Using navigation apps on the streets of Kigali

My driver asks me which route he should take to Kicukiro. It’s my first time using Move, the Volkswagen version of Uber that’s used in Rwanda.

Kigali street

I see that my driver has a map on his app with the directions, and point at it. “Just follow that”. He glances back at me with a confused look. “Okay,” he mumbles.

You tend to remember the first time you take a taxi in sub-Saharan Africa. Not only is the traffic etiquette somewhat more liberal, local drivers tend to know routes across the city that most Western car owners would look at with…


When COVID-19 hit Zanzibar

Zanzibar, I thought, might be good. White sand beaches, piña coladas. A tourist bubble, maybe, but comfortable. Just a few days, until I figure out what to do.

It was February 2020. My visa had run out and I had to leave Cape Town, where I’d been living. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had just began its global travels. The South African borders were closing, and flying to Europe had become extremely pricy. Without a home or place to stay there, I thought, why not just go somewhere else until this thing blows over?

The flight through Addis Ababa was all but empty…


Dave and Deb of travel blog The Planet D discuss the pandemic, and the difference between travelers and tourists.

Deb and Dave have been running the award-winning travel blog, ThePlanetD.com since 2008, and have traveled to 110 countries on all 7 continents since 2000. Like most of us, however, they’ve been stuck at home since 2020. I interviewed Deb about their thoughts on the future of the industry, and the difference between ‘travel’ and ‘tourism’.

Deb and Dave of The Planet D

How have you experienced the Covid-19 crisis, both as industry experts and as travelers?

The Covid 19 crisis definitely affected our business. We saw an instant drop in traffic almost overnight. And we have been grounded from traveling. We earn a living from people…


An interview with TikTok travel couple TerPlanet

Some of the most popular travel influencers of today seem to come in pairs. Deb and Dave of The Planet D, Murad and Nataly Osmann, or Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen all have millions of followers on social media.

It makes sense: the dream of a perpetual nomadic lifestyle is interesting, but the one thing that it might have going against it is a sense of loneliness. Living the traveling life with your partner seems like having your cake and eating it, too.

Karen and Terence are a married Italian couple in their mid-30’s who have made traveling the world…


An interview with Barnabas Takacs

With a 10 dollar cardboard headset strapped to my face, I am looking around a corridor of the Atlantis The Palm resort in Dubai. An accompanying cinematic funk soundtrack highlight the luxurious atmosphere. There are no other tourists in sight. After a few seconds, the scenery changes, and I find myself in the hotel lounge, the swimming pool, and the restaurant. The video, titled “Atlantis Dubai Virtual Tour,” is one of the many 360-degree videos offered on YouTube.

PanoCAST, Atlantis Dubai Virtual Tour

The VR experience is part of a project called PanoCAST, an immersive broadcasting solution for mobile interactive experiences. Also known as immersive…


“I hope that entitled residents of cities like Venice, Kyoto and Cartagena will now realize how stupid they were complaining all these years.”

Robert Schrader runs the popular travel blog Leave Your Daily Hell, as well as several successful bespoke itinerary services. He was doing very well with both until COVID-19 hit. I talk with Robert about his business, his anger at the global response to the virus, the touristic quest for authenticity, and the term “overtourism” — which he finds repulsive.

Robert Schrader

First off, how have you experienced the coronavirus crisis, both as an industry expert and as a traveler? Has it changed your ideas about the future of tourism?

Covid-19 — or at least the response of global governments to the pandemic…


On Soccer Mommy’s “circle the drain”

In 1997, British pop rock band Feeder released a song called “High”. It got featured in the romcom Can’t Hardly Wait and became a hit in the US one year later.

The song is built on a simple I-IV-ii-IV progression and a wide dynamic range. The song, and Feeder’s sound in general, wasn’t entirely original, and more than a little bit reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins’s “Today”. When Feeder’s singer Grant Nicholas puts on a shrill and angsty voice to sing “I will” in the chorus, it’s hard to not hear he’s trying to replicate something.

Some two decades…


An interview with Nomadic Matt

Matt Kepnes, colloquially known as Nomadic Matt, is one of the world’s most famous travel bloggers. He started his blog, Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site, in March 2008; in the decade that followed, nomadicmatt.com has become a home for people to learn how to “travel more for less”. …


On the geography of romance

Think back on a moment you truly, properly felt to be in love. Perhaps you drove out together to the seaside, or secretly held hands at a festival, or you spent all night talking in the living room.

These are some of the strongest imprints in most peoples’ memories. In the melancholy we experience years later, we often find ourselves stretching to bring back the memory. A little self-enclosed universe to temporarily inhabit, untouchable but, hopefully, coherent. …


Tinder’s Passport feature is built on touristic imagination

Tinder has made its Passport feature free for all its users throughout April. Typically reserved for paying members, it allows users to change their profile location in order to match up with people across the globe. Just click on a city in the world you’re interested in and begin swiping.

The dating app is pitching its offer as a remedy against isolation brought about by COVID-19. “People are feeling a potent mix of anxious and lonely”, Tinder said in a company statement. For many singles, they note, social distancing has amplified the need to communicate.

Even though we’re socially distant…

Tom van Nuenen

Tom is a scholar in data-based culture and media studies. He holds a PhD in culture studies and writes on the relation between tourism and technology.

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