Matt Smith - Everything Adventure & Outdoors

Date: Monday June 17, 2019 at 1:17pm

Matt Smith ex-military joined the Army in 1994 I was 12 years Royal Logistic Corp then transferred 12 years Royal Signals after passing 264 Signals selection. I left the Army after my 22 years as SSM to start my own business. Now happily married with 3 children, been running Primal Bushcraft and Survival for the past 4 years.

Thank you for speaking with NCNB today…You served 22 years in the Military, what was your time like serving in the Military?

I joined the Army at 18 and was posted to Germany. I had never been away from home so initially I was homesick, but the lads and the social scene at the time worked wonders for morale and after a time I really started to enjoy it. Operational tours to Bosnia and Kosovo in the late 90’s were a great experience and one I won’t forget. I left in 2016 having served all over the world. I really enjoyed it but became a bit threaders around my 15 year point. This was probably due to back to back tours and minimal leave, I also had a young family, so it was a tough time. I decided to grizz it out to as I knew I wanted to start my own business and the pension would help towards some way of giving me a safety net. I am glad I did as it has payed off in the long run!


Did your Military career influence your love for adventure and the outdoors?

I grew up in the outdoors in Scotland and always had a love for being in the country or the coast. The Army allowed me to pursue that through adventurous training and instructional courses. It gave me the confidence to believe in myself, sounds cheesy but it’s true. The Army brings out a lot of hidden potential in people, you just have to step up and go for it, whether it’s a course or something outside your comfort zone. A lot of people take this for granted, being a civilian now for 3 years I can really see the benefits and the skills that ex- military personnel bring to the table.

What has been your greatest adventure so far and why?

Wow great question, I have been privileged to have met some really cool people in my journey, not just in the military but in civilian life also. One of the greatest adventures I have been privileged to be part of is leading the Real heroes of Telemark Ski Touring expedition over the Hardangervidda in Norway. This is through an ex-veteran called Brian Desmond at Destination Setesdal. It’s a pretty special trip and well worth doing, retracing the steps of the famous saboteurs during World War 2. My greatest adventure though has to be growing my business, meeting new people and living life on my own terms. You never know what is going to happen next and I suppose that’s all part of the excitement, the unknown, but also what potentially the future holds.

What would you recommend to Service Leavers looking to go into a career in the outdoors?

Start early! In the military you are always busy, and we very rarely make time for ourselves. Especially when it comes to re-settlement. I have seen to many people square the blokes away right up until they get out, forgetting about themselves then they are left high and dry when they leave. I am not talking about being a jack, no, I mean ensure you take the time to get the courses in and spend all your ELC’s. Once you have left you are on your own, and no one will be phoning you up to praise you for the last inspection report you completed. Whatever you choose to do align it with something you are passionate about something you actually enjoy doing. Then when the going gets tough you don’t mind doing the graft because it’s your baby and not someone else’s and your going to make it work because you enjoy it!


What are your top tips on surviving the outdoors?

Lol, don’t just read a book and watch a few movies go out get cold, get wet, get hungry pretty much all the things you do in the military on exercise. If you are going to watch a movie watch Rambo First Blood it’s a classic. Seriously though, the military teaches a lot of these skills already, but we rarely practise them. Every survival situation will be different there is no text book answer, A good rule of thumb is to know the priorities of survival, protection, fire, water, food. Depending where you are in the world these will vary but like any skill they need to be practised. Once you have the basics its good to learn about foraging and wild foods, medicinal and poisonous plants, traps and tracking, animal preparation and cooking skills. We are all connected living in a world of technology. Yet we are disconnected from nature and have forgotten these ancient skills. Ultimately, they can help save and preserve life in an emergency, sometimes it’s good to get back to basics. Good luck.


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