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Geek Takeover Week 2020 Has Started!

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There’s a time of the year when anything geeky goes and travel or tech might not be involved at all here on foXnoMad. That time of year is now. Geek Takeover Week. A week every August with posts covering science, science-fiction, fantasy, and more. Or less. Or in between. August is usually when you’re on vacation so the nanoprobes takeover when nobody might notice.

Enjoy what’s to come… in the meantime if you’re curious, I talk a little more about behind the scenes of Geek Takeover Week of this episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

Can You Trust foXnoMad?

I’m occasionally accused of being paid to say things about a place or product you read about on this site, see on the foXnoMad YouTube channel, or hear about on the foXnoMad Podcast. So, I want to share how I run things across all the places you find foXnoMad content so you can make an informed decision to the question: can you trust foXnoMad?

You can watch the video above for the full answer to that question or read on for the highlights.

First, The Core

The tagline of foXnoMad.com (it’s right up there in the title image) is travel smarter. That’s the core mission with each piece of content across all the foXnoMad mediums: video, audio, written, or otherwise – to help you travel smarter in some way. Believing the best way to achieve this goal is by being objective, these are the guidelines I’ve setup for all the foXnoMad things.

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  • Advertisements – These are the typical ads you’re familiar with such as banners, “this episode of the foXnoMad Podcast is brought to you by…” and so on. Always disclosed, clearly marked as an ad, and always distinct from the content. Advertisers have no influence on the content where those ads can be found and can’t advertise on content that may happen to be about them.
  • Collaborations – Non-paid opportunities to work with a brand to do something that would be impossible or extremely difficult on my own. Driving across the United States for example in a pre-release Ford or being driven around an F1 track by a Formula 1 driver. Like ads, any collaborations are always disclosed.

foXnoMad, LLC, the company, is based in the U.S. meaning I’m also legally required to disclose advertisements and collaborations under these Federal Trade Commision (FTC) rules for social media influencers.

Reviews vs. Showcases

One thing I want to be clearer on is my use of the term “review.” A typical review I do of a piece of tech for example, is my evaluation, critique, and opinion on whether or not it might be useful for you. Advertisers cannot pay for reviews – rather those are most along the lines of showcases. Again, always disclosed, those showcases highlight the features of a product or service, but without purchase decision opinions. I leave that up to you.

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Open Inbox Policy

Brands are free to send to foXnoMad’s shipping address any products under an “open inbox policy.” Products that come in through the open inbox policy are under no obligation by me to do anything, not even open the box. This is clearly communicated with brands and many take the chance that their product will catch my attention. Occasionally they do and find their way on foXnoMad – but these are never paid.

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Occasionally there are pre-release or other products I’m interested in taking a look at and we’ll reach out to the brand for a review sample but those too fall under the open inbox policy. Generally speaking, nearly all of the tech you see was purchased by me.

Travel And Who Pays For My Flights?

The guidelines above also include travel. I pay for my flights and travel with two exceptions in the past (noted in the video, the last being 2014) where a brand paid for my flights to a destination. (Again, disclosed on all the content created relating to the project.) Otherwise, I pay for all travel costs and fortunately I’m in a position to do so thanks to your support of this site, on YouTube, on Apple and Android, plus the Shop where there’s new merch available right now 😉

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Working With Governments

When I say something good about a place, it’s because that’s what I think. Same goes for bad things. I’m not paid by governments to visit places – it’s a line I won’t cross. The primary reason being working with a government or official tourism board is a soft endorsement (or can be interpreted as such) of that government. It puts me in the position of having to play politics which I don’t want to do.

Visiting one place sponsored by one government but not another can lead to a variety of assumptions so I avoid it all by not working with governments or official bodies at all.

In the past there have been a couple of cases (both noted in the video) where I received entrance tickets to touristic sites when visiting Porto and Granada after they won The Best City to Visit Travel Tournaments in 2011 and 2018. Since those two exceptions I’ve decided it’s simpler and more objective to not work with governments or official government bodies at all.

App Privacy

All of the foXnoMad apps including WiFox and DroneMate are designed to use as little user information as possible. Any user data is anonymized and each app has its own specific privacy policy you can find on this site as well as the Apple App Store and Google Play. Also, I will never, ever, sell your information. Ever.

Can You Trust foXnoMad?

It would be something of a conflict of interest to tell you, yes, you can trust me. This post and video show you how I run things on this site and channel so you can answer the question thoughtfully, for yourself. Hopefully now, it’s a little easier to say yes.

The Differences Between Traveling In India And Pakistan

It’s hard not to think about one when thinking about the other and having traveled to both India and Pakistan earlier this year, drawing comparisons was impossible. Both countries are very similar but clearly distinct in ways that may surprise you, all in the video above.

What was unsurprising though is the controversy that video created but the controversial aspects weren’t expected. You can listen to the behind the scenes of creating my India vs. Pakistan video in a recent episode of the foXnoMad Podcast below.

Controversies and comments have been across a wide spectrum of thoughtful, aggressive, and generally ridiculous. In the video below I address some of the best and worst of the messages I received.

There are some general observations I made though in the differences between traveling in India versus Pakistan and vice versa.

  • Crowds – Until you’ve been to India, it’s hard to comprehend what a population well over a billion means. In contrast, Pakistan feels much less crowded which makes sense, it’s population (220 million) is 16% that of India.
  • Tourists – India sees many more tourists per year, fostering a well-developed tourism industry. Pakistan on the other hand is still up and coming – so there are fewer tour and other organized options.
  • Food – Similar in spices with just as much regional variation across both but with meat, especially red meat, making up a big part of Pakistani cuisine. India has a much wider variety of vegetarian options.
  • Accommodation – There’s more stratification in Pakistan, particularly for mid-tier budgets. India tends to have hotels that go much wider – ultra-budget and very high-end without as many middle-tier options.

None of this is to say one country is better than the other, a generalization so general it has no meaning. Travel styles and interests play a big part into whether India or Pakistan might appeal more to you. In both Pakistan and India however, you’ll find friendly people, amazing food, beautiful nature, and plenty of adventure to be had.

How To Stay In Shape Mentally And Physically During Lockdown

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Maintaining an exercise routine can be difficult during normal times and you may have noticed any workout momentum you did have waning as quarantine goes on. I recently spoke with RT Training & Performance Center gym owner and trainer Christos Monastiriotis about how to keep your body and mind engaged during quarantine on the latest episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

In many ways working out while you’re limited to home is a lot like staying in shape when traveling. You need both motivation and creativity to keep up with good hotel room workouts so most of Christos’ advice is applicable to frequent travelers. From nutrition to online personal training (offered at RT Training & Performance Center) plus the often neglected mental component, it’s an enlightening conversation you can listen to right here.

Your Coronavirus Lockdown Stories And Videos From Around The World

A few weeks ago I got in touch with my newsletter readers (you can be one too!) to ask how everyone was doing during this unprecedented global shutdown. These are difficult times for many but if there is one positive side, it’s a time when we have the Internet. We can communicate over video calls like Captain Picard, download any book ever written, and watch far too much television from any screen available.

In this sense, the world is a little smaller and many of you sent messages on what you’re doing to pass the time from around the world. Here are select lines from a few of your fellow readers, viewers, and listeners:

“I am in Colorado, on the Front Range. It is a beautiful spring day here and I am sheltering at home. When I used to work, I worked from home, so I am quite used to being isolated between trips. I feel like I have been training for this for 30 years.” -Pamm

“We’re taking the opportunity to go through the cookery books on our shelves to experiment with more dishes – Turkish and international. The exercise mat and dumbbells are in use, too.” – Julia (Fethiye, Turkey)

“I’m near Cleveland, Ohio, USA and we’re under a shelter-in-place order. I teach college history so I’m preparing to do that remotely starting next week. I’m spending my time catching up on some reading. It’s amazing how the absence of everyday “white noise” in my life is helping me refocus and re-prioritize.” -Laura

“Here in Berlin, things have slowed down, everything but supermarkets, spätkauf shops and pharmacies is closed and just take-outs available. I’m just flattening the curve at home, out rarely, but busy on the laptop nonetheless. Using the time to study… ” -Paul

“Every night at 8 pm we all open our windows and clap for several minutes in a row to thank the people who are still working out there to keep us alive. After the clapping is done, some of the neighbors start playing songs (very very loud) to motivate everyone else. Songs like “We Are The Champions” and some Spanish songs that I am not familiar with. I always smile at this time. It is a beautiful little routine that we have.” -Liz (Valencia, Spain)

A few of my travel blogger friends also sent in some messages you can watch in the video above. For a full version with more stories of how others are handling corona lock downs, check out this episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

I hope all of you are doing well. Expect a lot more travel and tech quarantine content coming your way on YouTube (shot earlier in the year) and right here in the meantime to keep your mind and wanderlust active!

Singapore Edges Istanbul To Win Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2020!

best city to visit in 2020

In a very close contest that came down to a few last minute votes, Singapore denied Istanbul a Championship again after you voted it Best City to Visit in 2020. Though the 2020 Best City to Visit Travel Tournament has taken place through pandemic lock downs and travel restrictions, your participation made this one of the most competitive Finals in recent years.

Singapore came out of the toughest bracket, facing a number of strongly-supported Pakistani cities to end up against Istanbul, always tough competition in the tournaments. Despite multiple trips to the Final Four, this was the closest Istanbul has come to ever winning Best City 2020 but again couldn’t get over the hump, denied by a small margin of votes.

But as the tradition goes, no Best City to Visit Travel Tournament is ever predictable and Singapore’s win was hardly obvious 4 weeks ago among the crowd of 64 cities. Congratulations to Tayyab who nominated Singapore originally (winning $500!) and all of you who voted and shared this year’s competition.

As it is after every tournament beging, many people write me wishing some city had been entered. There’s an easy way to ensure your favorite city is in the 2021 tournament – subscribe to my newsletter. Aside from more ways to travel smarter, sometime each February readers get the first picks. Typically I also visit the winning city every year though those plans for 2020 are pending the current coronavirus situation.

Thank you again everyone and congratulations Singapore! Hoping to see you later this year…

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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