A year ago or so, I found a series of videos by a guy attempting to walk across Wales in a straight line.
These things are enthralling and have the perfect blend of real-life adventure and just sort of standard Youtube-guy stubbornness. I love it when he runs into angry landowners.
During the pandemic, this same guy got really into Geoguessr, a game I used to love. It sort of sits in the same genre as Wikipedia races—something that couldn’t have even been a concept pre-Web 2.0. Geoguessr essentially plops you down onto a random Google street view somewhere in the world, and you get to look around a little bit and try to figure out where you are. You put a pin down on the world map, and your score is calculated based on how close you are. While Nabeel binges Monsour Bahrami trick shot compilations, I sit around watching this garbage:
Geoguessr gets more fun as you play because, like the NYT Crossword, you start recognizing common patterns. Oh, you’re on a coast, everything looks chalky, the car in front of you is on the left side of the road. You must be near the Cliffs of Dover. Oh, the signs are written in Russian but you’re near a large mosque? Good chance you’re somewhere in Kazakhstan (or any of the former Soviet stans, really). Eventually, you start recognizing the difference between Québécois and British Columbian street sign colors, or what models of car you’d see in southern vs. northern Malaysia (southern Malaysia has more sports cars because of its proximity to Singapore).
I like Geoguessr a lot because of how aggressively bland it is. Nothing about it is really that exciting, forcing you to examine the trivialities and mundanities that visually delineate one nation from the next. And when you guess right… oh man, does that feel good.
In the spirit of Geoguessr, and because I’m trying to do a lower-effort newsletter this week after the psycho late-night one I threw together a few weeks ago, I’ve decided to make this week’s newsletter a competition. I’m going to post five photos I’ve taken over the past 7 years. Each one of them should give you some clue as to where they were taken. In the comments (there are comments!), write your answers as to where they were taken–either an address or coordinates (you can use Google Maps). No one will get them “correct,” but whoever gets the highest score by guessing the closest overall will win! And the prize is good: I’ll send you a surprise gift in the mail. The deadline for the contest is next Friday, the 9th. This is not a joke, I decided to just do this for real. No more jokes. I will no longer be making jokes. Don’t be afraid to guess because you think you may be wrong!
Just… indulge me on this. Guess. Why not? What do you have to lose? It’s not like Donald Trump is going to get COVID-19…
I believe Beloved Follower and Subscriber Davíd Fréling is a GeoGuessr champ. Show yourself, coward.