I Started This Blog 10 Years Ago Today

June 24, 2016 by Anil Polat  

red fox

I can’t believe I just typed out that title. I recalculated it a number of times to make sure I wasn’t adding an extra couple of years but that’s right, 10 years ago on this date I wrote the first foXnoMad post.

A Short History Tale

Back then in 2006, this was a blog I created for a few friends and myself, so we could keep in touch. After a few weeks, I was the only one actually posting – a process that was surprisingly enjoyable. There’s a lot of crap from those early posts and it would have probably continued that way, until someone other than my mother left a comment. After a complete stranger had found foXnoMad (it wasn’t even named that yet) it occurred to me maybe I should put some effort into what I wrote on the Internet.

So I focused on two things I knew and was passionate about: travel and technology. Some time later foXnoMad took off with me following, on a journey that is now a quest to visit every country in the world.

Catching Up With Time

I move around. A lot. Constant motion means I’m continually balancing writing with traveling. Over the years, I had been keeping pace but didn’t have much opportunity to eliminate a pesky to-do list, plus turn some other ideas into reality. Not so much now, over the past 6 months I’ve been (more or less) in one place and in front of a laptop longer than I’ve been in years.

You’ll see the results of this temporary slowdown soon throughout the rest of 2016, most likely while I’m exploring some jungle I shouldn’t be in or testing any rational person’s fear of heights.

A Big Thank You

All of this – my dream to travel the world and write about the places I visit is because you read and support this blog. (Plus the blogger behind it.) I look forward to continuing the trip with you as foXnoMad expands later this year beyond anything I could have imagined in 2006.

Travel smarter,
-Anil

[Photo by: GDallimore]

5 Of The Best Beaches In Sardinia And How To Make The Most Of Them

June 9, 2016 by Anil Polat  

This is a guest post by Claudia Tavani, a former human rights lawyer and academic who has previously written about traveling in Cuba for foXnoMad. Claudia, who is from Sardinia, abandoned her career to follow her true calling, which has taken her on many adventures and misadventures across the world which she shares on her blog, My Adventures Across The World.

la pelosa beach sardinia

I always say that Sardinia is a great travel destination in any season, thanks to its great nature, unique archeological sites, beautiful cities and villages, ancient culture, festivals and the mouthwatering food. Yet, what Sardinia is most famous for is its stunning beaches and incredibly clear waters, that make it a paradise in the summer.

Since summer is well on its way and many are planning their holidays in Sardinia, here’s a (non-inclusive) selection of the top beaches in Sardinia, with a few tips on how to make the most of them.

1. Costa Rei

On the southeast of Sardinia about an hour drive from Cagliari, Costa Rei is not only one of the most incredible beaches in Sardinia, but one of the most amazing beaches in the world. Costa Rei is a long beach characterized by fine, golden sands and mostly shallow, clear waters. Ideal for families with children, Costa Rei is easy to access and there are kiosks, umbrella rentals, activities, and various places that organize excursions to the nearby beaches and islands. Additionally, Costa Rei is a good place to practice water sports such as kite surf or windsurf.

costa rei sardinia

How to make the most of Costa Rei: As pretty much the rest of Sardinia during summer months, Costa Rei gets crowded, especially on weekends. Since it is such a long, wide beach there are often quiet places if you’re willing to search a bit for them. Head there early in the morning to be able to place your umbrella in the front row. If you are bothered by the wind, when the strong mistral blows, opt for one of the protected coves nearby, such as Monte Turnu.

2. Cala Goloritze

On the east coast of Sardinia, in the Gulf of Orosei, this amazing beach is so unique that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cala Goloritze can only be reached by hiking (boats are not allowed to dock). The trail starts in the parking lot of Su Porteddu Bar in the Golgo Plateau, a short drive from the picturesque village Baunei.

cala goloritze sardinia

Cala Goloritze is famous for its arch, which can be reached with a short swim. Some people climb and dive from the arch, though I shall warn you that it’s not the easiest thing to do – occasionally someone gets stuck trying to climb – then rangers have to be called to rescue. The pinnacle is very popular for rock climbing.

The small beach of Cala Goloritze is made of tiny white pebbles. The incredibly transparent water is deep and very cold due to the infiltration of freshwater from the mountains around. Goats that are free to roam in the plateau above often pop down to the beach to drink from one of the sources, leaving visitors quite bemused.

How to make the most of Cala Goloritze: Cala Goloritze is tiny and gets packed in the busiest summer months. Yet, as getting there requires a good hike, this means that you will be surrounded by like-minded people who are there to enjoy nature. Make sure to start walking no later than 8:30 am. The walk is easy and mostly in the shade, but it does get hot after a while. On the way back, it is best to leave no later than 5:00 pm as the shade that comes from the surrounding mountains makes it a bit harder to see. Make sure to have plenty of water to carry on the way up.

The hike is mostly downhill on the way to the beach, and uphill on the way back up. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get down and it is best to wear good hiking shoes as it is a bit slippery. As it is completely isolated, there are no services on the beach – no bars, no toilets. You will need to carry whatever you think you may need.

There is a 1 euro fee to get on to the beach, the profits go towards its conservation. If you are not up for the hike, hop on one of the boats that from the tourist harbor of Santa Maria Navarrese take tourists to the various nearby (and gorgeous) beaches, such as Cala Sisine, Cala dei Gabbiani and Cala Mariolu.

3. La Pelosa, Stintino

On the top tip of western Sardinia, not far from Alghero and Sassari, the stunning La Pelosa has it all: fine, white sand; gorgeous clear and shallow waters; great view over another island (Isola Piana); and a Spanish tower to explore at its side. Easily accessible and fully serviced, the only downside of La Pelosa is that it gets packed with visitors.

la pelosa sardinia

How to make the most of La Pelosa: If you can’t be bothered with people, avoid going to La Pelosa in the peak summer months (July and August) and definitely avoid weekends. The parking lot is incredibly expensive, so it is worth considering going by public transportation. There is a regular service that runs from Stintino to the beach for around 1.5 euro, and it takes no more than 10 minutes.

4. Oasi Biderosa

The only words I can use to describe this place are “paradise on Earth”. Located in the northeast coast of Sardinia, the amazing Oasi Biderosa is made of 5 small coves which are surrounded by thick Mediterranean vegetation: Aleppo pines, junipers and cork trees contribute to diffuse a delicate aroma in the air. The fine sand and the clear turquoise water put the finishing touches.

oasi biderosa sardinia

Open from May to October, Oasi Biderosa is heavily protected, and as such only a limited amount of people per day are allowed to visit. This means that you will not meet so many people on the beach, but do have to plan your visit in advance.

oasi biderosa sardinia

How to make the most of Oasi Biderosa: In order to visit, you will need to make reservations by calling the numbers +39 333 179 83 35 or +39 342 355 99 75 between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm every day. Oasi Biderosa can be reached from Road (SS) 125, at kilometer marker 236.5. The closest village is Orosei, at about 13 km. It is about 43 km from tourist hub Cala Gonone and 50 km from San Teodoro and Budoni. Olbia is at 80km and Nuoro at 55km.

5. Cala Domestica

Located on the wild coast of Sulcis Iglesiente, an hour 15 minutes drive from Cagliari, this small cove is surrounded by hills on both sides with sand dunes behind, shaped much like a fjord. There is one main beach with an even smaller cove on the right side, which can be reached via a short walk on the rocks.

cala domestic sardinia

Cala Domestica used to be a harbor where metals extracted in nearby mines were traded at the end of a rail line used to get all the way to the beach. Remnants of the rails and of the warehouse can still be seen. An easy path on the left leads to the Spanish Tower, one of the many watchtowers built when Sardinia was under Spanish rule. The views from up there are simply spectacular.

cala domestica sardinia

How to make the most of Cala Domestica: As the rest of the Sulcis Iglesiente coast, Cala Domestica is often swept by strong winds and currents: double check the weather broadcast and opt for an entirely different place if strong mistral winds are blowing, as this decreases the chances of fully enjoying this great place. As with the rest of Sardinia, Cala Domestica gets crowded during the summer months and especially during weekends. There is a kiosk that sell light meals, snacks, gelato and drinks and that rents umbrellas and chairs.

Code Of Conduct On Sardinian Beaches

Do not take sand from any beach in Sardinia. Not only this is completely disrespectful of the environment and the people, but it is also a crime. Tourists are regularly caught at airports carrying bags or bottles of sand and penalized with a fine. Do not litter! Make sure you leave the beach as clean as you find it – if you don’t find garbage bins at the beach (for example, there are none at Cala Goloritze), do make sure to carry your garbage back with you. Finally, do not leave cigarette butts in the sand they also contribute to littering the beach!

Thank you Claudia for sharing some of the best beaches from your home with us. You can follow Claudia’s adventures, including rafting down mighty rivers, zip lining across canyons, and trekking to the craters of active volcanoes on he blog, My Adventures Across The World. Have any questions about traveling to Sardinia? Leave them in the comments below and Claudia will do her best to answer them.

All photos in the post above are courtesy Claudia Tavani.

Use Wall Outlets To Recharge USB Devices Faster On Short Layovers

June 7, 2016 by Anil Polat  

usb cable wall outlet

Keeping your gadgets charged can be a challenge when you’re pressed for time but plugging in your devices to a wall outlet can decrease recharge times significantly. Combined with the right charger, you can bring your batteries closer to 100% faster, so they’re powered up as much as possible before your next flight.

Outlets Aren’t Created Equal

You may have noticed how variable recharge times can be on your smartphone when plugged into your car on the way to work versus plugging in to the office computer. The reason is because not all USB ports and cables are made the same. Depending on how old your laptop is, it’s likely either equipped with a USB 2.0 or 3.0 (or higher) port. (Here’s how to find out which USB ports you have on Windows and OS X.)

Morecoo 60W/12A 6-Port USB Desktop Rapid ChargerMorecoo 60W/12A 6-Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger

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A USB 2.0 port can only supply 500 milliamperes (mA) of electricity; a USB 3.0 port can give you up to 900mA; while the latest USB-C tops out at 5000mA. Depending on the device you have, the battery might be able to take 2000mA or more when charging – but the maximum electrical output of the USB port or USB outlet adapter must be equal or greater.

  • Potential Bottleneck – The maximum milliamperes a device’s battery can draw can be limited by either the wall/car adapter or USB port it’s plugged in to.

All of this means you could be charging up in half the time or faster if you plug-in to a wall outlet with a charger that can take advantage of all the electricity it has to offer.

Zoom In On Output

Take a close look at your USB wall charger; somewhere on it should be the output either in mA or A (1000mA = 1A). For example, Apple supplies iPhones with 1000mA adapters but if you’re using an iPhone 6 or newer, the battery can take up to 2100mA; so using an iPad adapter means your 6s will charge in much less time. Keep in mind too, most laptops and computers don’t always supply the maximum amount of electricity to charging devices. In other words, maximum output might be 900mA but your tablet is only getting 750mA.

apple ipad wall adapter

Power Up Your Wall Charger

Rapid chargers like the Morecoo 60W-12A give you 6 USB ports, each of which can provide up to 2400mA of power from a single wall outlet. When there’s no outlet around, PowerStick portable batteries provide up to 1000mA, both quicker and more comfortable than trying to open a laptop lid in economy class.

In case you were wondering, having an adapter that supplies more amps than your gadget can take won’t damage it, as the battery will regulate how much it takes. Also, if you really want to charge up as fast as possible, don’t use your device while it’s recharging. (And if you do end up plugging into a laptop, not using either device will allow recharges to be as fast as possible.) Finally, once you’re away from an external power source, use these tips to extend battery life for all of your gadgets once they hit the road.

How To Take Time-lapse Travel Videos And The Best Times To Shoot Them

June 2, 2016 by Anil Polat  

belogradchik bulgaria fort rocks

Time-lapse videos are a great way to capture the action and feeling of your best travel moments without needing the attention traditional videos or even photographs require. Most recent smartphones and digital cameras have the capability to take time-lapses but if it’s a feature you’re not using, you may be missing out on a great way to spice up your digital photo albums.

What Is A Time-lapse?

Seeing one is the best way to understand what a time-lapse video is. You probably already have, but the term might not immediately ring a bell. To give you an idea, here’s a time-lapse video I took of sunrise at the Taj Mahal with an iPhone 5s:

Essentially what the camera (or smartphone) is doing is taking a single frame at an interval of every half, one, two, etc. seconds. In other words, the camera is taking a bunch of photos spaced apart in a relatively tight sequence, then the software puts them together, allowing you to capture 30 minutes of motion in a 30 second video, for example.

Get The Right Equipment

Most Android phones made after 2014 and iPhones 5s and up support time-lapse. On Android, you can download several apps to unlock time-lapse such as Time-Lapse Video Recorder or Lapse It. iOS users, the feature is built-in to the default Camera app – open it and swipe all the way left. (Alternatively Frameographer and Hyperlapse are more powerful option for iPhones.) A host of traditional digital cameras also support time-lapse, be sure to check the feature list to confirm.

Choose Your Subjects Slowly

Good time-lapse videos require patience but very low maintenance making inspiration travel moments some of the ideal times to take them. Since time-lapse videos are a set-it-and-leave-it type of thing, you won’t have a screen in your face obscuring amazing views better seen with your eyes.

  • Set Aside Time – The first step to getting good time-lapse videos is knowing you’ll be in one spot for at least 20-30 minutes. For example, when you’re sipping coffee at one of the best cafes in the world, set up the camera to capture the flow of customers coming and going. Sunsets are also good time-lapse opportunities, especially if you can stay after darkness has set in.

star wars sunset tunisia

  • Focus Around Movement – Choose the stationary objects in your time-lapse carefully because they’ll be visible over the entire length of the video. Using our cafe example above, a nice coffee cup framing the image on the right side or using a jet bridge for leading lines are some starter ideas.

Another good time-lapse trick is to film things that normally move very slow, like snails or airline employees behind checkout desks. Remember the camera or phone must be stationary the entire shooting time and there needs to be a steady source of motion. Crowds are an easy choice but so are boats on water; so long as you give the video a significant block of time so patterns of movement become evident in the footage. Remember, good travel photography principles apply, and keep an eye out for monkeys, many of whom like stealing sweets and shiny things.

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