When Matt Harding was looking to kick up his heels and dance his way around the world in another of his “Where the Heck is Matt?” videos, he turned to Kickstarter for help with the funding. A year later, the Seattle resident has a new video showing the places he visited and the people he boogied with.
With his high-stepping, fist-pumping dance and smiling face at the center of the frame throughout, Harding dances in a nearly 3-minute supercut that shows him everywhere from Seattle to London to Cuba to Kazakhstan and beyond.
Harding spoke to GeekWire last November when he sought $125,000 from crowd funders to pay for another epic trip and video, essentially to showcase “the positive side of what technology can do, to make you feel more connected to other people, to the world, to communities.”
On Friday, we caught up with the father of two again, and he shared a bit about what he saw and what’s changed in his own world when it comes to this type of adventure.
GeekWire: How does this video and these travels/locations compare to previous videos?
Matt Harding: “When I made the earlier videos, papa was a rolling stone, and he could bounce back from 15-hour bus rides in cramped seats a lot more readily. Now I have reasons to be home, and I actually like being home, so the trips were short and I packed in as much as I could. Don’t ask me to tell you about Kazakhstan. I can tell you about my hotel’s breakfast buffet: They had a room in back that was nothing but bread. OJ was from concentrate. The meat was a little gamey. Stay away from the fish.”
GW: What was the most unique situation you encountered this time around?
MH: “Off the top of my head, flying from Cape Town to Seattle by way of Dubai. That’s 10,000 miles and an almost antipodean journey. It was 23 hours in the air on a 0 degree heading, which suddenly became 180 when we passed over Santa’s house. That flight cost me $600, which makes no earthly sense.”
GW: What does it take to get a large group in any particular location to dance with you on video?
MH: “That part is super easy. I have a giant mailing list and I just tell people where I’ll be and when. I don’t have the kind of Richard Simmons personality that can conjure enthusiasm from a crowd on the street, so I round up people who already know the score and it actually works the other way around, where I get excited by their enthusiasm.”
GW: Does you family travel with you everywhere?
MH: “Wouldn’t that be interesting? I experimented with taking my 5-year-old on some domestic trips, and that turned out great. He’s a born traveler. But my partner manages a team at Facebook and can’t join my escapades as readily, and dragging a kid out of the country as a single dad raises eyebrows at immigration. The whole family came along to Portland and Vancouver, but that’s the limit of our travel radius for now. Also, I’m on a budget. Traveling with four adds up.”
GW: Any idea how many miles you traveled / countries you visited this time?
MH: “Hmm. Off the top of my head, only 17 countries this time, and I left out 3 whole continents. Would love to know miles traveled. I might open up Google Maps and do that now to procrastinate.”
GW: What’s next? Kickstarter again?
MH: “I’m really really done for a while. The only thing I can think of that might get me out again would be getting to really show the world to my kids, and I don’t know that I can, in good conscience, ask Kickstarter backers to subsidize that indulgence. I’d have to find another way. My long term plan is to travel the world in a solar-powered, flying electric RV. For now, I’m happy plunking down in this time zone.”