Tales From the Tracks by Matt Nisbett


Excerpts from the journal of Matt Nesbitt while hopping freight trains across Canada and the U.S.

“When I was in my twenties, every couple of years I would take off for a few months and hop freight trains and hitchhike around North America. I always wanted to have a real deal adventure, and the first time I went, in the summer when I was 23, I was hooked. After I came back from that trip, there was always another freight train adventure cooking in the back of my mind. Eventually something would snap- I’d feel lost in life for one reason or another and I’d just know the only way to get myself right was to hit the road and start hopping freights. After the first trip I always left in the fall. It felt right to go when things were changing, ’cause I needed to change. I always went alone. Something about the solitariness, where the ever­changing landscape becomes your only company, your only reflection of yourself, was intensely therapeutic for me. The experience was totally mine, and I got to burrow deeper and deeper into my own .consciousness. Out of all the stuff I’ve done in my life, those experiences out roaming the land by riding freight trains, hitching rides, and hoofing around with a giant backpack, would probably be the last experiences I’d trade for anything. I kept super-detailed journals whenever I was on these journeys, and the following are excerpts straight out of them”. The second trip I took was my most ambitious—I decided to hop trains all the way across Canada and then back across the United States. Hope you enjoy …” —Matt Nesbitt


“Our community lost a very dear soul this past weekend. Survivalist, artist, teacher, friend, and all-around extraordinary guy, Matt Nesbitt passed away Sunday, February 25, 2018. Matt started teaching at the folk school in 2015 and was one of the most requested instructors because of his unique style of instruction. He was animated, had a plethora of relatable stories, wore an endless smile, and had the patience to work with anyone. We will miss Matt very much.” —Mi Folk School

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