About Sam


I grew up in Western Massachusetts, the son of educators. My mother is an artist, a writer and a teacher, and my father is an ex-Navy Seal and the business manager of a New England prep school, Deerfield Academy (now retired). I learned to sail at an early age, as my father was an avid sailor who would move yachts for other people up and down the coast.

I went to Deerfield, which was a coat-and-tie prep school, and then went into the Merchant Marines, where I worked as a Steward Assistant (the lowest low-life, washing dishes) on the USNS Able. I spent about a year onboard her, mostly operating out of Norfolk, VA. Then I quit and spent some time traveling Europe.

I went to Harvard and majored in art (Visual and Environmental Studies). I spent my junior year at the Slade School in London, in a prestigious Studio Art program and I sort of “became” a painter at that point. I worked a summer on the largest cattle ranch in Montana, mostly driving tractors but some cowboy work.

Immediately after I graduated I took a job on the private sailing yacht Wireless, an ’85 Don Brooks ketch, as First Mate. After about a five month re-fit in Florida and Newport, RI, I was with her for a charter season in the Caribbean. I stayed on that yacht through 3 different captains, about 5 stewardesses and a variety of guests and engineers. We took her through the Panama Canal and on the “Milk Run” through the South Pacific. I was with her for a year and a half, all the way to Australia.

I got off and went to Thailand, where I lived in a Muay Thai camp and fought, featured on National Geographic’s “A Fighting Chance.” After my fight, my visa ran out so I rejoined a friend in Australia, and sailed from Darwin, Australia to Durban, South Africa on yacht Pamela, a ’38 Hans Christian. Again I quit the boat and wandered around South Africa for awhile.

After some time there I came home and temped in Boston until got a job doing construction in Antarctica for Raytheon. I met a smokejumper at the South Pole Station who got me into Wildland Firefighting and I fought fire the next two seasons in Washington State with the Ahtanum 20 and all over the West with the Gila Hotshots (as an EMT), and I helped a friend bring a yacht back from Mallorca (Spain) to Antigua (Carib.) on yacht Mustang after the season ended. I continue to do yacht deliveries and have been writing books for the last four years. My first book, “A Fighter’s Heart,” took me on a lengthy odyssey to Brazil and Japan. My second book, “The Fighter’s Mind,” is an investigation into the mental game of fighting, with essays and interviews with the best fighters and trainers in the world.

My third book, “The Disaster Diaries,” is the story of my personal quest to learn the skills to prepare for the Apocalypse. Not a ‘how-to’ but more of a big-picture memoir about the truth behind survival; a myth-busters for Armageddon fantasies.