Seattle, Washington The Tipping Point

So I sent an email a couple weeks ago to a nice guy named George. George noticed the domain name in my email address and went to my site. George stumbled upon my dancing video and thought it was kinda funny. George put it on his blog, one thing led to another, and everything exploded.

If I’m reading my site traffic data correctly, well over a thousand people have downloaded the video in the last 24 hours. That’s several times as many people as have seen it in the year or so since I put the first version up.

I should thank Mark as much as George for contributing those couple extra yodels that led to the avalanche. And Rob and Elaine and Jason and everyone else who linked to it. And of course, my pillar, my strength, Melissa; who watched it before anyone else and taught me that dancing like a transcontinental imbecile has unanticipated effects on certain women.

Reading people’s reactions to the video has made me really happy. I’ve always said, if I can make one person feel miserable and unsatisfied with his life (curse you, gender-specific pronoun!), it was all worthwhile.

I’d like to address one issue that kind of bugs me: I am not chasing that Bangkok prostitute into the brothel.

What happens is this: while I’m dancing, she walks over and puts her face right up against my side. Unaware of her presence and in the throes of dancing hysteria, I jerk my elbow into her chin really hard. You can see it right there in the video if you watch closely. The turning and the chasing is not some crude frat boy gesture. It’s genuine, heartfelt concern for her wellbeing.

…or at least something approximating concern.

I’d also like to mention that the video isn’t actually entirely 100% complete. There’s a clip from the Seychelles that a guy shot for me with his own camera. I’ve been badgering him to send it to me for six months with no luck yet. Hopefully, by the time you read this, it’ll be in there. It was a particularly difficult clip to get and certainly one of the most memorable.

I’m haunted by all the great places I visited that I didn’t manage to get clips of. In actual fact, it wasn’t until halfway through that first big trip, in Hanoi, that my friend Brad said "Hey, you should do that stupid dance you do in every place you go and take videos of it." The clip with the motorbikes passing by in the background was shot about 10 seconds after his suggestion. So I didn’t get clips in Malaysia, Singapore, or New Zealand (oh dear God, the stuff I could’ve gotten in New Zealand). I didn’t get clips on the Pacific islands of Palau, Yap, Guam, Chuuk, or Pohnpei, or in the amazing WWII wrecks scattered in their surrounding waters. I didn’t get a single clip in Australia, where I lived for three freaking years. I didn’t get a clip with the exiled Tibetan monks in Dharamsala, India. And I actually FORGOT to take one on the dirt road in Nevada that leads into Area 51. I got one in Mongolia, but it was a nothing shot of a train station taken at the last minute a few feet from the Russian border instead of amidst the vast, rolling hills that comprise most of that very surprising country. I would really like to have shown how beautiful Mongolia is.

Regrets, I’ve had a few, and certainly not too few to mention.

But I’m a schmuck to gripe. I’m a lucky guy for just getting to go to those places. And I’m luckier still for having been able to document it in a way that people actually seem to enjoy watching.

Anyone who’s done any kind of traveling knows how it feels when someone asks how your trip was and you can only sputter incoherently for a while. You’re invariably left grasping for adjectives and the person who asked wishes they hadn’t. It’s more than sorta ironic that with a journal spanning way more than your average novel in length, the thing that gets it across best is a three minute freestyle jig.

I got my laptop fixed, by the way. I could’ve almost bought a new one for what it cost to replace the screen. I’m back in Seattle and dealing with the consequences of putting travel before employment. My bank account lost a lot more weight than I did in Africa, and only one of us gained it back. I’m trying to find a way to make a living at something I enjoy without having to chain myself to a desk, a commute, and two weeks off each year. I’ve got a plan and it may be coming together in the following months. If it doesn’t…crap, I don’t know what I’ll do.

71 Responses to Seattle, Washington The Tipping Point

  1. Sarah Michelin

    I’m so taken by what your doing. I could only dream of going to the many places you have been, seen, heard, smelled…etc… So taken when I saw your video pieces of Tsavo, Kenya I grabbed my chest in happiness. Cambodia, India, Russia and Thailand. My best are with you on your journey. You’ve truly inspired me to travel myself. I can’t wait to do this. Thanks for the relief

  2. anon

    Sarah – why only dream about travelling? It’s p1ss easy to do – all you need is money & a valid passport. There is nothing remarkable about it.

    I’ve got a question for ya, Matt – did you ever pay for sex en route?

  3. Nana

    Matt, you are too cool. Good for you! I am a 48 year old mom of 2 kids ages 21 and 17. I would be thrilled if they raised the money to take a trip like that. I have every confidence you will get the job you like. I could see you being the spokes man for a major credit card or a travel company using your video in their ad. Think outside the box and be clear about what job would be cool, and go get it. Go create it if you have to. Put that intension out there. Why don’t you do the gig outside every job interview and post if you got the job or not. A company may hire you to avoid the humiliation of not taking you when you become a world wide phenomenonon. Plus if you post what interest you on this site, it might take care of itself. All the best to you. I will follow your progress.

  4. Carrie

    Matt,
    You are my new hero. I’ve only looked at the dancing clip (got the link from someonewhocares.org) and that is enough, my friend. You are AWESOME! Just to dance, THAT dance around the world…good lord! I’m awed! Be safe and please, please keep it up!!!!!
    -Carrie

  5. Jeff

    Video= 10/10. I found it kind of humorous that you were getting looks from all the American cities and no one thought it was weird in the other countries. XD

    And where I got this link from, 124 hits so far from that site. Expect many more hits soon… And by the way, awesome video and it is a shame that you weren’t able to get videos from those other countries. It’s amazing that you’re able to travel all over the world and see different cultures.

    Keep up that dance of yours too.

    saLUEtes!

    ~Jeff
    ——
    OMFG no sig. |337 |33 516||1||6 0U7

  6. Andrew

    Your video is brilliant. It’s got a certain message – a certain feel – that just resonates deeply with everyone who sees it. I wish I could put it into words; at best, I describe it as something like “I’ve been everywhere, seen everything, and no matter where I am, happiness is just a dance away.” Maybe I’m seeing too much into it. But do I love it.

  7. Java

    You are website is awesome. But its a pity you call your trip to india as ‘fecal’, and didnt learn anything from the situation there.

  8. Jordan

    Matt,
    I am sure u have seen many comments about how wonderful and awesome you are, and its true, i just thought id be one more faceless post. What you are doing is pretty great. I would love to follow in your footsteps. Email me on how you have decided to do what u are dong, and how you were able to.

  9. Christine

    My brother, one who surfs the web all night, sent me a link to your site today. I have watched your
    dancing video at least 10 times. I love it! My brother sent the message with the subject line “I like this guy.”
    There’s something about the music, your funny dance, and the fun you’re having that is just very, very
    catching. Consider a career on a cruise ship as entertainment director. You’d be great at it!

    Best wishes from Florida.

  10. Saul

    Just read through your whole blog start to finish, and rewatched the video. Simply amazing. In particular the descriptions of diving amongst the Japanese fleet hulks in Chuuk and also everything you wrote regarding Myanmar were very appealing. Let me echo the requests of others for further information on your future travels as they happen, and if possible I’d be very interested to hear about your reaction to last month’s tsunami, having been to many of the places hit by it.

  11. Jake Martin

    Your video was fantastic. My sides hurt with laughter! I envy the fun times you must have had on your travels around the world. You are a credit to the human race :)

  12. Matt Bongardino

    Matt, all i can say is wow. I really enjoyed your video. I’ve never been much of an adventurist, but after I saw your video I was inspired to do some traveling of my own. I also showed a few friends your site/video, they all liked it too. Good luck with your future travels, and dance on Matt, dance on.

  13. Jay

    Matt! I began to despair that you hadn’t returned home after not updating your site for so long, and then I come here today and find you are apparently a sensation on the internet! How awesome is that? Who said this kooky thing wouldn’t come to any use!

    That’s an awesome video! Man, I said it before, I’m envious of the adventures you’ve had. Hope things turn out good. Snicket finally made it out the door and has apparently done fairly well.

  14. Sherry Mosley

    wow. that video was awesome. how inspiring. i certainly have the travel bug after seeing that. thanks for spreading the love.

  15. jon

    Matt, just out of curiousity- what did this trip cost? Was it done through any Travel Agency, or did you just pick a place on a map and say, “I’ll start there.”?? Great stuff.

  16. Takumi

    Matt,
    Your video has made its way to Japan. It is been passed around on the local Japanese news groups. Thanks for the cool Clip.

  17. fonzerelli_79

    absolutely fantastic
    ive been to most of the places that are in the clips so it was great seeing someone doing this – anyone whose been to vietnam knows how crazy the people are on bikes!

    its strange how in most places people didnt even give yo a second look

    keep on dancing!!!

  18. Lesley

    Everyones got a thing when they go to every country. Yours is dancing, mines a photo of Buddha ,I know of a shiva, a pink Salmon toy, poses etc etc
    Keep it coming

  19. decypher44

    Matt,

    You are my hero. To be able to just put everything on the back-burner and see the world is something I’ve always dreamed of. I guess it will have to wait until the kids are grown. Keep up the site and dance on my man!

  20. cynthia

    Of all the Flash and the 3D realtime ambient lighting and particle effects and crazy ass hoopajoo on the internet, this relatively simple video made me smile the biggest. Your grandkids are going to see this and know thier grandpa knew how to live.

    Don’t agree to any media spots unless they agree to send you somewhere fabulous so you can to a remote dancing broadcast. :)

  21. Movses

    Just heard your interview on CJAD in Montreal. You’re the best! I can watch this every day until its my turn to do the same.

  22. tracy

    Hey, love you’re video and love to hear stories of your travels. Isn’t it funny to suddenly find yourself famous for doing a goofy/fun thing?

  23. Mike

    Wish I could have been dancing in your shoes buddy, or atleast next to you. I see that you have the same sense of humor and traveling ambitions as me, a mere 17 year old. I hope to travel the world one day as you did and explore what is hidden. Props to the video and if I become wealthy in my years to come, I will contact you and fund your exploration. Keep dancin’ bud… Peace.

  24. Cristian

    I think is one of the best short movies,documentaries,clips….etc. that i have seen in my life.
    Thank you Matt.You did a fantastic job and i wish you to find something to cheer you up when you
    really need it.You did that for me and many other peoples.
    I’m looking forward to see more of this.Simple thing touch peoples hearts.
    Good job.

  25. Derrick

    Matt, I just got finished reading through all of your journal entries. There was one point where you mentioned you had written half a novel. What’s the word count now? Thank you for your adventure stories. Later this year I’ll be taking a little break from exhausting corporate America to move to Europe and travel around for a year or two. Your site helped reinforce my decision. We only have one life. It’s up to us to make it sweet. Thanks for the inspiration!

  26. Chellie

    I work in International Education and I want to use this as a study abroad promotion! The video is awesome. thanks for sharing

  27. rich

    matt, i just into your blog. i just want to say that 1. i never saw anyone dance like i do until i saw your video. 2. you epitomize the person that every dreamer tucks away under piles of paper in little grey boxes inside drabby buildings – forgetting that the promise they tell themselves to “live life to the fullest” is not just a catch phrase, but a reality…

  28. Heba

    Love them moves Matt–how’d you get to be so fly? I definitely vote you steer clear of European countries and go for more off-the-beaten-trail type places. Some of my personal favorites have been Lesotho, Togo, Oman and the island of Zanzibar. OK, Zanzibar is not exactly off the beaten trail, but it’s still pretty cool. And just because you lived in Oz for a bit, I have to say that ALL BLACKS RULE!!!! Sure the Wallabies kicked our tails in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, but my boyz still rule. Happy trails–

  29. FEE

    Your video is truly inspiring. It makes me smile every time. I’m off to indochina soon and now I have some ideas…

  30. Patrick

    Matt, if anyone deserves a sponsor, that’s you. Corporate companies in the travel business, or in the sports business or whatever would simply be crazy not to grab such an opportunity. By the way, I also believe that you are a great artist. “Dancing” is a superb artistic “performance” that should soon find its way into the MoMa (no kidding), and also tour the major modern art museums in the world. Keep up the global dancing!

    Patrick, from Brittany in France

  31. Alex

    This is incredible. Your video was listed everywhere, and i’ve been showing my friends, we all wanna go backpacking to europe. Dancing Matt is becoming a craze. BTW… Come visit Canada! there are some good places to dance 😛

  32. Mike

    Hi Matt

    i’am from Germany and i told me why you don´t visti Germany For Example Dresden!!!

    But your Video “Dancing” is realy great!
    I have seen the video every day and i have a gestion what music is that!

    And I hope you can told me what music that is!

    Also you make it great and i hope you have many fun in the world and you make more videos like this also nice pics!
    “May the Force be with you”

    Mike from Germany

  33. Ben

    matt, i loved the dancing video, but I’m wondering when youre gonna visit my country (you can stay in my igloo)

    Ben from Canada

  34. Benont

    Great video wich I haven’t to show to my better friend who she’s a ancient traveler

    Good luck for the job

    Ben, from France

  35. JESS

    LOVE IT!!! blog and dancing,
    stu is an idiot(sensored what I really feel),
    I agree with so many others
    PAY PAL “DONATE” BUTTON
    I’d pony up some!!!!! keep it coming Matt……… dance dance dance!!!!

  36. chelsea

    Howdy there…..this is one crazy web site. It is way kool cause going to all those places would be so so so so so so so so awesome!!! Ha Ha!!! Where you able to speak english or did you have a translater in all the places you went?

  37. Will Tosado

    I know Matt from when we worked together at a video game store called Cutting Edge. It was 1995 and we had lots of fun going to E3 and hanging out at the store. Matt wore black acrylic dress sox with wing tips to walk the E3 convention floor and then tortured us with his terrible foot odor at the Century Plaza tower hotel room. I remember him as a pretty cool kid who had a mafia buddy named Vincent Mangone. We worked for a complete scumbag named Matt Cosgrove and an evil little dwarf named Joe Smith. Working at Cutting Edge was one of the best times of my life. Nice to see you on TV Matt. Good luck in your travels.

  38. Tommy

    I saw you on that show and thats how I learned about your site now I envy you!!!! I cracked up when you were dancing on Adam Sessler’s desk (excuse my spelling)

  39. Jonny V

    Keep up the awesome work man, i saw you on TSS and was like “God lord, thass me in 10 years o.o” hahaha, i loved the Star Trek reference, +2 points for you XD

  40. Zeke Wildflower

    I just wanna know how much dancing you did in bangkok??? I say you chance that little one after your dance!!!

  41. Christina

    I just finished watching your ‘Dancing’ video.
    It was bitchin’, my friend.
    You are my hero.
    Keep it up!!! 😀

    -Lots of luuvin’, ~Christina

  42. Patrick

    Nice, saw you on Tech TV (like everyone else) I guues that the guy who was standing next to you in the G4 bathroom must have been a bit uncomfortable. To have a person doing a little jig while you are trying to pee and being filmed. Strange feeling. Something like the dream where you are walking around and then notice you are naked. lol I will check out the site later.

  43. xion

    matt, i’m gladd you got to see many places around the world. i like the deep forest song, they rock, just as much as your dance does.
    godspeed,
    x

  44. S13dg3

    Luckily, I’m sitting down on the floor typing on my notebook. ROFLMAO takes on a new meaning watching the video. Funny stuff!!!

  45. la

    Awesome video dude ! such a great idea, I hope to be able to travel as much as you have.
    You should go to Germany and dance down a cobblestoned street. The Germans LOVE to dance crazy (especially to new age electronic music like Deep Forest) . Thank you for doing what you do and inspiring me to do the same. PACE

  46. Jodie

    Dear Matt,
    Just watched you on the screensavers, You are right, you do rock!I havent had a chance to look at you site right now, has I wanted to message you straight away and say too leave your job and travel that is real guttsy. I have did that, except I went on a working holiday around Australia The most beautifulest country you will ever see.
    I didnt want to been chained to a desk. I am glad i did it I seen things most people will never see nor do.
    Keep travelling Matt if you need cash go on a working holiday.
    Kindest Regards
    Jodie

  47. Tim

    I remember seeing this video before – however a different song was used. Is there another version out on the internet? The current slow song is good, but I remember something more fast pace… Any help?

    Thanks and nice geopolitical message :)

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