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Travel, technology, and social media – an interview with Anil Polat

For anyone on Twitter who has had questions on social media and technology, Anil Polat is someone many have sought answers from.  Travel writing, blogging, and travel tips are how Anil got started.  Now his websites and name have grown as foxnomad has opened a new door to the world of travel writing.  Check out Anil’s story and how his writing and focus have evolved.

Where were you born and raised?  What things interested in you growing up?

I spent a fair amount of time between Turkey and the US growing up.  My parents are journalists and that ensured a fair amount of traveling for me early on.  I had many interests, and loved to learn about anything I could and take things apart.  I was like the reverse engineer better at taking things apart rather than putting them together.  That’s probably why I became a hacker later in life and why foXnoMad is written the way it is.

What was your favorite travel memory growing up?

It’s difficult for me to stay, traveling was such an integral part of my childhood.  I didn’t really know any other life but I relished in the fact that I got to see many different worlds so early on.  If I had to choose though I’d say I was always happiest in Ankara.

What has been your favorite destination and why?

I don’t have a number one favorite just a few so far, but the list is fluid.  My favorite city is Istanbul and my favorite beach is Boracay in the Philippines but each place has a unique set of circumstances that can make it great.  That’s one of the reasons travel is so fun.  It’s less about the place and more about the experiences that make them memorable.

Of all the things you were interested in, why did travel intrigue you so much?

I’m fascinated by human culture.  I love seeing the common threads that bind us as human.

What did you do in your career before traveling and blogging became your passion?

Traveling long been a passion of mine and I blogged for many years while working as a computer security consultant and professional hacker working for the “good guys”.  Before then I formally studied cultural anthropology.

As a travel blogger, your style and what you wrote about changed.  What’s the difference between you 4 years ago and the you now?

Focus! 4 years ago my blog was an ill-conceived way for several friends and I to keep in touch.  After about a month though, I was the only one writing.  After a year of floundering and bouncing around I decided to write about a topic I love and know very well – travel.  Over those 4 years I’ve also developed an approach, voice, and focus all of my posts on trying to help people travel smarter.

Where did the name foxnomad come from?

Funny, I get this question a lot and don’t have a great answer for it.  The name just came about one day, much better than my old URL (an acronym with some digits at the end).  I suppose it comes from my idea of foxes.  It’s the only other mammal – also highly adaptable – aside from humans to have colonized all the continents in the world.

As foxnomad.com evolved, you have become a resource for technology related questions for travel, blogging, and social media.  How did that come about?

I love technology and my background gives me a good basis to write about those topics.  I never had any intention of taking it that way but realized people have many questions in those areas and there aren’t too many sites combining technology and travel.  As for blogging and social media, I launched another site discussing just that (TravelBlogAdvice.com).  After 4 years of writing and turning blogging into a career, I wanted to share all that I’ve learned.  It’s a huge topic and many aspects of it can be daunting.

What piece of advice would you give to those who have a passion for travel and writing but are discouraged or don’t know where to start?

Travel and write!  Come up with specific goals, layout a plan with milestones, and take the steps you need to get where you want.  Be stubborn with your dreams but flexible with your plans. There are also many people out there to help you – Twitter and blogs are great resources to meet some of them.

foXnoMad is a site that aims to help you travel smarter. Whether it’s technology, living on a budget, or figuring out a specific culture in the world you can learn the little tricks and hacks to be one step ahead of where you were before.

Check out more of my interviews and guest posts from travelers:

Adventure travel – Ted Nelson (Part I Adventure travel, Part II Interview)

Family travel – Jenna Francisco (Part I Family travel, Part II Interview)

From humble beginnings to travel entrepreneur – Andy Hayes

Traveling Young and Free – Andy Hayes

Travel with your five sense – Keith Jenkins

Sharing your travel experiences – Melvin Boecher

Social media, travel industry, and tourism – April Mescher (Part I, Part II, Part III)

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  1. JennaFrancisco says:

    I love Anil’s sites, and he’s one of the friendliest guys I’ve encountered out there in the travel community. A great guy and a great resource for travel bloggers with questions about tech stuff/blogging/StumbleUpon, etc.!

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