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Set Course: Geek Takeover Week 2019, Engage!

iowa riverside star trek

Hi. This might be out of the blue in case you’re new here but Geek Takeover Week is an annual occurrence. A week full of posts with a lot of geekiness, doses of travel or tech optional. Each day this week there will be a new post (with some from guest authors) to help close August out. You’re probably traveling right now, taking a vacation of your own so the nerdy side of my cerebellum has control of foXnoMad. Set your inertial dampeners to maximum, we’re going to warp…

Monday: Set Course: Geek Takeover Week 2019, Engage!

Tuesday: Is Globalism The First Step To Star Trek’s Utopian Society?

Wednesday: She’s back

Thursday: You’ll see

Friday: The weirdest of them all

Regular, twice a week posts will resume on Tuesday, September 3rd. If you’re interested in participating in next year’s Geek Takeover Week, feel free to get in touch. Until then, accept this gift from the Founders, may it keep you strong.

Taking A Short Break On A Break

Hi, just a short note from me that things will be a bit quiet on the blog during August. For those of you who are new around here, each August I publish my annual Geek Takeover Week. Since that week is a full 5 days of posts, I typically don’t post the week before or after. (Digesting all of that geeky goodness takes time.) Add on top of that a Turkish holiday in between and it means outside of Geek Takeover Week starting on August 19th, there won’t be any new posts.

But I’ll still be uploading on YouTube twice a week (why don’t you join me over there to ease the withdrawal?) Plus I’ve made a few tweaks to the About me page, as well as added some upcoming travel plans. You’ll also have a few giveaway announcements in my newsletter this Wednesday too.

Talk soon! And I always have trouble keeping quiet so why not let me know what you’re up to in the comments below 🙂

How Is My Goal To Visit Every Country Progressing?

new york city foxnomad

In 2006 2007… 2009 when I decided this was to be a blog teaching others how to travel smarter I wanted to also give foXnoMad, this site, a story as well. Around that time, I set the goal to visit every country in the world, with no particular end date. It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on that particular journey of mine, so here’s the latest.

How Do I Count?

One of the first responses if this goal of mine comes up is: how many countries are there? Well, it depends on who you ask. The United Nations recognizes 195, the International Olympic Committee 206, not to mention there are a number of widely unrecognized states as well.

Personally, I keep the count around 200, the details aren’t so important to me personally and since I’ve been traveling a lot of new countries have been created and other regions annexed.

Originally I had been using a map on the now defunct website Trav Buddy which abruptly shutdown last year. Prior to that, the first thing I would do when I got to my accommodation in a new country would be to check it off on the site. A small act to note the personal achievement.

What’s Changed

Since the loss of that site (it was terrible but at least kept a record of everywhere I had been), I created another map of where I’ve been. The interface of that map though isn’t great – there’s no grand list of countries on the user interface –  and after reviewing it now, some countries were missing. Relying so heavily on Trav Buddy wasn’t the best idea because it couldn’t be backed up and served as my memory for a long time.

galapagos foxnomad

As this journey has progressed (I’ve been to around 90 official and de-facto nations) the world has, to my eyes, become a lot smaller. There’s a bigger truth of the natural world we humans overlay with lines on a map, although they often delineate cultural or political differences, can be more arbitrary as well.

Do the sea lions in Galapagos know they’re in Ecuador? Of course not and it’s not very obvious to visitors either. Ecuador has done a very good job of preserving the environment in the Galapagos Islands, but if Mexico took over and did just as good a job would it really matter? Taking a trip to Quito would have checked the Ecuador box, including Galapagos by default. And it would have been missing the most amazing ecosystems I have seen during my travels.

Goal Still Set

There are many other examples of this I’ve witnessed. Seattle is very different than Miami so when I see people making the news for visiting every country in record time, I know they’ve not seen much of anything other than airports. The opposite side of the coin being having a long-term goal to visit every country means I’ve gone to places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

iberian airlines

Frequently, places I’ve not had a prior interest to go have turned out to be some of my favorites. Macedonia would have been put off. I would have missed this. Craiova, I hadn’t heard of it prior to the 2014 Best City Contest. The best bar in the world might be in Montevideo. Asuncion has the world’s most conspicuous electronics black market.

Before I go somewhere, I’ve either got a story in mind or one to find. For the former, lines on a map aren’t usually relevant but for the latter, they might get me somewhere to learn something I didn’t know, that I didn’t know.

And hopefully along the way, in words and video, I am able to share those lessons with you.

New foXnoMad Merch Shop With May Profits Going To Yemen’s Children

You can now show everyone how you travel smarter with foXnoMad gear including t-shirts, hoodies, and more in a brand new online shop! For a long time most of the things I’ve created have been digital products but now you can wear a few limited collections of foXnoMad designed merch while helping a good cause. All of the profits from the new foXnoMad Shop through this May will go to Save The Children‘s relief efforts in Yemen, more on that below.

foxnomad merch

What’s In The Shop

There are a few limited collections of foXnoMad, WiFox, and DroneMate apparel, plus two special editions of travel smarter and inspiration addict designs. You can check out all the merch in the shop here which includes clothing plus gadget accessories as well. The shop will be updated with new collections throughout the year.

foxnomad merch

Save The Children Campaign

One of the most memorable experiences during my 2013 visit to Yemen were all of the children who ran up to me asking to take a picture. That lead to a popular post, The Faces of Yemen. Not too long after my trip, Yemen’s civil war began and since then, whenever someone comments on that post, I wonder what has happened to all of the people there I met. In Yemen now, more than 12 million kids are in need of humanitarian assistance and 2 million don’t have access to education, in a critical time in life.

So came the idea to combine the launch of the foXnoMad Shop with Save The Children’s efforts in Yemen which provide health, education, and access to child-friendly spaces in a war zones. Hopefully this can be the beginning of other collective efforts we can do to help worthy causes in the future.

100% of the profits from now through May will go to Save The Children besides browsing is free – take a look and let me know what you like, don’t, and tag me with your merch on Twitter or Instagram all around the world! There’s also a 15% coupon code available for the next 3 days; be sure to use: welcome-100590388 at checkout.

travel smarter (and look good doing it!),

TipFox Tells You How Much To Tip At Restaurants, Bars And More Worldwide On Your Phone

tipfox app

One of the most satisfying moments of an international trip is sitting down at a restaurant for your first meal. A moment that’s often followed by a confusing calculation of how much tip to leave for your server? Do you need to leave a tip when paying with credit card? Do you even tip at all?

TipFox is an app I developed for Android and iOS to answer those questions for you,at restaurants, bars, and for other common services.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Covered By Country

From the map view TipFox shows you whether or not tips are generally expected, rounded up, not common, or just used in certain circumstances, all at a quick glance. From there, you can tap to get more information about a country’s tipping practices at restaurants, bars, for specific services (e.g. tour guides), taxis, plus descriptions on tipping etiquette as well on the details page.

There’s also a comment section to ask questions, add information, and connect with other travelers.

Other TipFox Features

TipFox is designed to be straightforward so you can spend more time enjoying your meal, guided tour, or haircut, without the pressure of worrying about not leaving an adequate tip. As a traveler you want to be polite and not under-tip staff who may rely on those wages. At the same time, it’s important to not be taken advantage of by a taxi driver who’s counting on the fact you might not know that tipping is an uncommon practice locally.

tipfox app

Within the app, information is included for services like hairdressers, guided tours, hotel staff, and more. TipFox is also continuously updated when you have an Internet connection, works completely offline, and can find where you are if you allow location services.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
Available On Android And iOS

TipFox is available for download for iOS on the App Store and on Android on Google Play for $1.99. Access to the information within the TipFox and all updates are free for life. (iOS users there are also discounts available if you’ve already using any of my other apps). I want to help make the mechanics of traveling easier for you, so you can focus on traveling. You can let TipFox worry about of how much to leave on a check – giving you more time to do everything else.

travel smarter,

London Has The Craziest Path Ever To Win The Best City To Visit Of 2019!

best city to visit 2019 complete bracket

Every year when The Best City to Visit Travel Tournament comes to an end, many people claim the result was destined from the Round of 64. Looking at this year’s winner though, it was hardly a given London would be voted by you The Best City to Visit of 2019!

London barely made it past Lisbon in a tie-breaker and had to go through 4 years of Final Four loses to finally win it all with your votes. Those of you who entered the year’s tournament, don’t get discouraged, you’ll have plenty of time to regroup for 2020. (Nominations will begin in February, sign up here not to miss them.) Congratulations again to Brian, who originally chose London, and wins $300 to spend at the Apple online store.

Party Time

For the past 8 years, I have visited the winning city which means London I’ll see you sometime soon. I’m thinking this fall, bringing a few friends along, and throwing a party in the city! Let me know if you live in London or will be visiting later this year and would like to join. Feel free to send me an email, we had a lot of fun last year in Granada.

Thank you again everyone for participating! One thing I love about the Best City contest is I never know where I’ll be going and it’s like a surprise travel plan you make for me every year. Cheers to that and London in 2019.


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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