having the food freeze dried and ready to go, with the meat already cooked and the fruits and veggies all chopped up, cut my meal prep time at least in half.”
Matt was impressed by the durability of THRIVE: “I was in the Arctic for a lot of my journey, so everything would freeze, and my boat would get flooded quite a bit, so sometimes the cans would be floating around in several feet of water, but the food all stayed good.” The labels sometimes came off in the water, but he told us with a laugh that “by the end of my trip I was an expert at telling different THRIVE foods apart just from shaking the cans.”
Living A Thriving Life
We think Matt is a perfect example of someone who’s achieving a thriving life and living the Shelf Reliance mission statement of becoming self-reliant, prosperous, and most prominently in his case, charitable. Thanks to the wide media coverage he’s gotten since his return (including appearances on Fox News and Al Roker’s Wake Up with Al), Matt has raised over $100,000 for CRAB so far, and the donations are still pouring in. His goal is to raise $250,000 dollars, or $10 for every nautical mile he sailed. And he’s just getting started. Now, according to Matt’s blog, he’s working on writing a book and is planning his next trip, a voyage back up to the arctic to help polar scientists collect data on extreme northern regions they don’t usually have a chance to access. He also plans to bring a camera crew to film a documentary on the voyage that will raise money for a non-profit charity. Matt’s also got his own non-profit in the works, a project called “Tools for Schools” that will provide supplies and educational tools to schools in third-world countries.
Share with Us!
Matt’s story has inspired us, and we hope it inspires you to get out there and use your Shelf Reliance business—and any other tools at your disposal—to truly change lives. So do you know anyone who’s making great things happen with the help of THRIVE or Shelf Reliance? Comment below to let us know what amazing things you or the people you know are doing, or if you’ve got a newsworthy story, email us at email@example.com to see if it’s something we can help you share!