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YouTube star taps explorer in everyone

Matt Harding tours the world and incites wanderlust in YouTube fans. He visited San Francisco this week as he prepares a sequel to his beloved travel video "Where The Hell is Matt?"

Hit the road.

That's the message that Matt Harding's feet tap out as he romps around in front of African elephants, lounging walrus and confused Buddhist monks in the video montage "Where the Hell Is Matt?" The clip, which features Harding doing a signature jig in exotic locations around the globe, became an online blockbuster after he posted it last year to YouTube.

The video has made Harding a source of inspiration to anyone with a desire to light out on their own world tour. He is now working on a sequel and visited San Francisco's Alamo Square Park on Wednesday (click here for photos of the event) to film a new scene in front of the city's famous housing row known as the "Painted Ladies."

Greg Sandoval

Harding is proof of YouTube's star-making powers. The gathering included people from Scotland and Germany. He shook hands with 6-year olds and sexagenarians. Men in business suits and women festooned in tattoos stood in line to have their photos taken with Harding. Mothers cradling babies danced alongside him.

His appeal likely comes from the fact that he's just an ordinary guy having a fantastic time, and is only different from the rest of us in that instead of just talking about seeing the world, he went out and saw it.

"If people get anything out of what I've done, I hope that it opens their lives a little bit," Harding said. "I don't want to preach to anybody. But I think people should be interested in International travel and step out of their comfort zones. It's really not that expensive or hard to do."

Another reason people like Harding is that he really does seem to enjoy discovering new places and meeting people. At the gathering in San Francisco, he listened to numerous travel stories and happily answered questions about some of the curiosities in his video. For example, Harding is seen in his original clip dancing underwater with thousands of jellyfish. Didn't that result in hundreds of painful stings?

No, because the jellyfish in Rock Islands, Palau, where the scene was filmed, are without predators and evolved into a stingless species, he said.

For an encore, Harding plans to continue working on his upcoming video and expects to post the finished product to YouTube sometime next June. He has no idea what to do after that.

"I don't know how to top this," said Harding, 31. "I don't know what else I could do. Maybe, I'll just put it to bed and find something else."