Imagine hiking 5,000 miles through Asia, with only Google Maps as your guide. Winston Fiore, a U.S. marine formerly deployed to Senegal and Afghanistan, did it in about a year, calling the journey his "Smile Trek."
The inspiration for "Smile Trek" came in 2007 when Fiore witnessed "an incredible amount of poverty" while in Senegal. He then decided to set aside a year for traveling, and found a cause to throw his weight behind: the International Children's Surgical Foundation (ICSF), a nonprofit that provides free corrective surgery for kids in developing countries with cleft lips and palates.
For the past year, he has hiked through Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, and Singapore. He completed his journey last week.
Speaking to CNET Asia in Singapore, his start and end point, Fiore says he didn't carry any physical maps and only relied on Google Maps to map his daily walking route. (Probably a good thing Fiore wasn't using an iPhone 5 -- we all know about the Apple Maps kerfuffle.)
Along with Google Maps, Fiore relied on Google Translate (to communicate with locals); Google Latitude (for keeping his family, friends, and supporters informed of his whereabouts); and MyTracks (to record his speed, distance, and places visited). … Read more