April 10 2020 – Matthew Maderic
Hey there! My name is Matt Maderic, but in this community we're all friends so you can just call me Matt. A 22 year old kid born and raised in eastern Pennsylvania. I'm the founder of this brand and community built to inspire people of all walks of life, all shapes, sizes, color, age, etc. to live life to the fullest and reach their true inner happiness. If I'm being honest, I'm working on that myself and that's pretty much the whole reason in and of itself why I started this brand and community. I feel like often times, we as a society, get caught up in going through the motions of life. Much of it is necessary, but in the process we lose ourselves. We forget our dreams. We no longer look to what once ignited our fire and desire to live a fulfilled life.
3 years ago I made one of the biggest leaps of my life to follow a path different from what a lot of people suggest to be correct or to have the highest likelihood to reach "success." Before I get there let's rewind one more year. I graduated high school with an above average GPA and accepted an offer from Penn State University to attend a branch campus with a full academic scholarship. Not tryna toot my own horn here, but the scholarship they gave me was actually higher than the tuition so I was able to pocket some money (more on that in a minute). I started my freshman year at college in the fall of 2016, not really all too excited having never really enjoyed school despite being a decent student. I tried to find any possible way I could to leave. I started a small clothing company called Hill to Hill Apparel. The concept behind this brand was that each line I introduced, 10% of the net profits went back to a specific cause. The first and only line that ever made it to the public was to save the endangered red pandas. I loved creating this business and testing the waters, but I was still in school (I ended up on the Dean's List that semester), working 5 days a week at a frozen yogurt store, and my heart wasn't in the message or the brand. It didn't work out.
When it was time to enroll in my classes for spring semester I decided to take a photography class. I always had an interest and an eye for photography. I was the kid that brought a point and shoot or disposable camera to every family vacation, which progressed into making really bad longboarding videos in middle school. I MEAN HORRENDOUS. Like why? Anyway, I started the semester and this photography class. The spark I once had for capturing moments, memories, landscapes, you know, the good times, was immediately reignited and I fell hard for the camera. I had never used editing software up to this point for images, only video and a whole new world was unlocked. You mean I can make a picture look that cool?! At this point, about 2-3 weeks into the semester, I got bored of the photography class, it felt like it was moving so slowly! I also inherently got really freakin bored of all my other classes. Boredom for one thing and extreme passion and excitement for something else leads to what? Well I'll help you out on that. I didn't exactly get on the Dean's List that semester. I started skipping classes and doing the bare minimum to keep my scholarship even though at this point I was convinced school wasn't for me. Oh, and I used the extra money I got from my scholarship to buy a new camera. OOOPPPS NOT SORRY. I started posting my pictures on Instagram and people were loving it! I was getting comments and messages from people around the globe!
I wanted out of school so badly. Like I can't even put into words how much I wanted out. But just because I liked this hobby A LOT didn't mean I would get the green light from my parents. My mom was heavily against the idea of me leaving, and my dad, a college dropout himself, didn't have much room to give a hard no but definitely voiced his opinion of concern.
A week after my spring break in 2017 I skipped all my classes and took off to Arizona with a friend who was on his spring break and had family 15 minutes south of Phoenix. When I said yes to my friend about going I had no idea the impact this trip would have on my life. We were there for 5 days. With a rented car we drove from Tucson to The Grand Canyon returning back to his grandparents' house every night. It was on the last day we decided to make the trek from the Phoenix area up to The Grand Canyon. We left that morning before the sun started its ascent. The whole day was spent hiking at The Grand Canyon, enjoying every single second of the hot sun beating on us as we put one foot in front of the other. That night we wanted to watch the sunset at Flagstaff's Snowbowl, and with the time ticking away, we ran back up one of the hardest canyon paths to get back to the car in time. Our hearts and souls filled with memories I'll never forget, we started the long 4 hour drive back down to Phoenix thinking that the day's events were over. While in the passenger seat on the interstate I looked out the window and up into the sky. A beautiful clear night. I told my friend the sky was littered with stars and in that split second we decided to take the next exit. We turned left at the end of the ramp, drove a few miles down the road, and like out of a movie there was a perfect pull off. We hopped out of the car, I set up my camera, and in that moment my life changed forever. I had never take pictures like this, they were INSANE! At least for at that time. And it had an incredible story. The perfect storm. I shit you not, in that exact snapshot of life I decided this, photography and entrepreneurship, was what I was meant to do. Here is the picture that changed my life:
When I returned home I was stoked! I told my parents about my experience and showed them the picture. And something about the look in my eyes, the passion they could see I had, the desire I had to make this work made them change their minds when I told them that night I was done with school.
Since then I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel the world a little bit and create a career based around photography and videography. For the rest of 2017 I traveled a lot and expanded my skillset. In 2018 I started doing work for AirBnB owners and property management companies which has been my bread and butter up to currently at the beginning of 2020.
But still, I have an empty feeling. I'm missing something. When I started out on this journey I had a strong dream and passion to create content that made and captured memories for myself, inspired others to create lives of their own, and showed people that anything is possible in this world. But I haven't been doing any of that for a while. Taking real estate pictures is great, but how is that going to inspire anyone? Simple answer: it probably fucking won't. And that's why I decided to create this brand and community.
B4 I DIE has a purpose that aligns with what I feel is my own purpose. It keeps me accountable, it keeps others accountable, and it brings together people who have like minds. People who want to make a change in their lives so that when they're on their death bed they don't regret not doing something. Because the fact of the matter is, we're all one day closer to dying every single day that passes by. So what are you waiting for and what am I waiting for? There's never going to be a perfect time. So get out there and do that thing you've always wanted to do.
Thanks for your time! I appreciate every single one of you that has made it to the end of this. I hope you join the community and live by the B4 I DIE mindset.
Founder of B4 I DIE