travel inspiration: where the hell is matt

The first time I saw a video by Matt Harding from wherethehellismatt.com, I cried. No really. I sobbed like a baby. Okay, maybe not sobbed, but I definitely cried.

At first, I thought it was because I missed travel and was sad and jealous to see this guy doing what I wanted to do. But I realized it wasn’t that, after all, his videos show him dancing around like a bleating fool, arms flailing in the air…feet stomping about and I could safely say I didn’t want to do that. To his credit he admits it’s not a pretty thing to watch. And he’s right. He’s no Justin Timberlake.

Matt Harding

Maybe I was a little jealous of the guts it takes to dance so badly around the world on camera. But more than jealous, I was touched, inspired even.

In Matt’s bio he talks of how he had a semi cushy job in the video game industry, a job most guys his age would have killed for. But he knew in his gut that he wanted a different life… not necessarily a so called better life, just a different life.

So he bought a discount round the world ticket, which was a huge leap on his entry-level salary, and plotted a course for backpack travel. Instead of taking photos of static landmarks around the globe, he decided to hand over his camera to kind strangers and capture himself dancing in front of those landmarks.

It was just way to say, “hey mom and dad, friends and ex-coworkers, I know you think I am insane for taking this leap, but I’m still alive, I’m still safe, I’m still Matt and I still can’t dance! Don’t worry about me, I am okay”.

Needless to say the videos went viral and all the hits crashed his blog. Soon after Stride Gum took notice and contacted him, offering to sponsor a second video. More than tha being just a  “lucky break”, I think that there is something intrinsically honest about that video and the people of Stride responded to it.

Even though he dances alone, it kind of feels like he’s dancing with you…like you’re the one holding the camera for him. Maybe he asked you to join in but you were too afraid and he fearlessly danced anyway…for you both. Over and over again in one exotic locale after the next, he takes the plunge showing you how accessible and open the world can be to you, if you’d only go for it. In the second video, people join him in the dancing.

Matt’s videos serve as inspiration to remain true to yourself, no matter where you are or who you are with. It doesn’t matter if it’s in NYC or Istanbul, if you dance, people will react. You don’t have to be rich or famous or out to save the world. Show the world your crazy legged dance and they will take notice and some will even dance with you. Some will even be inspired or brought to tears.

And that’s what travel is really about, it’s an exploration of the beauty of the human condition.

Matt is still dancing, and looking for folks to dance with wherever he travels, if you are ready to dance check out his map on wherethehellismatt.com

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