muse [myooz] :
1. to think or meditate in silence, as on some subject.
2. to gaze meditatively or wonderingly.
What inspires travel? Many would say there’s an element of discontent that leads one to travel beyond their own borders. Others say that man works best when there is a journey ahead. Others, seeing family. For me, it’s elements of all of these (non-committal I know).
I enjoy meeting people of different cultures and seeing how they do life. I like seeing them interact with their friends and laugh with one another. All of this seems pretty idealistic, and with good reason. Many in eastern thought would say that when we meet other cultures and learn their customs, even if we choose not to adopt them, it moves us closer to our most ideal version of self. I don’t know about all that, but suffice it to say that it is hard for me to return from any trip unchanged.
There are many who have caused me to stop and think about traveling and inspired me along the way. Some have simply posted a video and wouldn’t know me from Adam, others I’ve connected with via Twitter and will meet in 2013. I thought I’d share them with you.
Matt Harding (www.wherethehellismatt.com)
Matt Harding, an American from Connecticut, was working for a video game developer in Brisbane, Australia, when he decided to take a year or so off and go travel Asia with some buddies. He had a goofy little dance he would do by people’s desks when he was ready to go to lunch and wanted some company (I guess the idea being the dance was so annoying they’d drop whatever they were doing and go to lunch). So a friend had a video camera and told Matt to go out in the street and “do that little dance you always do”. They did it at pretty much every city they visited, and upon their return Matt decided to post it on the internet. In the pre-YouTube days, Matt’s “Dancing” video is thought to be one of the first viral videos.
In 2006, Matt received a sponsorship from Stride Gum to do it all over the world this time. When asked what they wanted in consideration for the money, they simply told Matt to be himself. He did.
For the 2008 edition of the video, Matt contacted Stride for one more video. Having developed a massive worldwide following on www.wherethehellismatt.com, he wanted others to join the fun. It took an amazing amount of coordination, and here’s the result:
4 years later, on his own dime, Matt concluded the Dancing videos with a truly epic feat of videography and coordination. Upon showing up to a meeting place, all who wanted to dance with Matt were taught a dance, and then they filmed it. When I first heard the idea I was skeptical, but the execution and delivery blew me away (still does):
Chris Guillebeau (www.chrisguillebeau.com)
Chris began a quest on his 30th birthday in 2008 to see every country (determined by the UN) in the world by his 35th birthday. Along the way, he chronicled his journey on his website. Much of his travel was covered by credit card bonuses and frequent flyer miles. It was through his site I found the world of Travel Hacking, flying around the world for next to nothing.
Many would consider visiting 193 countries enough of a feat, but it wasn’t for Chris. Almost 5 years later, Chris has crossed 191 countries off his checklist. Not only is he two countries from his goal, he’s also written two bestselling books, The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Startup. Not bad, right? Well, even that wasn’t enough. Chris founded the World Domination Summit, a conference for like-minded entrepreneurs and creative thinkers to join forces to change the world. I’m looking forward to meeting Chris at his last country (Oslo, Norway) next April, and at the WDS next July in Portland.
Casey Neistat (www.caseyneistat.com)
I came across Casey’s video on youtube, which opened my eyes to his mastery of the visual medium. A skilled, self-taught videographer, Casey’s talent is applied to everything from advocating common sense bike lane laws in New York City to the video that grabbed my attention, Make It Count. Nike sent Casey some money to make a video about what it means to Make It Count. What Casey decided to do instead will go down in history (well, at least my history) as one of the greatest videos ever seen.
These are some of my travel muses. What are yours?
To your travel,