Matt Vecere grew up in southern New Jersey, working for his parents at various ranches and restaurants. Luckily, the restaurants were near the beach, so when he escaped his child labor-law infringing parents, he was able to surf. Surfing quickly became Matt’s priority, and all other interests were cast aside.
Matt feels it’s important to note that there are two NJs: a South Jersey and a North Jersey. He feels the typical New Jersey stereotypes, partially thanks to the television shows “Sopranos” and “Jersey Shore” (the cast of the latter are not even from NJ!), are rooted in North Jersey. South Jersey does not have gangsters, weird accents or an over-abundance of gold chains. South Jersey does not have secretive nuclear power plants, and Matt does not have strange growths from being raised near such power plants. Matt has never been impaled on a hypodermic needle while surfing, which is lucky, because surfing is pretty much his favorite thing to do.
But South Jersey does have miserable winters. Immediately after high school, Matt left for Florida to escape said miserable winters and study ocean engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology, conveniently located near one of his favorite surf spots: Sebastian Inlet. Matt managed to convince himself he’s really smart and that higher calculus and physics would be easy as ice cream cake, hopefully as easy as the kind he made his mom get him every birthday.
For his nineteenth birthday, his mom had to get him a sugar-free soy ice cream cake, because he decided to become hypoglycemic and lactose intolerant. Everyone thought the cake was gross, especially Matt’s dad, who was pissed that the only cake around that day was a crappy, hypoglycemic, lactose-intolerant one.
His dad was also pissed Matt didn’t think the engineering program he was two and a half years into was as easy as crappy, hypoglycemic, lactose intolerant ice cream cake. The apparently not-so-smart Matt transferred to the Stockton University to study useless stuff, like biology and writing.
Going back to South Jersey to finish school ended up being a good choice, as he got a much better education for a fraction of the cost. He also stumbled upon Mimi Schwartz’s class, Autobiography: a Definition of Self. Oddly, Mimi saw a bit of potential in Matt and, according to him, had the privilege of being his mentor. Around the same time, a small magazine publisher asked Matt to write an article. Matt ended up serving as editor to the growing group of action sports of magazines for five years.
As the publishing world went on life support, Matt moved on to working with the elderly at the The Shores United Methodist Home. He lists showing up for Halloween as a pregnant nun as one of the many highlights. He also learned a new appreciation for life, death, and everything in between.
In 2005, Matt moved to California, worked in the surf industry for several years, followed by moving on to the non-profit sector.
The January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti shook something in Matt, and he went to see if he could help. Whether he did help is debatable, and he is forever thankful to all the incredible people that have allowed him to be a part of their lives.
This is awkward, but Matt wrote this about myself. Rest assured, I do not speak in the third person. I just write that way sometimes. Matt promises. I mean; I promise. What?