Seattle, Washington An Inverse Vacation

It was supposed to be a break, but it wasn’t.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been busier than any time in my life.

I came home from Africa still coasting from the high of live television — and still wearing the same clothes I wore on the show, having not had an opportunity to change.

I found all the stuff I’d pushed off until May still waiting for me. But before I could even get to it, new stuff kept popping up and distracting me.

Some nice folks at Google called me up out of the blue with a project I couldn’t pass up. I’m not sure what I’m allowed to talk about at this point, and I may have already gone to far, so I’ll leave it there.

…well, one more thing: at their headquarters in Mountain View, they have a T-rex skeleton in the courtyard and a scale replica of SpaceshipOne hanging from the lobby ceiling. And those are only the 14th and 9th coolest things about the place, respectively.

Some publisher interest came up. So while I haven’t been updating the blog, I have been struggling to hammer out words that may one day be printed on sheets of paper and exchanged for money. It’s a novel concept…also very intimidating.

I had a few meetings and speaking engagements. Flew down to visit my aunt and talked to the students at my cousin’s school. I’ve been to loads of schools in the last year, but never in front of a relative. The stakes were a lot higher. Marco is in seventh grade, so a poor showing could have been disastrous for his reputation. He seemed to feel his stock went up as a result of the whole thing, so I guess it went okay.

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Got some nifty free stuff to take on this trip. I’ll talk about it later.

Planning to meet up with some TV show people for a day so they can shoot a promo for a travel series they want to pitch. I’m not sure I’m cut out for that sort of thing — dancing on camera is a lot easier than talking — but I’m going to give it a try.

Spent a lot of time planning out the 13 or so countries we’re visiting in the next month. But Melissa has really done the lion’s share of the work on that; setting up dancing events in each city, collecting the email addresses, sending out the invites, booking the hotels, and on and on. This new video is a lot more logistically complex than the last one, and there’s not a chance I could do this without her.

I’ve mentioned it earlier, but in case you’re wondering, I’m not announcing the Europe dates and locations on the site. You’ve got to sign up. I’d like to be able to post them, but that wouldn’t be a very wise decision for several reasons.

I will say we’ve picked about ten cities and we’re sending out around 80 invites in each one. It’ll be interesting to see how many people show up. So far they sound pretty enthusiastic.

Somehow, in between all that’s going on, we managed to catch the big summer movies we wanted to see. I’ve found Shrek excrutiatingly unfunny since the get-go, so that wasn’t anywhere near the list, but I did hold out hope that Spiderman 3 would be worth seeing. It wasn’t. Aside from some nifty Sandman effects, the most interesting thing going on was Tobey Maguire’s double chin.

Caught Pirates last night. I quite enjoyed the second one and found its overstuffed plot to be a nice counterpoint to the typical streamlined blockbuster. Part three was too much for me, though. I actually spent six months sorting out the Pirates of the Caribbean universe when I worked on the script to the PS2 game, and I still couldn’t keep track of who was where and why and which side they were on and why they wanted the thing they wanted and why they weren’t dead anymore.

I’m all for thick plots full of intrigue with lots of characters and shifting alliances, but at least SOME effort has to be made to let the audience in on what’s going on. If I’m watching Syriana, then fine; challenge me, leave me stumped and confused. But when I go to a Disney pirate movie, I want stuff spelled out a little better. Give me some Cliffs Notes.

Oh, and they forgot to make it funny.

There are still about five Africa entries I haven’t gotten to. I’m not sure I ever will, so here’s a quick overview:

– Spent a few days in Zanzibar. Found a place called the Zanzibar Curio Shop that is my all-time favorite store. Remember the shop in the beginning of Gremlins where the guy finds the Mogwi? Just like that.

– Madagascar. Lemurs. Fun!

– Went to Johannesburg and got a tour of Soweto, where some of the major events during apartheid took place. Went to a place called Soweto Kliptown Youth and danced with the kids. When I walked in they thought I was a dance instructor…There was nothing I could teach them. Also got a bone reading and found out my son is going to be a pain in the ass.

– Two days of safari in Zambia. Watching elephants off the balcony. Escorts to our cabin because of lions on the prowl. Sharing a safari jeep with a group belching, spitting, farting Chinese tourists. Very, very expensive.

– A couple days relaxing in Cape Town. Went to the top of Table Mountain and took one of the nicest walks I’ve ever been on. Checked out the outrageously scenic Cape of Good Hope.

Someday, maybe, I’ll elaborate. Anyway, off to Iceland in four hours. Seems we might end up blowing the whole Europe budget in three days there. It’s mighty expensive.

After that, it’s on to the mainland.

Bag is backed. Consciousness is waning. Time for a little sleep.

31 Responses to Seattle, Washington An Inverse Vacation

  1. Rich

    Glad to hear you are keeping busy. :)

    I saw the new Pirates movie yesterday too and I agree with your assessment. Visually impressive, with some clever, funny parts, but overall disappointing. There were a lot of “what the hell was that?” moments for me.

    I think it’s great that you are sharing your experiences. You have a great deal to offer.

  2. Tiffany

    I agree about the movies you saw. I too, saw them. I got very fusterated with the third Pirates movie.

    You are just one busy guy, hu. I can’t wait to travel the world someday. My mom laughs at me,but that just makes me want to prove to her even more that I will travel someday.

    I look forward to more journal entrys! Keep us posted when you can!
    Have fun, be safe.
    <3 Tiffany

  3. Yep. Saw Shrek 3 yesterday and wasn’t nearly as good as 1 or 2 :I…

    Iceland sounds exciting! one of those intriguing places I’ve always wanted to visit. Looking forward to reading what you have to say about it! :)

    stay safe.

  4. Hope you get some great videos Matt. It sounds like your future is beginning to mold into what you aspire to do…write, and you really do a great job at that. I expect to see you on the Travel channel in the future also! Best wishes on an inexpensive and fun-filled creative month. Don’t wait so long to tell us what’s going on!
    Stay safe!

  5. Hi Matt,
    I was wondering will you be stopping in Ireland on the european trip. The grass is always greener over here in Eire. Would love to see connemara on the vid’s.
    David

  6. you’re doing all right considering all you do is a stupid dance.
    my life’s been a fuckin nightmare, but i’m pretty sure i can do what you do.

  7. Chris

    Hey, I think it’s great that Google and the unnamed book publisher are keeping you busy. This dancing ’round the world thing has some legs. Don’t let the blog posts slip too often, ok?

    To the poster who told you to get a job… I find that quite hilarious.

  8. Wes

    I saw your video on youtube and wondered how you did that. It’s cool you just went and did what many others wish they could. Going and seeing all the different places would be cool.

  9. Kris Lindsey

    Your living my dream man. Thats amazing. You’ve got to do and see things i wish i ould but probabaly will never get the chance to. Enjoy every minute man…

  10. Cam

    Stride to Google. Pretty big leap if I do say so myself. Grats on that. Looking forward to seeing what will come out of it.

    While I don’t think I disliked the three movies that you mentioned as much as you did, I would agree that they weren’t anything especially great.

    I really do hope you eventually post some pictures, if not journals, on your other trips in Africa. I would love to see what that part of the world looks like through your lens.

  11. Siggi

    Great idea that I enjoyed very much. Been to 22 countries and never ever thought about doing that.. damn, you did it in an amusing way. My home is 50 meters away from where you will be dancing tomorrow in Reykjavik Iceland, so I will come by see you. I wonder why you did not choose some of our great nature wonders to dance at, like the geysers and glaciers etc… That square “Ingolfstorg” has no attraction or history.. Anyway I will be checking this site more often and see where you are.. I think you will be on Jay Leno some day.. I f you need some tips from a native about things to do and see, just email me, would gladly help out. Good luck with your prjoject!

  12. matthew

    When are you going to update some of your past journal entries? There are a few that I want to know about.

  13. Chiara Itaborahy

    Brazil Brazil Brazil!!!!!!!

    I was wondering will you be stopping in Brazil on your next trip.

  14. Alyssa

    Hey, Matt…

    I was cleaning up my desktop (on my laptop) last night and came across your vids, which I had d/l’ed last summer. I rewatched them, and it brought a smile to my face in the middle of a really rough work week. Keep dancing! You’re living my alternate reality (the one where I didn’t get married, settle down, have 2 kids and live happily ever after while only traveling 1-3 times/year). :)

    Ohh…and my next European destination is Spain in April ’08…I was surprised to see no “Spain” category on the website! Have you not been there??? If not, what are you waiting for???

  15. Melissa

    Enjoy your next European vacation! I concur w/ Alyssa above, I love reading your blog as it’s my chance to explore the world vicariously through another person’s eyes while I deal w/ the monotony of an office job! Can’t wait for the next dancing video.

  16. connie

    hey, i saw your video and i think it’s pretty amazing. i’m always thinking to myself that i’d like to travel the world one day, but that it’s probably never going to happen since i’m practical and will probably end up being a pharmacist or something. but you rock, and i think your dance is cool.

  17. Julia

    Matt,keep us up to date on your location. Your map doesn’t even say Iceland! Where next? Is there anywhere we can find exasctly where you are each day?

  18. jor-el =)

    when i first saw your videos i thought it was cool…
    and i realized that it tells us to live our life to the fullest…
    explore the world as the others do and have fun…
    visit phillippines someday…
    we have lots of cool places here…

  19. PLENTIOUS

    Don’t know if you keep up on all the comments. If you happen to read this, I’d just like to suggest that you try to post on something like a regular basis. Obviously you need to maintain a minimum level of quality in the content, but I know the ratio between my visits to check for new posts and actual new posts is easily in the range of 20:1. I find myself scouring your old posts for things I haven’t read yet.

    You have a great voice and plenty of experience to draw on, so for me it doesn’t matter if the post is concurrent to the experience.

    It is obvious you have many irons in the fire, and that is fantastic. I just need a continual flow of content in this form until your other projects become available for distribution.

    Thanks again for your epiphany and all that has flowed from it. I’m sure it must be wonderful and miserable to have a faceless horde demanding more and more from/of you.

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