A World-Class Wrecker: Globe-Trotter Matt Harding ’94 Muses on Boredom, Westport, and How to Classify Antarctica

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Let’s just get down to brass tacks: Matt Harding is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished and inspirational Staples graduates to ever pass through this school.

And he’s 34.

Harding, who graduated from Westport’s public school system in 1994, has captured the hearts of millions around the world by, coincidentally, traveling around the world. His incredible videos on Youtube, entitled “Where the Hell is Matt,” have a combined total of over 60 million views.

In his videos, Harding compiles 5 second clips of himself dancing in various countries across the globe, from Easter Island, Chile, to Seoul, South Korea. In these clips, Harding dances the same goofy dance in front of the various beautiful environments. For example: when Harding went to Sydney, Australia, he dances on the grass behind the world-famous Sydney Opera House.

Inklings was fortunate to interview Matt, who hopes to get a new video out by the end of 2011.

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Inklings: How can you afford to travel the world as frequently and vastly as you do?

Harding: I make videos as I go and those videos get enough views online that I can pay for my travels through endorsements and sponsorships.

Inklings: Is there anywhere you haven’t been?

Harding: Loads of places. The more places you go, the more you realize how unfathomably enormous this planet is. You can’t possibly imagine it without your head exploding.

Inklings: Which country that you have been to was the most exhilarating?

Harding: Antarctica — though I’m not certain that’s technically a country. But did you know the Nazis tried to claim it for Germany by air-dropping spears with Swastika flags on the ends and embedding them in the ice? Supposedly the flags are still out there somewhere. Look it up!

Inklings: What inspired you to make these videos?

Harding: Initially, just messing around. Later on, it became a way to continue funding my travels. And later still, the whole thing started to take on meaning and become about more than just getting to travel. You could say I backed into the inspiration part.

Inklings: Are you sponsored? Is this your fulltime job, or merely a long-term hobby?

Harding: Yes and no. My last two videos were sponsored. The current one I am self-funding and planning to profit from once it’s finished. The internet video business has evolved a lot in the last few years, and I am trying to change with it. In any case, yes, it’s been my full-time job — for lack of anything else to point at and say “that’s my job” — for the last five years.

Inklings: What was Westport like growing up? Was it so boring and unexciting that you felt compelled to literally travel the world?

Harding: Not at all. I feel privileged to have lived there. Any place is as boring as you let it be. When we’re young, we think all the excitement is happening somewhere else. But the truth is it’s pretty much the same crap anywhere you go. And boring people find themselves bored, while others find things to keep them occupied.

Inklings: How many globe trotters are there? Do you think your fellow globe trotters have traveled as extensively as you?

Harding: There are 167 of us, but we are very hard to find. I am ranked somewhere near the middle.

Inklings: Do you remember any teachers from Staples that you’d like to shout out to?

Harding: Mr. Decker, who taught me there’s no such thing as a synonym. Dr. Lieberman, who lived in a world that was way more interesting than the one I knew. Mr. Harrison, who taught me how to ask the right questions. All of them, I think, helped prepare me to travel.

Inklings: What lies ahead?

Harding: A lot of airport departure lounges.