Packed Suitcase | Testing my Geography Knowledge…
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Testing my Geography Knowledge…

Testing my Geography Knowledge…

geo bee logo

Most African Tourists Like Elephants.*

No, this isn’t the latest travel trend. Rather it’s a mnemonic device for Africa’s northernmost countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

I work at the National Geographic Channel, part of one of the smartest and most worldly organizations on the planet. I take a lot of pride from working here… and often feel a bit smarter just from walking its hallowed halls.

So, when I heard there was going to be a staff Geography Bee as part of National Geographic’s 125th anniversary celebration, I immediately knew that I was going to sign up to test my knowledge. The top 10 applicants would get to compete in a formal Geo Bee hosted by the master…. Alex Trebek. The prize? A trip for 2 to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions. (Which just so happens to be on my 55 Places Bucket List)

A young Alex Trebek... isn't he dreamy!

A young Alex Trebek… wasn’t he dreamy!

The only thing left to do was prepare.

As an avid traveler, one would assume that I’m a whiz at geography. Sadly, that’s just not so! Until this week, my grasp of the Middle East, Asia and Africa was embarrassingly sub-par at best. But, I approached this challenge with vigor, taking this opportunity as a challenge to learn things about countries that I didn’t even know existed. I learned about the Middle Eastern ‘stan countries, learned the world’s largest islands, each continent’s major rivers, and statistics about population and weather patterns.

Using the official Geo Bee Prep book, I learned the tricks of the trade, including the importance of deductive reasoning and reading between the lines to infer the correct answers. Perhaps I took it a little too far, but once I started, I just couldn’t stop the desire to learn! (Geeky or not, it’s true!)

Sitting down to take the test, I was brimming with restrained excitement. I always liked school and I got a happy flashback. Pointy-sharp yellow #2 pencil, scantron, sequestered cell phones… before we knew it, we were told to flip over our tests and begin.

I approached the test calmly and methodically, going slowly– question by question.

70 questions and 35 minutes later, I was done! The office chatter grew as we compared our answers. I think I ended up with a solid “B.” Respectable!

I was thankful that besides reviewing the obvious — where countries were located — that I had also specifically learned about the Prime Meridian, deltas and some population factoids. Everything came in handy.

In preparing for the test, I learned about our world. While I may not have made the top 10, I sure am a lot smarter than I was a week ago. Now, I just need to start a pub quiz team and I’ll be set!


Here are a few other fun facts that I’ve learned:

-There are a bunch of “C” countries in the middle of Africa: Chad, the Central African Republic and Congo.

-The Easternmost, Westernmost and Southernmost African countries all begin with “S”: Senegal, Somalia and South Africa*

-Denmark is the oven mitt (for baking DANISHes) on top of Germany with NORway to the NORth, SWatting (SWeden) Flies (Finland).*

-Central American Country Mnemonic: Baby Godzilla Eats Hot-dogs Not Cocoa Puffs (Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama)*

*Thanks to my favorite podcast “Good Job! Brain” for helping me learn some of these facts quickly and effectively! You guys are the best 🙂


  • GS test demo
    Posted at 02:39h, 01 April

    Testing my Geography Knowledge…