On Guillaume Pigeard‘s Geek World Tour, Philadelphia was supposed to be a two-day stop.
At least, that’s what everyone told the former IT consultant from Northern France: Give Philly two days. That’s all it deserves.
But then, he landed in the city during Philly Tech Week and the Philadelphia Science Festival. It was, one could say, a Geek World Tour miracle.
Pigeard, 32, quit his job and left France in February with a loose plan to explore and compare geek cultures all over the world.
His explanation is simple. He had the itch to travel and thought it would look bad if he told prospective employers that he’d been on an two-year vacation traveling the world. It’d look better if there was a mission at hand, he thought. That’s how the Geek World Tour was born. Oh, and he quit his job because, in true traveler fashion, he didn’t want to feel obligated to return.
Pigeard was in New York City and planning on heading to Philly, the eighth stop on his tour, when he heard about Philly Tech Week from a fellow geek CouchSurfer. He extended his stay in New York to arrive just in time for Tech Week’s kickoff.
That’s how he found himself watching the biggest video game in the world, visiting the National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) in Southampton, Pa. (thanks to NASTAR’s sponsorship of NASA’s SpaceApps hackathon) and learning how to play Foursquare (in case you were wondering how he fared, Pigeard finished third).
Two days in Philly quickly turned into twelve.
“I really don’t understand why people told me two days was enough,” said Pigeard, who called Philly a “human-sized city.”
His stop in Philly is reminiscent of Select Greater Philadelphia’s recent program to bring international reporters to the city to learn and report about its tech scene — part of a growing effort to brand and market Philly as a tech hub (see: PHL Partners, World Class Greater Philadelphia, Founded in Philly).
In some ways, Pigeard went on the ultimate press tour of Philly’s tech scene, a perhaps unintended effect of the Science Festival and Tech Week: instead of scheduled talks touting the region’s successes, he explored the region on his own.
Pigeard is currently in Savannah, Ga. Follow his travels on Twitter here.