A Word With . . .

The Guy Who Danced Around the Globe

Sunday, October 22, 2006

So, where the hell is Matt? We found him in Seattle, but before that, Matt Harding, 30, was everywhere. In 2003, the video-game maker performed a silly free-form dance in more than a dozen countries, which he filmed and then posted on his Web site at http://www.wherethehellismatt.com. Two years later, a gum company caught sight of his video and sent him off again to dance and travel on seven continents. Since Harding's return, about five million Web viewers have seen his international boogie. Andrea Sachs spoke to Harding on the phone about dancing his way around the globe.

Q. Describe your travel background.

A. Travel to me wasn't something on my radar as a thing you could do. Growing up, I'd been to Europe and around the country, but I'd never traveled outside of my comfort zone before. Then, when I was 23, I moved to Australia for a job. . . . After a couple of years of living in Australia and saving money, I went back home to the States. I spent all of my savings on a six-month trip in 2003. I went to 17 countries.

How much did you spend on that trip?

Enough to buy a decent car.

When -- and why -- did you start dancing in each country?

A couple of months into the trip, I started making the dancing video . . . it just happened. A friend of mine I was traveling with in Vietnam suggested that, "Hey, you should go do that stupid dance you do and I'll film it." I shot the first clip in Hanoi.

How would you describe the dance?

It's what my body does when I start flinging limbs around. It's not something that's choreographed, and it doesn't have a name. It's sort of the dance a 3-year-old kid does, where you start jumping up and down and swinging your arms. It's just that I kept doing it into my 20s.

How many countries had you danced in by the end of the first trip?

I probably danced in 15 countries total, maybe 17, in the first video.

How did the gum company end up financing your second tour?

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