I haven't decided if I adore Matt Harding or resent him. On the one hand, his videos put a ginormous smile on my face every single viewing. But on the flip side, I'm insanely jealous that this self-proclaimed slacker with a bad running man dance is living out my fantasy: traveling the world and getting paid to do it.
So who is Matt Harding, you may ask? Well, he's a 31-year-old Connecticut-born Internet celeb known for a series of videos that feature him goofily dancing in locations across the globe. Apparently it began a few years ago during a trip to Vietnam, when a friend suggested Matt should exhibit his, um, unique dancing skills in each country he visited. He uploaded the resulting video to his Web site for family and friends - but it continued to get passed around via e-mail - eventually becoming a viral phenomenon.
The Stride chewing gum folks caught wind of this and sponsored a second video. During the filming, several Rwandan children came out and danced with Matt, sparking the idea for the third video, also sponsored by Stride. That video - which involved 14 months of travel to 42 countries - was released about two weeks ago and has already racked up nearly 5 million views on YouTube alone.
So why on earth is this video so endearing? Well, it's hard not to grin when you see Matt happily flailing his arms and legs about in 69 different locations on every continent. From a hill in Bhutan to a village in Zambia, a rock formation in Northern Ireland to a tulip field in the Netherlands, he high-steps his way across the world - often joined by crowds of locals trying to mimic his free-spirited dancing style. For example, in the Solomon Islands, a large group of children joyously dance around him, while in Papua New Guinea, several tribesmen bob up and down in accompaniment. And there is something so uplifting and infectious about watching people of all ages, colors and nationalities, dancing with complete abandon together. It's a silly - yet important - reminder that we are all more alike than we think. Or as one YouTube commenter suggested: "As long as people can dance, there's joy. And so long as there's joy, there's hope. And if hope doesn't make you happy, I don't think you can truly claim to be alive."
Here's hoping this puts a smile on your face this Tuesday. I'll be back later this week with sugar-free recipes and tips.