Seattle, Washington The Dancing Guy Road Show

Tried something new the other day. Went to speak at a school.

It was a small independent middle school out on Vashon Island — a short ferry ride from Seattle. They invited me, I said "sure."

Sixty-five students aged 8 to 13. I showed the dancing video, gave a 30-second "Previously on Lost" version of my life story, then answered questions.

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Most of the questions were things I’ve had a lot of practice answering:

"Did you make money?"
"Did those jellyfish sting you?"
"How’d you get to Antarctica?"

Others were entirely new to me:

"Who were the weirdest people you met?"
"Did you see any blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos Islands?"
"Were those elephants lefty or righty? Cause you can tell by their tusks!"

The hands kept going up and we talked for the better part of an hour. None of the kids had seen the video before, but they really seemed to dig it. They were sharp and attentive and generally switched-on. I had a whole lot of fun.

I’ve got a fair bit of free time on my hands these days, and I’d love to keep doing this. I’m kinda limited to the Seattle area unless someone else is footing the travel bill. A university out in Vermont has offered to do that next month. It’s a pretty different audience, but I’ll give it a try.

It is my stated conviction that Americans need to travel abroad more — especially young ones. The post-academic wandering years are a rite of passage for folks in places like Europe and Australia, but we tend to just go straight to work and not stick our heads up until retirement. I think that needs to change. Urgently. We need diplomats out there, before things get any worse.

So I’m hoping I can help plant the seed and maybe give some kids ideas about what they want to do with themselves. Who knows what my cogent attempts at brainwashing our nation’s youth may yield.

A lot of folks have asked if there’s anything new in the works. I’ve been fiddling a bit with two projects that involve footage I’ve already shot. Hopefully those will be up in the next couple months.

As far as a new trip goes, I’ve got some ideas and I’d love to do one, but I’m not really pursuing anything yet. Still recuperating and enjoying time at home. Also, I’d need the help of a sponsor. There seems to be interest out there, but I’m a long way from having anything lined-up.

37 Responses to Seattle, Washington The Dancing Guy Road Show

  1. Candace Kowal

    Brain washing kids eh,?

    Well, if the media can do it, why can’t our internet hero?

    Go Matt go!

  2. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    Though, you didn’t tell us the answer…did you see any boobies?

    (and did you giggle like a little girl when the kid asked you that, because I totally would have…)

  3. Richard

    Thanks for your time at the school. I am a parent of a couple of the students, and we all enjoyed your show and comments.

  4. Erin

    A University in Vermont? VT is an amazingly beautiful place. I love reading about your travels. Keep it up. : )

  5. Atli Kristinsson

    Hi there. saw your danicing thing on youtube. You should put on country on your next trip and thats Iceland. You could dance infront of a geyser(hot spring) blowing several meters into the air, on an Iceberg infront of the biggest glacier in europe or in a cold dessert resembeling the moon where astronots trained for moonlandings.
    Just a thought.
    Best regards from Iceland

  6. The college market is really big… and big-paying. I used to perform at the NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) circuit. You’d be a good lecturer in several divisions: self-discovery, video creation/production, similar veins. It may take a little creation to develop a talk, but you could easily get an agnet and get attention by playing your video on a loop in the booking booth at the conferences. Believe me, the requests will simply roll in. Just videotape your VT presentation and send it to a bunch of booking agents.

    The elem. school circuit and the community circuits are very big also… all you need is tape of your presentations (you do know how to edit, don’t you? 😉 and places to send to. Please know that the possibilities are endless. Pick the central theme(s) to your value (it’s truly your VALUE) and start marketing. If you feel the need to give a percentage to a charity, you will get even more exposure.

    Truly, pick your values that you want to encourage in others: understanding other cultures, being grassroots ‘diplomats’, being adventurous, experiential learning, what-have-you — you can brand it and start it. You can even promote within the Seattle area by encouraging people to get out of their cubicles and uncover ” real living”, even in nearby towns. Each vignette in your Dancing video is a new “real life”, real adventure.

    You have to really seek. Stop resting. Rest when you are dead :) You have to find locations to speak and sponsors to help you get there. If I was you I’d know exactly what to do… and all I’d need would be a computer and balls :)

    Best, Matt. Love your video from the first moment I saw it. I’ve traveled a lot. I know what it’s like to be in these such-varying conditions… I know what you need to promote to people. Just get out there and do it.

    The college thing is good. Tell the VT school that you want references and even recommendations, and ask them if they will help block-book you with nearby colleges while you are there. Tell them it can save them money on airfare (and give a break on speaking fee) if they can help block-book you with associated nearby colleges…

    Then see if you can get schools to also get you in (while you are in the neighborhood). PTAs always have even a little bit of money.

    Trust me, Matt. You need to do this for you and for THEM.

  7. Tess

    Hey, I love your video almost as much as I love traveling. In case you are ever wishing to get paid for touring the world, you could work for these guys. I would love to, but I am too busy traveling and discovering different parts of the world right now to settle in any one continent. Though I’ll definitely apply in the future. Anyway, I’m sure with your experience, they’d snatch you up. Check it out if you’re interested. Keep it up btw, you’re obviously an inspiration.

    link to gapadventures.com

  8. Rich

    I couldn’t agree more that we in the U.S. should travel more at a younger age. It really would make us appreciate what we have much more and it would give us a better understanding of other people.

  9. Nicole

    Hi Matt!
    First of all…sry for my awful english!!
    I’m from Chile and i just saw your dancing video…now i’m your fan xD one of the tons of fans you may have till now! xD
    I want to greet you for your courage: “Now, i’ll travel around the world…wohoo” Was very difficult to take that desition?
    Cause, for me, ne of my dreams (since a child)has been to became a traveler (not a turist-beach-vacation-expensive hotels, like the 98% of the people are.
    Learong about millions of differents things: culture, people, colours…
    Now i’m studying at College Fine Arts, and let me tell you that travel (for me) it’s one of the most important things for the human being. Learing by being there and not just reading. Uff, i just envy u a lot.

    Well, your site, pretty cool =O
    i cried when i saw Chile on the List. bUt is a pity you didn’t visit More of it. Like the South of Chile, or Santiago itself.
    If your planning to return here, please, let me know it. I posted my mail too. ^o^

  10. Matt

    hahaha speaking of questions the kiddies asked.
    how come not one questioned your sweaty pits man?! you need to change your shirt! LMAO!!!
    just kidding, what your doing is a good thing and I mean it in an unsarcastic way, honest.hahaha

  11. schnitzel

    actually, Berlin is full of cosmpopiltan americans. I am realy suprised about that and they are getting more and more each year.

    The funny thing though is, that the media especially in the US sometimes seem to implicate, that abroad they would not be welcome as americans ( e.g. FOX’s Travel guide). I know that most people here on this site know better, but for those who dont.. “get real”. Come here, speak with whatever accent, wear whatever shirt is typically american and still no ordinary person will approach you with any sort of silly prejudice.

    Matt, it would be nice to see a little more of Eastern Russia.

  12. Luana

    Great Job… It is really inspiring to see someone doing what everybody else probably dreamt of one day. I was taking a look at you map and wondered… any reason not to visit Brazil?

  13. Mo

    wow – that mother-father-love-me-home-country-god and whatever else video is really amazing.
    love the site, love the journal,and love your adventures.
    cheers to many more to come!

  14. Richard Smith

    Matt

    What a truly great thing to have done with a period of your life, on a number of levels. Firstly you enjoyed priceless experiences, secondly you made millions of people laugh and thirdly you even had a valuable point to make. I agree it’s true that it is a ‘right of passage’ for so many Europeans (I am one of them) to travel after college. The world would be a better place if more Americans understood more about the peoples of the planet on which we all live.

    Good luck
    Richard

  15. The true course of a Wandering*idiot is the value that touches others.

    BL*M

    Good*Job, Matt 😉

    * * *
    Open

    The sun rose in my spirit today, as it does each morning, some days are gloomily overcast, others kind of a stormy gamble, a few spin in a foreboding whirlpool drawing life and limb toward the dark central vortex, then every so often there comes a gem, one which oozes with such splendid wonder that my heart is spun into a gambol, filled with courageous willing, a magnified glory of inclusiveness, this was such a day, one to gather cordial thoughts, to feel the generosity of life and give freely of its sensations, to gawk happily upon the outcome, to pursue goals with fearless and triumphant intention, and to stare intently into the fullness of the love presiding over the fragrant substance of all the precious ordinary glimpses of this moving joy of relativity for which my soul is a glutton.

    ©Bruce Larson*Moore

  16. Dane

    Matt,

    Wonderful journal entry regarding the letters from places you missed. I found myself laughing in agreement with your “position” on organized religion. To think some people seemed religiously offended you didn’t visit Israel.

    I envy you and truly beleive that Americans, of which I am one, do not give the rest of the world its due by traveling it enough. While our nation’s landscape is seemingly endless, we can learn so much more about ourselves by simply visiting with other cultures.

    In my travels, I have found the Aussies, Kiwis and Europeans have a much greater perspective than your average American. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get back out there. Keep up the good work.

  17. “Were those elephants lefty or righty? Cause you can tell by their tusks!”…….That is freakin hilarious! I run a daycare in my home. 10 kids under 4 yrs old…..ya gotta love kids!!!! loved the video.

  18. Kathryn t

    beautiful….simply beautiful…..thank you Matt for giving me some joy today!

    Much Peace and Dancing to you!

  19. Heidi

    I’m still frieken on how your left handed,have a ear deformity almost the same as my 10 yr old son and pretty much all he does is spend all his spare time on beating video games as well… He has an unfortunate disability of being almost totally blind and totally colorblind (but somehow can still play hours and hours of xbox,ps1,ps2,gameboy,computer games -etc) after watching YOUR story (and I hope this is not a hoax?) I have high hopes for my son! And although I missed out on seeing the world I hope my son and daughter see at least some of these wonderful places you’ve been to! Thank you for your video MATT !!! NJ.

  20. Heidi

    Oh and by the way, another thing that is bazarre ,he dances just like you! Wierd and wonderful all at the same time. I loved this video.

  21. Betty

    Hey Matt-
    I’m a concerned mother of an American traveler similar to you – my son and his friends left New York on Dec. 1, 2005 – he’s now in Nepal on an Annapurna trek. It’s almost a year and I’m not sure when he’s returning. You could be my own, I can’t believe how much of your sentiments and thoughts are often expressed by Alan (my son). You adventurous souls are doing good things… but mothers at home worry about safety and the future and miss and love their sons. Reassure me please — Are you ever going home, settling down, marrying and giving your parents, grandchildren? Check out Alan’s blog link to travelblog.org
    and Brian’s blog link to travelblog.org
    Maybe you can catch up with them somewhere and teach them to dance.
    You’re a good ambassador, stay safe, Betty

  22. Liz

    heh. that university in vt was my boyfriend’s school, and i missed you by one day. he called me that night and said ‘i danced with matt’ and i have to admit, i was a wee bit perturbed. then he sent me here and i’m in awe and highly amused. ::sigh:: Hope you had fun in the great state of Vermont.

  23. I’ve watched the dancing videos a few times before and enjoyed them very much. I just watched them again and for some reason I got all teary. Your ambition and free spirit is truly inspiring. I envy that sort of experience.

  24. juan

    it is good to hear theres a lot of open minded people in this world, that want to see whats out there, that want to learn about other people and cultures, that would like to see past the cube. I myself havent been able to travel all that much due to time, work and the best excuse: the good ol money, but would I love to. I hope you continue your traveling and keep sharing your ideas and experiences (and moves i might add) with other people. best of luck matt

  25. can i just say that your video is really great i think the coolest place must have been norway! (scary though). good luck with future ventures and all that

  26. Keli

    Thanks for coming up to the high school on vashon, too. I was in the journalism class (that came late and made you repeat the video) and we all really enjoyed it.

  27. Eli

    Have you thought of trying to find a study abroad org or a travel agency as sponsors? I am sure they would see the marketing genius it in…

    Also did you make it to VT? I am curious to know which of the 17 colleges in the state invited you. (I went to school in Burlington, VT).

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