With the help of Google Maps and Google Translate, Winston Fiore, a U.S. marine previously deployed to Senegal and Afghanistan, walked 5000 miles for charity.
Calling the journey his "Smile Trek," the inspiration for Fiore's journey came in 2007 when he witnessed "an incredible amount of poverty" while in Senegal. His walk was to raise money for the International Children's Surgical Foundation (ICSF), a nonprofit organization that provides free corrective surgery for kids in developing countries.
Fiore (seen on the left of the image), who completed his journey last week, has hiked through several regions during the past year, including Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore.
While speaking in Singapore, which was his start and end point, Fiore said he didn't carry physical maps as he solely relied on Google Maps to aid his daily walking route.
Fiore also utilized Google Translate in order to communicate with locals, Google Latitude for keeping supporters/friends/family informed of his whereabouts, as well as MyTracks which records his speed, distance and locations visited.
Fiore spoke about a man suffering from a facial deformity known as Elephant Man Syndrome in Vietnam. Using Google Translate, he was able to communicate with the local and informed him about receiving facial reconstructive surgery at ICSF's medical mission situated nearby. Moreover, the app helped Fiore receive help when he was bitten by a stray dog in Thailand.
Non-Google services used by the marine were reading apps including Kindle and Audible. He also used Skype to keep in touch with family and friends. Much to his surprise, Fiore said he had a mobile internet connection during the majority of his walk, including 3G or GRPS/EDGE even if he was "standing in the middle of a rice paddy in Vietnam." When failing to obtain a signal for connection, he'd locate a cell tower after a few hours.
Batteries for his gadgets were recharged while he rested through a generator or a local household. He had taken a spare battery for his smartphone but wished he had began his journey with more.
He took an 11-inch MacBook Air and started his journey with a Samsung Infuse 4G. However, he found it difficult to obtain Asian SIM cards to work with on his device. He subsequently switched to a Galaxy Nexus, accompanied by the Galaxy Note 2.
Currently, Fiore has raised $67,649 out of a fundraising goal of $75,000.