Seattle, Washington Visa Purgatory

Long overdue update on that job post thing: Ranee Stewart has joined the team as our production coordinator. She's been putting together the first big trip of the new video for the last month and she is absolutely knocking it out of the park.

We've got two visas down so far and two more to go. I should be hitting the road in about a month. Incidentally: how hard do you think it is to get an Afghanistan visa? Turns out it's not that hard. A valid passport and two photo IDs and you can pretty much wander into a war zone.

I'm starting to get extremely motivated to get going on this new video. Having Ranee on board to plow through the bookings and applications has removed the last motivational barrier. I'm finally looking forward to living in airports and waking up in a new country every other day.

The dance training has been coming along. I got a crowd together in Volunteer Park a couple weekends ago to try out some moves and practice teaching them to people. It's new and challenging; the old dance was totally un-self-conscious, so it was easy to get big, goofy smiles out of people. When you're actually trying to learn something, you tend to look grim and determined, so it's harder to bring out that lightness of spirit. It takes rehearsal, but not too much or else everyone looks bored. Tricky!

Aside from that I've just been lining up people to dance with in the Middle East, waiting for visas to come through, and enjoying the spring.

I'm working on integrating some sort of TwitteryFaceybookyness into the site for the trip. Since finishing the book, I'm kind of done with long, meandering blog posts and it seems like the rest of the world is too. I'm thinking I'll do full posts every now and then and punctuate them with short bursts of a sentence or two with a photo — internet and smartphone technology permitting.

It would all be visible from this site, though, so (hopefully) no need to sign up for anything you're not already signed up for. The last thing I want to do is prompt anyone to join Facebook.

Oh, almost forgot. A very satisfying email exchange:

*****

Hi Matt—

This is _____, from Fox News Channel, in NYC. How are you? I actually loved your video over a year ago, when I first saw it online…I am wondering if there is any way you may be anle (sic) to join us for a possible interview on our show, Fox & Friends, to discuss your travel, and to play clips of some of the fabulous footage…Thanks so much, and hope to hear from you soon.


*****


Hi _____

Thanks for the kind invitation. I would rather stick a fork in my eye than appear on your hateful, fear-mongering, ignorance-spewing program.

-Matt

97 Responses to Seattle, Washington Visa Purgatory

  1. Are you going to be visiting any of the Troops in Afghanistan? I bet you could get some info from the USO and get some of the Troops to dance with you.

  2. I’d love to dance with you sometime! Keep up the great work…you’re spreading smiles around the globe!!!

  3. Iskaksen

    Where the hell where you during the flash mob dance at Eurovision Music Contest 2010?

  4. Carol

    Matt,
    Loved your response to Fox News. I’m a (relatively) old lady fan… You always make me smile. :) Looking forward to your next video.

  5. Rich

    Matt… really? Even if you hate Fox News, that was a pretty childish response to someone who engaged you politely. :( I’ve done a lot of things that I regret and I hope that someday soon you too will regret what you wrote. I also hope you regret virtually bragging about it by posting in a blog. :/ Anyway…

    I’m glad to hear that Renee is working out so well. I’m not sure how I feel about your new idea of teaching people a dance. Having everyone do their own thing was such fun. I guess I’ll find out when the video comes out. I’m pretty sure I’ll love it. 😉

  6. Mitsuko

    Matt,
    I’d love to dance with you sometime!
    Come to Chichen-Itza (Mayaland) Yucatán, México.
    I really enjoyed your last video, Best of luck with the new trip!

  7. Jeremy

    Love your videos, glad to see your doing another one!

    And I think your response to Fox was fantastic. Its getting responses like that that may make them some day rethink their frightening lack of conscience.

    Good on you!

  8. sam

    Great to hear you’re on the road again. Let me know if you’re UK bound! – oh and thanks for signing the book!

  9. pablo

    Hola Matt, perdón por no escribir en ingles pero es muy difícil para mi jaja. Me resulto extraño que en ningún video apareces en Argentina…espero que para el próximo nos incluyas. Suerte con el próximo viaje.
    saludos!!

  10. Diana

    Matt, I love your videos. With that I think you are very shallow and narrow minded. If you had ever watched Fox or Fox and Friends you would know that they do show and have both sides when doing their programming. CNN, NBS, CBS and ABC could never say that because they tell you what they want you to know and it is not always the truth. I will promise you this I will go to every military site and Blogger tell them of you. Our son is in Afghanistan fighting so that you can speak the way you do, since we still have freedom of speach in America. Matt in your travels you should have come to the realize how great America is how many freedoms we have compared to other countries, I know this because I spent 20 years in the Army. America is a great country, we are a giving country and a very kind country. Have a safe trip.

  11. Emir

    You are welcome here in Tunisia.
    We will be really proud to dance with you :)
    Good luck for next…

  12. Sarah

    Matt, you make such wonderful videos, but it must be so hard to dance with such a huge chip on your shoulder.

    As fun as it is to be snide to Faux “News,” the emailer did seem interested in talking to you about your videos, and not about your politics. They are, after all, an entertainment channel, not a news channel. You could’ve used it as an opportunity to engage some of their viewers (and anchorpersons) about what you’ve learned during your travels. But therein lies the problem — maybe you really haven’t learned anything after all.

    Travel is supposed to open your mind, so stop being such a self-righteous prick, will you? You’re lucky to have the job you have, and that people wish to talk to you about it is simply something that will happen when you are somewhat “famous.” It won’t always be people you WANT to talk to, but if the President can give FOX his time, you can, too… or at least find a nicer way of saying “no, thanks.” All you did was give that FOX employee another excuse to think all liberals are a-holes.

  13. Chris

    To all the folks who feel bad for poor little Fox News, did you read their original email to Matt? Yeah, they were so polite and cared so much about what he’s doing that they didn’t even proof their email to him (“anle”). Please, get over yourselves.

    And to Diana: my husband is a veteran and I have many service members in my family. You don’t have to watch Fox News or believe what they say to be patriotic. Matt said nothing bad about the United States, only about Fox news, so let’s not get the two confused.

    Rock on, Matt!

  14. After reading this, I stopped watching Fox news. I had no idea they were ignorant or hateful. Why is everyone so quiet about this?

    Thankfully someone finally had the courage to buck the trend and call out Fox news. Well done!!!

  15. Matt, two words:

    Video-diary

    Keep us updated during the journey, or simply make a documentary afterwards, but you are going to go all round the world with videocamaras! Give us the story behind the video!

    BTW. Everyone I show your videos to, goes emotional very quickly (Nothing like watching grown up men clapping hands to the rithm of a youtube video, smiling like cracy, like if they where helping you dance doing that)

  16. Hilary

    So Matt,

    I hope Rome is on your list this time. I’d love to meet you. Glad to see things are still ticking along. And the book! Good work there.

  17. mark

    Really enjoyed watching the videos again, reminds me there is so much of the world I havent seen.

    Keep up the good work matt! Email to Fox was great,I’m glad to see you sticking up for what you believe in and not making time for such an abhorrent company

    Best of luck mate, I look forward to the next video

  18. Sprite

    You need to get over yourself, Chris. People are entitled to their opinions.

    Who cares about a typo? It takes a LOT for me to defend FOX news, but their email was fine. Matt’s response is what bothered me. It’s not the first time he’s been childish and obtuse, whch you might have noticed if you weren’t so busy being a kiss-ass.

  19. mark

    Its not really about the email though is it. Matt chose not to speak to Fox due to what they represent and stand for as a company, he’s more than entitled to chose who he speaks to. He’s has absolutely no obligation to speak to Fox and I’m impressed that he has turned down what basically amounted to free publicity and took a bit of a stand.

  20. leslie

    I very much admire Matt for taking a stand and not only turning down the free publicity, but naming Fox for what it is. Go, Matt.

  21. For those who don’t know: Faux News has a history of politely inviting broad-minded, progressive guests who have actually accomplished something, then eviscerating them on-air and cutting them off when they try to defend themselves. I’m pretty sure that’s what Matt was responding to, not merely the email.

    Matt, I personally am NOT tired of your longer blog posts. If you are tired of writing them, I can understand; but please don’t stop because you think no one wants to read them. I know I do and, from the comments here, it seems I am not alone.

  22. miten

    Your response to FOX and Friends was perfect. I would have been disappointed to hear you paid a visit to that catty, sexist show. It’s too bad that other celebs/personalities don’t have the courage to avoid hateful, fear-mongering programming. FOX News has created so much negativity in this world that they don’t deserve someone as delightful and positive as you on their show.

    That all said, I’d love to join your next Seattle gathering, if one should occur. I’ll keep an eye out!

  23. Susan from Edmonton

    I just about peed myself when I read your email exchange with Fox News! Great response!!

  24. Pat

    Funny thing regarding the Fox interview you passed on.

    When Hurricane Katrina hit several years ago, I was visiting with my in-laws in Kingman AZ. My father in law was a Fox fan, but got disgusted with their slanted coverage of the disaster. From that day till he died three years ago, he watched CNN.

  25. Myriam

    I really enjoy your video, but never you has been to Colombia South America, a beautiful country, with kind people and fantastic landscapes. The only risk is after you come, you want to be.

  26. Dale Thornton

    Your videos have that feel-good uplifting mood to them which millions enjoy. A huge percentage of those people also watch Fox News as evidence by its overwhelming ratings so obviously politics is not an issue in favoring your work, why would you make it one?
    Hateful fear-mongering? Ignorance spewing? You must watch a different channel than I do. You reject exposure to many fans of your work with a simple flippant intolerant response which reeks of immaturity and limited experience. Good luck however, I look forward to your next one- political views aside.

  27. Ben

    Matt! Come to Oxford, England. It’s clearly where it’s at! You’ve got beautiful unis, shrunken heads in museums and amazing parks. What more do you need?!? :)

    See you soon and keep up the videos!

    xx

    Also yes, Fox are rubbish…

  28. Anne

    Feel free to stop by Kentucky or Ohio. You’ll find plenty of people willing to dance with you!

    As for the FOX News incident, maybe it was a bit childish, but at least it was direct and to the point. And you did say thank you.

    Besides, honestly, how many of you are here for Matt’s political views? If you’re against what he said, shrug it off and continue to enjoy what you came here for. If you think what he did was great, laugh along and do the same.

  29. Jerry

    Can you believe how many people actually don’t recognize FOX for what it is? You hit it right on the head Buddy! Keep steering towards the good and thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Tatiana

    Noooooooooooo!!!! I’ll be so sad to see your longer posts go; you are SUCH an engaging storyteller! I LOVE seeing the world from your point of view, even when I don’t fully agree with it. Of course I haven’t yet bought your book… I will I promise… but I remember you mentioned it would be just a collection of two-page explanations of various locations from your videos, and you’ve written such beautiful longer posts online! And I remember here and there you alluded to many holes you never got around to posting about, and there are so many places I still want to learn about from you, since you are my favorite travel writer… again I’ll get the book, I promise… sigh.

  31. Matt T.

    Your videos are a paradox, they show how far we are and how close we can be. Please, keep up the good work.

    As to the Faux news comment, quite funny, they are a dark comedy, not news at all.

    Anticipating your next effort ! A Matt !

  32. Berto

    Like the 2008 video, however there’s too much spontaneous fox hatred for me on here.
    …typical, I suppose for this mindset. LOL

  33. Matt, thanks for telling Fuchs where to stick it. Much appreciated. We’d love to have you at our ecstatic dances in Portland, Oregon! Get in touch if you’re headed this way!

  34. Russ

    Matt I recently learned of your site through Ian Usher, the “sold my life on eBay” guy. Obviously your videos are entertaining. Documenting your travels in the original way you have is artistically brilliant.

    This whole Fox News thing though… Really? Obviously you are a very closed minded liberal to respond to them that way. I don’t watch any news because I feel it is all skewed one way or another. There is no “impartial” reporter. If you would have gone on that program you could have possibly reached a closed minded conservative and taught him something you learned on your travels. It is the closed minded intolerance on all sides that has divided this country so sharply. This administration (Pelosi, Reid, Obama, and gang) has been more divisive than any in memorable history. Conservatives can certainly divide as well, but none in power have been as destructive to the cohesion of this nation than those in power now. Fox is simply fighting back at the traditionally liberally controlled media of yesterday. While I am not a fan of many of the personalities on Fox, at least they don’t just suck up to what a destructive governemnt wants them to say.

    Just saying…

  35. Zee

    I will miss the long posts, but I understand if it takes too much time and effort to write them. I can’t wait for the new video! Let me know if you are coming to China, where I am taking a gap year (partially inspired by your videos/sense of adventure).

  36. Scott

    Which comment should I post?

    Always enjoy reading your posts, Matt.

    OR

    How could you be such a jerk to Fox News? They are nice people just trying to make a living. Maybe they don’t have the time or the money to do what you do for a living, and your childish response to a genuinely sincere invitation may have just made them hate all people that dance on the internet.

    OR

    Way to go, Matt! That was the best response you could have ever come up with to put the wily FOX in its place. You sure know how to stick it to the man!!!

    OR

    You are an inspiration to bad dancers all over the world! Keep up the good work!

    OR

    I have just wasted several minutes of my life trying to come up with something creatively absurd to post on a site that I enjoy visiting, and this is the best I could do.
    Really? Does anyone think that posting a reprimand or applause here is going to change anyone’s frame of reference or perspective?
    Why am I even posting, if not for the overblown sense of self importance that I feel and the deep desire to make my otherwise insignificant voice ring out on a bigger stage than what I am capable of creating for myself? Reflected glory? Self-righteousness? You choose.

  37. Ashlee Rose

    Fox news email exchange = MADE MY WEEK.

    Diana,
    I’m pretty sure your son didn’t go to Afghanistan expressly to defend Fox News. America is a big place. It’s not just Glenn Beck’s prejudice-stained office.

  38. barbara451

    fantastic response to fox news!! I don’t understand how those that disagree with you have the heart (literally and figuratively) to enjoy the love you bring to the world.

  39. ajs

    Wow. Just found out about you from the Stride website, and all was well until I saw this post regarding Fox News. I am impartial to all media sources, and could care less, however, your post makes you look childish, disrespectful, and clearly unable to participate in an adult exchange, even if it is only via email (with Fox News, or anyone else for that matter). For someone who projects an image of worldliness and acceptance, you definitely proved that it is all an illusion. You’re still an ugly American tourist.

  40. Fraenk-e

    Matt, I like your work, your attitude and personality (that I feel to recognize between the lines). Of course, we all have to make a living and not all people can not do what they want to do (cause they need to feed their family, have sick relatives, friends or else). Maybe the reporter at “Faux News” was one of the ones who want to change the company from within?! Yes, I agree with “Rich”(posted June 04, 2010 at 07:49 AM).
    Wisdom is to act wise. It takes time to realize. (C)2010 fraenk-e
    Help improve the world a little and have good influence on all.
    Regards to Melissa,
    Fraenk-e
    (Hell, no, I’m not on drugs, nor highly religious. Just in deep, deep thoughts… 😉
    PS: How about dancing with him? link to youtube.com

  41. old friend

    Matt is right about his opinion. “I would rather stick a fork in my eye than appear on your hateful, fear-mongering, ignorance-spewing program.”

    However, that statement coming from him does appear harsh. Matt could have been nicer/professional about it. If Matt perceives fox news as hateful, fear-mongering, and ignorant then he should have taken the opportunity to enlighten the mind of the other side (fox news). I think Matt is in a good position to do so. I understand there is risk associated with it. A real life example would be Obama, who despite many blistering attacks went to the republican convention and showed them the flaw in their logic. An age-old-wisdom (coming from not such an-age-old-person) is, you still talk to your adversaries even if you don’t want to or don’t like them for some reason. My opinion is Matt should backtrack and act as a healing figure by 1) telling sorry to the original emailer about the email and blog post and 2) appear on that show regardless of how much he and I disagree with that channel. It doesn’t show weakness for a man of morale to give up some zeal/ideal to help heal across. The last person I remember who never gave up any ideal is Bush. Would Matt feel comfortable being compared to him? I don’t think anyone will blame you for participating in it. If you have the good faith and proper reasoning to appear than none of your true supporters or friends will think ill of it. If you think you won’t have the morale by appearing in Fox then that’s your prerogative. You have done many great things to enlighten the world and bring world peace!

    Hope you forgive this old friend for trying to help you get back in the track. :)

  42. Paul

    I got your site from a friend in Seattle at Boeing. Really enjoyed it.
    Then I read your comment to someone from Fox. Yeah, that was real adult. Typical of what I would expect from someone who played and programmed video games and living on someone’s dole. What are you doing anyway? Indulging yourself with the help of corporate sponsorship. As such, comes the realization that working people are supporting your efforts in a sense. So would that mean that everyone at Stride gum who watches Fox is a hate monger? Am I since I watch it?

    My father served in Iwo Jima so Americans could be free to do what you do. But doing what you do, and responding to a request like that makes you as closed minded as the people you criticize actually. You should be proud of yourself (not), and age will reveal to you, the error of this type of behavior. Fox has some idiots to be sure, and I consider CNN to be too left-biased for me, but if I was asked to be on there, I would go and make my case like any reasonable person, a better way to make a point than acting like a baby.

  43. I wonder, what is it that causes the disconnect? It’s fairly obvious that media outlets are just that…media, sustaining off advertising revenue. So why grant any more credence to one or another? Both are the same animal.

    I’m late to this development, but I loved the first two videos, and am looking forward to the next. As a TCK, I can say they spoke to me. I’m an American Citizen, but spent little time there growing up…and when I first moved back to the US, I hated it. Fat, excuse ridden people looking for excuses to tear down communities rather then build them. In many respects, I still do, because the “conservatives” and “liberals” are so damned self righteous. It’s on both sides, and it’s disgusting.

  44. PolishKnight

    I was referred to Matt’s journal by a conservative and was going through his travels and impressed until, as another commenter pointed out, he revealed himself as another smug, leftist jerk whose full of himself and literally fell (through bad dancing) into a fun career.

    What’s the worst thing Foxnews represents? An opinion that Matt disagrees with! After he lectures Americans about how they need to get out into the world and experience different cultures, he reveals that he can travel the world and still remain closed minded and blind to reality. He awkwardly dances in all kinds of places where if he tried to tell them off, they’d throw him into prison in a second. There was a typo in the Foxnews letter! The horror! Nevermind the women in burkas in the Middle East, the beggar slave children he walked by in India, and the millions of bones he rode over in Siberia.

    What if more Americans did what he suggested and travel? Ever hear about global warming?

    All that said, we forgive you Matt. You’re just going along with the popular sentiment of those you’re surrounded by much like the people you visit who are so quaintly strange and then you can then fly away from them when they get too annoying or uncomfortable with your views or vice-versa.

    The real challenge to one’s views comes when you start a family and stay in one place and then have to literally walk the walk. You haven’t done that yet. You probably never will due to your recently found fame. But the rest of your friends, when they hit their 30’s and have to move their stuff out of their parents’ basements will face that reality and secretly turn on Foxnews (or other ideas you find “hateful”) and move on with their lives to reality.

  45. Traece

    It always makes me laugh to read negative comments on, well, anything really. It never ceases to amuse me the lengths people will go to for the sake of convincing people to agree with them on the internet, myself included. Apparently a spot-on assessment of Fox News is all it takes to be immediately labeled as “close-minded” in this world. I would venture to guess that at least half of you never considered for a second that Matt could have a reason for hating Fox News personally. For so much as being a consumer of the gaming industry he has plenty of reasons to hate Fox News. We’re talking about the same Fox News that posts articles claiming that video games are directly related to increase in crimes involving rape, and using a video game that doesn’t even have sexual content (or even romantic content) to speak of as the subject to assert this. President Obama himself has made jokes at the expense of Fox News. A lot of you have referred to him as being “childish” which is frankly, childish. If you think this is childish, I’m more than willing to bet you have probably never been involved in anything related to real journalism. I’ve seen talk show hosts bash Fox News (and not just for the sake of comedy either) to their audience of millions of Americans, but goodness how could Matt ever do something as childish as insult Fox News to their face? PolishtKnight even brought up Global Warming to seemingly point out that Matt is inconsiderate. What? Comments like that make my head hurt. If you’re going to make absurd statements please at least refer to it as “Climate Change” and not the archaic “Global Warming.” Also for the record Diana, your son does not fight in Afghanistan so that Matt can insult Fox News. He’s also not fighting for our freedom. Last I checked, we’re not very concerned about massive enemy incursions on U.S. soil. Now fighting THAT would be protecting our freedom! He’s protecting THEIR freedom, and that should be worth just as much to you.
    If tl;dr was your first thought when you saw this paragraph, here’s the short version: People who think that Matt is close-minded for not liking Fox News, are close-minded for not being willing to consider he probably has very good reasons. You may as well have argued that the tide goes in, and out, and Matt can’t explain that. It makes as much sense as your arguments and I can make a cool “are you serious?” face at them.

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  51. It would all be visible from this site, though, so (hopefully) no need to sign up for anything you’re not already signed up for. The last thing I want to do is prompt anyone to join Facebook.

  52. rom Fox News Channel, in NYC. How are you? I actually loved your video over a year ago, when I first saw it online…I am wondering if there is any way you may be anle (sic) to join us for a possible interview on our show, Fox & Friends, to discuss your travel, and to play clips of some of the fabulous footage…Thanks so much, and hope to hear from you soon.

  53. As fun as it is to be snide to Faux “News,” the emailer did seem interested in talking to you about your videos, and not about your politics. They are, after all, an entertainment channel, not a news channel. You could’ve used it as an opportunity to engage some of their viewers (and anchorpersons) about what you’ve

  54. Matt, I personally am NOT tired of your longer blog posts. If you are tired of writing them, I can understand; but please don’t stop because you think no one wants to read them. I know I do and, from the comments here, it seems I am not alone.

  55. You may have not intended to do so, but I think you have managed to express the state of mind that a lot of people are in. The sense of wanting to help, but not knowing how or where, is something a lot of us are going through.

  56. And I remember here and there you alluded to many holes you never got around to posting about, and there are so many places I still want to learn about from you, since you are my favorite travel writer… again I’ll get the book, I promise… sigh.

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