Seattle, Washington The Tipping Point

So I sent an email a couple weeks ago to a nice guy named George. George noticed the domain name in my email address and went to my site. George stumbled upon my dancing video and thought it was kinda funny. George put it on his blog, one thing led to another, and everything exploded.

If I’m reading my site traffic data correctly, well over a thousand people have downloaded the video in the last 24 hours. That’s several times as many people as have seen it in the year or so since I put the first version up.

I should thank Mark as much as George for contributing those couple extra yodels that led to the avalanche. And Rob and Elaine and Jason and everyone else who linked to it. And of course, my pillar, my strength, Melissa; who watched it before anyone else and taught me that dancing like a transcontinental imbecile has unanticipated effects on certain women.

Reading people’s reactions to the video has made me really happy. I’ve always said, if I can make one person feel miserable and unsatisfied with his life (curse you, gender-specific pronoun!), it was all worthwhile.

I’d like to address one issue that kind of bugs me: I am not chasing that Bangkok prostitute into the brothel.

What happens is this: while I’m dancing, she walks over and puts her face right up against my side. Unaware of her presence and in the throes of dancing hysteria, I jerk my elbow into her chin really hard. You can see it right there in the video if you watch closely. The turning and the chasing is not some crude frat boy gesture. It’s genuine, heartfelt concern for her wellbeing.

…or at least something approximating concern.

I’d also like to mention that the video isn’t actually entirely 100% complete. There’s a clip from the Seychelles that a guy shot for me with his own camera. I’ve been badgering him to send it to me for six months with no luck yet. Hopefully, by the time you read this, it’ll be in there. It was a particularly difficult clip to get and certainly one of the most memorable.

I’m haunted by all the great places I visited that I didn’t manage to get clips of. In actual fact, it wasn’t until halfway through that first big trip, in Hanoi, that my friend Brad said "Hey, you should do that stupid dance you do in every place you go and take videos of it." The clip with the motorbikes passing by in the background was shot about 10 seconds after his suggestion. So I didn’t get clips in Malaysia, Singapore, or New Zealand (oh dear God, the stuff I could’ve gotten in New Zealand). I didn’t get clips on the Pacific islands of Palau, Yap, Guam, Chuuk, or Pohnpei, or in the amazing WWII wrecks scattered in their surrounding waters. I didn’t get a single clip in Australia, where I lived for three freaking years. I didn’t get a clip with the exiled Tibetan monks in Dharamsala, India. And I actually FORGOT to take one on the dirt road in Nevada that leads into Area 51. I got one in Mongolia, but it was a nothing shot of a train station taken at the last minute a few feet from the Russian border instead of amidst the vast, rolling hills that comprise most of that very surprising country. I would really like to have shown how beautiful Mongolia is.

Regrets, I’ve had a few, and certainly not too few to mention.

But I’m a schmuck to gripe. I’m a lucky guy for just getting to go to those places. And I’m luckier still for having been able to document it in a way that people actually seem to enjoy watching.

Anyone who’s done any kind of traveling knows how it feels when someone asks how your trip was and you can only sputter incoherently for a while. You’re invariably left grasping for adjectives and the person who asked wishes they hadn’t. It’s more than sorta ironic that with a journal spanning way more than your average novel in length, the thing that gets it across best is a three minute freestyle jig.

I got my laptop fixed, by the way. I could’ve almost bought a new one for what it cost to replace the screen. I’m back in Seattle and dealing with the consequences of putting travel before employment. My bank account lost a lot more weight than I did in Africa, and only one of us gained it back. I’m trying to find a way to make a living at something I enjoy without having to chain myself to a desk, a commute, and two weeks off each year. I’ve got a plan and it may be coming together in the following months. If it doesn’t…crap, I don’t know what I’ll do.