Insta-travel-icon Matthew Harding went around the world in 2003, documenting his travels on Wherethehellismatt.com. His personal website contained notes and pictures about his travels, as well as a video of him dancing in different places around the world. The video made the internet rounds and was downloaded to thousands of computers across the globe.
How did you come up with the idea behind Wherethehellismatt?
I had a job in Brisbane, Australia for a few years and I reached the point where I’d had enough of it. I loved Australia, but I was sitting in front of a computer screen all day and I knew I needed a change. It was about time for me to head back to the States anyway, so I quit my job and decided to use the money I’d saved to take the long way home and buy a round-the-world ticket.
The web site was just a way to document the trip and keep my friends and family posted on what I was up to.
When did you decide to ‘dance’ in a list of places around the world?
I was in Vietnam with a friend of mine. I have a stupid dance that I do whenever I’m happy, or excited, or antsy, and on the spot my friend came up with the idea of having me stand in front of some passing motorbikes and do the dance while he filmed it. We did it and it looked pretty funny, so I kept doing it everywhere I went.
How did you decide on your dancing locations?
The dance was an afterthought — just something I’d stop and do whenever I was in a place that seemed worth doing it at. I never went anywhere specifically to do the dance.
How did it become the popular ‘must see’ travel site?
A guy found it on my site and showed it to some friends. They put it up on their blogs, which led to more and more blogs. The link started showing up on sites like Metafilter, Fazed, and Somethingawful, which highlight randomly amusing stuff off the internet. From there people started passing the link around on email, it kept snowballing, and now I get a few thousand visitors a day downloading my video.
Do you have any plans to continue dancing around the world?
Absolutely. I’m looking for sponsorship right now and trying to figure out a way to keep adding to the video.