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WhereTheHellisMatt: My Idol.

February 13, 2008

With all of the absolute craptastic videos out there on YouTube today (Chris “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” Crocker comes to mind), I’m always pleasantly surprised when I come across something that is both entertaining and interesting. I’m amazed when I find ones that, no matter where or when I pull them up, can make me happier. I’ve been able to find a few that are either so amazingly hilarious or so incredibly touching that I could watch them any time. Sarah Silverman’s video a few posts down is one that brings a smile to my face and gets a song stuck in my head every time I watch it.

I realized late in high school that there was a world around me that needed to be explored. It might have had something to do with my first participation in an international CISV program at the age of 16 and meeting so many people from so many countries on this planet. Shortly thereafter I had the opportunity to take my first trip abroad to England and Wales with my high school’s auditioned choir. After that, it was too late. I had caught the travel bug.

When I first saw the YouTube video WheretheHellisMatt I had just come back from a seven country tour of Europe in three weeks, relishing in the awesome experiences I had seeing friends from CISV (and meeting/being hosted by their families), drinking with the locals, and enjoying the independence of being able to see the world on my own time.  After watching the video a second and third time in a row I came to the realization that this video was what I wanted out of any of my past and future travel experiences: the ability to see the world, partake in local culture, and express myself in my own creative way. In some sense of the term, I want to be Matt when I grow up.

Unfortunately, Matt Harding already stole the idea of taking videos of himself dancing in various locations. Who is this guy? According to his website, he’s a “30 year old deadbeat from Connecticut.” In 2003 he quit his job in Australia and used money he had saved to travel around the world, vowing to do so until he ran out. At some point in the next year, a friend suggested the idea for doing a video. The first video (after the break) was posted to YouTube shortly thereafter.

In a true testament to the power of Web 2.0, Stride Gum came across the video on YouTube and asked Matt to do a second video on their dime. That’s the one you see above. It’s a pretty clever advertising device… the video has garnered almost 9,000,000 views and even I’ve since started chewing Stride because of it.

After doing some background research on Matt’s website, this little tidbit rang true:

“Matt thinks Americans need to travel abroad more.”

Yep…it’s true. We need to get off our butts and see the world. I’ve long been an advocate to friends and family of the same. I can’t really process the fact that many people’s first reaction to hearing of my adventures is jealousy. I almost always react by asking them a simple question: “What’s keeping you from doing something just as cool if not cooler?” There are often excuses of not having enough money, too much work, or no time. To that I almost always say “you need to just do it!

The hardest part in that process of prioritizing our individual need to see and experience the world is taking that first step. That first trip to Europe in 2006 required about three phone calls to Northwest Airlines and lots of internal debate before I finally said “screw it…I’m doing it” and booked the tickets, much to my own surprise and against my parents’ best wishes (I know that they read this site and have since shifted their opinions quite a bit, especially after finding out about the often-mentioned-here novelty condoms in Amsterdam–but you should have heard their incredulousness over the phone when I told them my plans!) . After that, everything just kind of fell into place. There were some challenges, but overal the hardest decision I had to make was the first one.

It’s cool to note that Stride has sent Matt on another dancing adventure around the world. You can keep up with his travels on his blog.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Serge permalink
    December 29, 2008 7:20 pm

    Hi, do you know the mail of Matt ? Thanks. Serge

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