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Anil Polat of Foxnomad, “a Nerdy Guy who Loves to Travel”

26 June 2012 interview 5 comments

Anil Polat smoking nargile

Few months ago, I asked my old friend, Dr. Google about the most fascinating country I ever stepped into – North Korea… and after few pages, it landed me on the page of a travel blog with a strange name Foxnomad. The guy wrote a small guide to visit North Korea and I felt the need to add my information… so, we started to have an online conversation… in meanwhile, I was browsing his blog. Which I found excellent with so many tips and information. Afterwards, I discovered the guy is not Australian, Canadian, American or British as most of the international bloggers, but Turk ! Wow – this was really cool… not only that Turks are some of the nicest peoples on earth (from my own experience), but because the guy broke the monopoly of native English writers, becoming one of the most read international travel blogger. So, this is why I asked for an interview…

I might start with a pretty standard question, but important for those who do not know you: who is Anil Polat ?

A nerdy guy who loves to travel.

 

Why Foxnomad ? Where the name comes from ? When did you start it and what kind of subjects do you deal with ?

I don’t have a good answer to this question. But it revolves around the fact that aside from human beings, foxes are the only mammals to inhabit all 7 continents. I started blogging  about 6 years ago and write about things from travel to tech. I try to stick to my blog’s theme in each post and teach people to travel smarter.

 

You confess on the landing page of your blog you used to be a computer hacker. A year ago, my blog was hacked by a group of Turkish hackers… You were one of them ?

Maybe. I’ll tell you if you deposit a $50,000 dollars into my Nigerian bank account.

 

So, you decided to leave your probably nicely paid IT security consultant job to travel the world. Are you serious ? In the middle of the world economic crisis ? Why ?

Leaving my job was probably the hardest part of my decision. I loved the work, the people I worked with, and my boss, but I was compelled with the challenge I had set out for myself.

 

It is nice to travel around. How do you finance your trips and pay your bills ?

Mostly by hacking Romanian travel blogs :) And by selling advertising on my sites as well as publishing 3 ebooks.

 

You wrote also some ebooks. Can you describe what did you write there ? By the way, where can I buy them from ? Just checked the local bookstore and it wasn’t there.

My first ebook, “Overcoming The 7 Major Obstacles To Traveling The World”, walks you through how to go from an office desk to out traveling by breaking down a huge goal into manageable parts. My now (latest) “The Ultimate Tech Guide For Travelers Version 2.0”  covers all of the gadgets, apps, and hacks to make you a smart traveler. And it comes with 6 months of free tech support from me so you get remote support as well.

They’re both on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly through my blog. I didn’t make any hardcopies (though will print them on demand) but felt paper wasn’t appropriate, especially for “The Ultimate Tech Guide For Travelers Version 2.0”. (Open the first few pages and you’ll see why.)

 

You decided to travel the world… and to visit ALL the countries. Why ALL ? Where is your counter right now ?

It’s a goal that gives me direction but is vague enough to not feel confining. I think the counter is somewhere around 56 but I don’t keep very close track.

 

Amongst your destinations, I spotted some places where only madmen would go… Iraq, Egypt after Revolution… Man, those places are really weired. How did you travel and left undamaged ?

They were surprisingly some of the places I’ve felt safest in my travels. Nothing like I had expected.

 

Which is the most surprising country you visited ? I mean expectations vs. reality on ground ?

Northern Iraq.

 

One of the most debated projects of your blog is “The Best City to Visit” http://foxnomad.com/category/site-news/contests/ . Tell me more about this competition… How did you come up with the idea ? Which are the rules ? Who were the winners ? How were they selected ? Now, you can confess – did you manipulate the votes, I cannot imagine Bucharest not being selected the best city to visit. And, by the way – Did you attract any haters ? Or just praises ?

It’s a contest I’ve been running annually over the past few years, modeled after the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. The basic format is people nominate 128 cities and then each week in a round robin people vote until one is left. This year’s winner was Sarajevo.

Every year the competition becomes more intense and think if you can rally Bucharest early it will be a tough city to beat.

Once the contest starts I stay out of it; I watch with anticipation in the voting like everyone else and since I visit whichever city wins that year, it’s a nice surprise for me at the end. As for haters, well, they say critics appear when you’re doing something right.

 

You mentioned Bucharest… You visited it quite recently. Which is your opinion ? Do you have any funny story from my home-town ?

It would have been nice to be in Bucharest during the warmer months but I found the people to be intriguing. Unfortunately no funny stories, at least none I can probably share.

 

Now, I talk to the high tech geek Anil Polat. I am pretty dumb in technology, I got my first travel laptop one year ago and my first smartphone in March. Which are the indispensable gadgets of Anil ?

I travel with all of my gadgets (and all else I own) so maybe it’s easier to point out what I don’t travel with. Although I have an iPhone, I haven’t opened up a mobile line and for most of the past 4 years. That’s usually what shocks people the most.

 

Which are the latest gadgets which will become indispensable for a travel blogger ? But for a usual traveler ?

It depends on how you travel and what you get online for. Many people can get away with a tablet for casual Facebook and emailing; but otherwise a laptop is still ideal in most cases.

 

And now about the traveler Anil… which is the place you failed in love with ?

I have many but my favorite city in the world is still Istanbul.

 

The best story you tell to friends after a few liters of arak ?

Let’s share a bottle or two and I’ll tell you.

 

Did you have any incident in your travels ? What can you advice other travelers to avoid ?

A few but none where I felt too much in danger. My advice is do some research on the things to look out for before arrival, ask your hotel/hostel for specifics, and trust your instincts and use common sense. Also don’t advertise you’ve got anything worth stealing (e.g. smartphone) on your person.

 

The last, but not the least…. My English blog is just one month old, so it requires a lot of feedback. Could I have your friendly advices what to do to make it interesting to an English-speaking audience ?

It’s hard to sum up an answer to that question briefly but I’d say be interesting whatever language you’re writing in.

1. Anil Polat in cairo.jpg

Anil in Cairo

2. Anil Polat hot air balloon.jpg

In a hot air balloon (did he look stressed ?)

3. Anil Polat in Moldova.jpg

In Moldova, in Orheiul Vechi

5. Anil Polat in Vancouver.jpg

and in Vancouver, Canada

Până acum există "5 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Anil… you were too brief talking about Romania. I am curios what did you like, what did you dislike, what you visited. Tx

  2. Dan says:

    Thank you, Anil. So, you need to come back to absorb Bucharest better :)

  3. Anil says:

    Most certainly!

  4. […] dintre cele mai citite bloguri de calatorii din lume si sunt mandru ca acum cateva luni mi-a oferit un interviu pentru editia in engleza a Imperator Travel.  De vreo 3 ani, organizeaza o competitie care se […]

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