Category: Site News

I Traveled With A Beard And It Was (Very) Different

bearded emoji

A few weeks ago, I let you know I was taking some time off. A week before that I stopped shaving. Combined with traveling across land borders and through airports, I was unaware the bearded experience was writing this blog post.

I’m even not sure if the differences in my travel experience was because of Growing the Beard. Yet after years of traveling all the time, the weeks with my Riker beard seemed to correspond with a lot things that hadn’t happened before. Other things that were rare became very frequent.

This isn’t a rant. I simply found the contrast interesting and certainly surprising.

Setting A Baseline

The configuration of my facial hair is highly variable but I occasionally clean up before flying. I was traveling in a part of the world I thought I blend in, have traveled before, so I figured border crossings would follow a normal distribution of events. Car searches have been rare but occur. Bearded me was one for one. Bearded me then became two for two. Plus got pulled over immediately after and questioned a bit, after my documents were inspected again. More traveling and bearded me was then three for three, and so on.

riker beard

I’ll add again: I’m not complaining, security is often opaque, so it’s entirely possible a certain type of car is being profiled or inspections are increased for any number of reasons.

At the airports as well, documents checked, before entering the airport. Not everyone, just me. Same thing with metros as well in various cities and countries.

A Few Minutes More

All of the security personnel were nice enough and the most these checks did was add some minutes to the streamlined travel routine I have. So much so that I began to add extra time into the routine. To be even more efficient, I unconsciously kept my travel documents much more readily accessible, whereas after the usual security checks I normally bury them somewhere in my backpack.

Security In Security

There’s something about being questioned when traveling that makes you feel safer. “I’m glad I’m being checked.” And I am. You can let your mind drift from there into why am I being checked, something entirely different. Like I mentioned above, that’s not the point of this post. Only that it was fascinating – there’s a lot of random checks I’m leaving out – and now I’m very curious how things will change after I shave later today before I catch my next flight.

Interview With Game Of Thrones Actor Tom Wlaschiha About Fan Conventions

From Star Trek to Harry Potter and yes, Game Of Thrones, nerds travel for many reasons. I was fortunate to attend a small press conference with some Game Of Thrones actors and asked Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar) about the other perspective – what do the actors think of fan conventions? A man has no name but he’s got a nice answer you can hear in the video above.

Some Of The Best Things I Never Imagined Would Happen: foXnoMad 2017 Highlights

wildlife sos elephant india

Meeting rescued elephants at Wildlife SOS, for example. Years ago when I set a goal of visiting every country in the world and created this site, I had no idea where it would take me. Every year, I’m still amazed at the experiences I have and often as these things are happening, I’m thinking, “I can’t believe this is my life.” A lot of it gets spread across blog posts and social media, so I wanted to share a condensed version of some selected highlights of the past year with you.

These are some of the things that happened in 2017 I never thought would, but I’m very happy they did.

1. I Was Named Honorary Ambassador To Granada, Spain By The Mayor

After many years of coming close, Granada won the Best City to Visit Contest. Granada, Spain, is one of my favorite cities in the world but I never thought on my second visit I would be named an honorary ambassador by mayor Francisco Cuenca. Before visiting, I wanted to throw a party celebrating the city’s victory with food and drinks for all the people who helped vote Granada Best City to Visit in 2017.

With the help of the Granada City Council, Tourism Board, and Botanico Cafe, we accomplished just that. And, the person who nominated Granada in the first place, Tianna, used her prize to book round trip tickets to Istanbul. The Best City to Visit Travel Tournament 2018 begins next month, expect even more prizes.

granada foxnomad

2. WiFox Became A Top 7 Travel App

There are over 2.2 million apps in the App Store and last year, WiFox became the 7th most popular travel app for iOS.

wifox app

I released a second app, DroneMate, in 2017. Having it mentioned and recommended by a professional filmmaker like Casey Neistat was also surreal.

csaey neistat tweet

3. Interviewed Game Of Thrones Cast

A man has no name. But he has an answer. I interviewed some of the Game Of Thrones cast at Aniventure Comic Con in Sofia, Bulgaria.

4. Met Nick Seluk

At the same convention, I had the opportunity to meet Nick Seluk, the artist behind The Awkward Yeti comics. Nick’s story is very inspirational and I highly recommend you watch this video to hear it.

5. Wrote My 2,487th Blog Post

This was it. This is number 2,491. Wow.

Travel Highlights

At the end of 2016, let alone 2006, I couldn’t dream that I’d be training at an mixed martial arts academy in Edinburgh, trying to get scammed on purpose in India, or that foXnoMad would be in the New York Times. There’s a lot I can’t even remember, I’m sure which will come back to me as soon as you are reading this.

edinburgh mma

I want to thank you for all of your support in 2017. Support you showed in so many ways on foXnoMad articles, videos, apps, emails, comments, likes, coffee, beer, suggestions, and countless other ways. I hope you have a lot of travels and fun trips planned and that I can help you travel smarter in the upcoming year.

Cheers to all of the unexpected in 2018.

Travel smarter,

WiFox And DroneMate Apps Are On Sale Now As Part Of The foXnoMad Air Pack

wifox app dronemate app

A little over a year ago I released the WiFox app, a map of airport wifi passwords from around the world for Android and iOS, which has since become a top 7 download in the travel category of the Apple App Store. Several months ago, I released my second app DroneMate, a continuously updated guide to all the drone laws around the world.

Both are available for iOS and Android as separate purchases but now on iOS for iPhone and iPad, they’re part of the foXnoMad Air Pack. The foXnoMad Air Pack includes WiFox and DroneMate together and saves you 15% on the download. Current WiFox users can complete the bundle and get DroneMate at a 25% discount. (Unfortunately Google Play doesn’t support app discount bundles.)

how to gift ios app

One More Thing

In addition to the discounted price, there will be a few other surprises with the foXnoMad Air Pack in the near future. The foXnoMad Air Pack is available now for iOS devices and can be gifted to traveling friends as well.

One Year Since Release, WiFox Is Now A Top 7 App Store Download

wifox app

In August of 2016, I released the first version of WiFox, an offline map of airport wireless and lounge passwords from around the world, on iOS. A month later, the Android version of WiFox became available. In that time, WiFox has been a trending app on Google Play and the 7th most popular travel app on iOS.

It’s been a busy year – WiFox 14.0 is out for iOS, 21.0 for Android – here’s some of what’s been going on, as well as a little sale, details below.

WiFox Around The Web

Currently available in over 30 languages, WiFox has been reviewed or mentioned by Mashable, lifehacker, TIME, The New York Times, plus a lot of other places. Many of you sent me emails with links of WiFox appearing in international publications for which I am grateful, thank you very much for your support.

time magazine logo   mashable logo   huffpost logo   lifehacker logo   buzzfeed logo   msn logo

iflscience logo   the new york times logo   business insider logo   yahoo logo   el pais logo   the independent logo

WiFox now has over 920 airports with passwords and details on how to get online. (New wifi connection information is updated literally around the clock.) I continue to develop WiFox as well with added features, graphics, performance enhancements in each version.

wifox ios app store     wifox google play android
No Ads, No In-App Purchases, No Privacy Sales

Your privacy is still very important to me, something which not only goes for the WiFox app, the foXnoMad website, but my DroneMate app as well. The WiFox privacy policy is very clear. I mention this because a (surprising) number of companies have offered me a lot of money to modify WiFox so it could be used to collect various data about its users. I’ve refused them all. I recommend you check the privacy policy of any app you download, particularly ones that are free to download. You may be paying with your personal information instead.

Bundle Up With The foXnoMad Air Pack

On the App Store right now, WiFox is part of the foXnoMad Air Pack. You can download WiFox for half off when you purchase it with DroneMate (or the other way around). Current WiFox users can get 25% off DroneMate to complete the Air Pack bundle.

Those of you who’ve downloaded WiFox, if you’re happy with the app, I would really appreciate your 5-star review on Google Play or the App Store. You can also email me any feedback or feature requests as well.

I wanted to catch you up on WiFox since I don’t often get the opportunity to follow up here on foXnoMad. I also want to thank you all for your continued support of WiFox, the other projects I work on, and of course, the foXnoMad site. You are the reason I get to do what I love for a living as I get closer to my goal of visiting every country in the world.

I’ve Got Good, Free Coffee For You That Supports A Great Cause

Although coffee might not seem directly travel or technology related, it fuels a lot of our days when we’re on the road – and back home as well. A good friend of mine Felipe and his wife recently created a coffee subscription service that brings unique blends right to your door. At 1723 Coffee Roasters, you can choose single-origin, organic coffee blends from South and Central America to be delivered to your home or office on a weekly or monthly basis. For every subscription purchase, 1723 Coffee Roasters in partnership with the non-profit Techo, will help rebuild a home for a family that has been affected by a natural disaster in Central and South America.

1723 coffee coupon code

Felipe was kind enough to give all of us a coupon code so you can get your first order free on any subscription. There are more details in the video above but go to, use the code “NOMAD” at checkout, and enjoy your next brew!


About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More

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I Traveled With A Beard And It Was (Very) Different

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