Posted November 7, 2017 04:58 am

Using Mobile Apps to Explore the World

Curiosity might have killed the cat but it is also a part of what makes us human. It is curiosity that drives us to explore. Literally, explore means to investigate either a subject or area in search of further understanding. Is there anything out there that is unknown and worth exploring? The correct answer is a lot. However, following an “explore the world” advertisement posted by a travel agency is unlikely to get one any novel experiences. 

The journey to genuine exploration starts with the 'man in the mirror', a paradigm shift to self-discovery before discovering the world. In today's interconnected, always-on world, crowdsourcing for advice on where to go and what to do leads to predictable experiences that feel a letdown. Having explored Sri-Lanka and India extensively, Juliet Kinsman says that curiosity is the one essential thing for an explorer. However, the discoverer of vaccination and antibiotics opined that discovery favored the prepared mind. So before packing your bags, indeed before deciding on where to explore, explore what you want to explore. Here are apps to help you on way to self-discovery, hence world discovery. 

Discovery and exploration apps

1. Quora
Quora is one understated app that can lead to awesome discoveries. For instance, what does it take to piss your hosts off? Britons are particularly touchy about politeness and not saying please is considered very rude, at least according to the most popular answer to what constitutes rudeness in Europe on Quora. Another endearing quality of the app is that it will not only help you plan your trip but also at home. Indeed, it could even help your career. 

2. Instagram
You already have Instagram but have you ever used its travel and discovery features? Discovery and exploration should be continuous. Regardless of location, there's always a new experience waiting if you know where to look. On Instagram, the places tab on the search screen allows you to browse recent pictures of users that users have been posting from locations around you. Though going through selfies might take a while, you will stumble through interesting (and photogenic) places that are worth your time. 

3. Google Maps
There is overwhelming evidence that Google is great for connecting people with relevant information, perhaps they should venture into dating. Jokes aside, Google has amassed incredible amounts of information on who goes where both online and offline. The explore section of maps leads to discoveries even when you're in your backyard or hometown. 

4. Ubiatar 
For Ubiatar, a user can pay to take control of an Avatar. Avatars are actual people who offer their physical presence for hire. An Ubiatar user can direct the avatar wherever he/she would like, to do all sorts of things. The only catch is that the Avatar has to be OK with it. The user can, therefore, see and hear everything like he/she is physically present. 

5. TravelSafe
Even the world bravest explorer might need help. After all, even marines need rescue once in a while, which is where TravelSafe kicks in. TravelSafe is an emergency service numbers database that could potentially save your life. It's an extensive list that contains all the countries you would want to explore and more. It also contains embassy details for various diplomatic missions so there is no need to break out into a sweat over a missing passport. If you are feeling particularly unsafe, there is the option of adding widgets of selected services to your home-screen for rapid access. 

6. Google Translate
What would Star Trek be without Universal Translator? The fictional tech in the futuristic series of movies allows the Enterprise crew to communicate with or eavesdrop on aliens as and when needed in their native languages. However, similar technology is available here and now. Google Translate allows you to make sense of spoken, typed or real text such as signs in foreign languages. The icing on the cake is that in addition to native Android and iPhone apps, it is also available as a web application. Offline language packs ensure that it won't let you down when you don't have data access.