The Geographical Genius Who Crosses Countries in Straight Lines

GeoWizard could definitely find his way out of a paper bag. He could find his way out of a paper bag at the bottom of a rubbish heap in the middle of rural India. The YouTuber and Twitch streamer have an uncanny ability to navigate his way through both the familiar and the unknown. His excellent topographical knowledge of his home territory and the wider world cannot be matched by many.

Most of GeoWizard’s content can be found on his YouTube channel or watched live on Twitch (bear in mind he works in a GMT timezone). But what does GeoWizard, aka Tom Davies, actually do?

Not a One-Trick Pony

His channel’s content is eclectic, we’ll come to the special stuff later on, but on the whole, this is primarily a GeoGuessr channel, hence Tom’s choice of online name. As mentioned in a previous article GeoGuessr is a browser-based game that uses the GoogleMaps engine in Streetview mode to allow users to compete for high scores on “maps” created by other users. It’s the perfect pastime for beating off the lockdown blues and remembering there’s a diverse and huge world out there.

GeoWizard and the Mission Across Wales GeoWizard Swimming

These maps can be based in individual countries or even the entire globe. The range is huge and will keep on growing thanks to the huge user base of passionate cartophiles. Like every online game these days, a Battle Royale mode has been added, with a player getting knocked out every round. You better know the difference between a street in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan if you want to win.

Dog Eat Dog World Maps

There’s a real element of competitiveness in the GeoGuessr community, and players have to pick up on the tiny nuances of a country if they want to win, from spotting local council logos on bins to knowing the speed limit signs for every country on earth if you want a swift victory.

Tom is one of the most entertaining players to watch, and he keeps his uploads varied and interesting. He’s always on a quest for perfect scores, beating people’s maps by pinpointing each location to just mere yards away. He’s even achieved these perfect scores without allowing himself to move.

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He also plays map-based challenges on the trivia site Sporcle. He challenged himself to name as many European cities as he could in one hour. He managed 497.

GeoWizard may have created a channel where the vast majority of uploads are about GeoGuessr. However, he entered the world of viral stardom from another series he created, filmed beyond his bedroom.

Straight To Trending

In the winter of 2018 and 2019, Tom had the unlikely idea of crossing a country in a completely straight line. He needed a country that wasn’t massively inhabited and obviously not too big to make for an easier challenge. Fortunately, right on his doorstep was the little-known country of Wales, the perfect stomping ground for a straight-line mission.

Part 1 of the series is Tom’s most viral video with almost 4 million views; everyone loves a wacky idea. He’s almost hit by a car in the attempt’s first minute, and the laughs just keep on coming. It’s the kind of stuff that reminds us that you don’t have to travel far to have a real adventure. You can “find yourself” in your own backyard sometimes.

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The idea may sound easy. All you really need is a Garmin device to keep you “online,” so to speak, right? If only it was that simple. The challenge forces the challenger to traverse whatever the line cuts through.

This means walking over land that isn’t necessarily covered in well-trodden footpaths. Tough, rugged terrain that saps your soul and could turn into a river or a steep traverse at any stage. There’s also the issue of breaking laws, trespassing on private property, and the dreaded angry farmers.

The first straight line mission attempt was a solo venture. Without spoiling anything, Tom finds himself having to do it all again. Attempt 2 features his friend known only as “Welsh Greg,” you’ll have to watch to see what happens. Attempt 3, the final attempt, involves Tom leaving his native England again, although this time he travels significantly further.

Scandinavian Stomping Ground

After two Welsh attempts, Tom finds himself in Norway for his final attempt at the straight line challenge. This time he’s with his girlfriend Verity, who meets up with Tom at various rendezvous points in a car as a one-woman support team. This time Tom has to lug a big plastic kayak for part of the journey to cross a fjord.

Even though the bulk of GeoWizard’s content is him being an absolute boss at GeoGuessr, these series really are worth a watch and will give you a much-needed boost of wanderlust. Like all of us, Tom had to adapt his creative outlet to fit in with the world’s current travel climate.

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Last month he uploaded a video featuring his brother, who is an aspiring survivalist. They tried to survive in the woods by foraging for food for three days. Their attempt was so poor that “Bear Grylls would be ashamed.” In true British style, the complaining was unashamedly constant.

Now that the straight line missions are over, it’s hard to see how Tom will top the idea with a future travel video. The lockdown has been hard for travel content creators. Fortunately, Tom’s always got GeoGuessr to fall back on.

Where will his next mission take him and his friends? It would be interesting to see him venture beyond Europe and to see how he would interact and survive on one of his missions in a place where he couldn’t understand the native language.

Wherever he goes, you can rest assured he’ll do something that nobody else has done before.

Thomas Board
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