. My top 10 travel moments in the Best of Travel 2012 : Budget Travel Adventures

My top 10 travel moments in the Best of Travel 2012

Hiking Mt Judah Trail Donner Lake best of travel 2012

Donner Lake – top travel moment in my best of travel?

Standing on top of the mountain, I look at the water below me and the 360 degree view of the mountains and trees.  The sun is shining and the air is crisp.  Even my shoes give their approval.  Is this moment my best of travel in 2012?

Of all the places I visited in 2012, I find it very difficult to pick my best travel experience of the past year.

I’ve gone hiking in Tahoe and watched the sun set in a fishing village in Ireland.  I fell in love with the Irish people.  I wrote a travel series for one of the biggest travel companies in the world.

I enjoyed some of the best tailgating with football friends all over the country.  I hung out with big burly men in kilts and sat down for an interview with my shoes.  I met a Hall of Fame basketball coach and posed for a picture with a beaver.

Here’s a look back at the roller coaster ride that was my best of travel 2012.

Best of Travel in 2012

Without a doubt, 2012 was the best travel year of my life.  From a travel series on Expedia to the California hiking trails, I’ve traveled coast to coast to experience the best travel has to offer.

Here’s a look back at the best of travel in 2012 with crazy stories and travel photos from the year that was.

Best of Travel 2012 – Best dressed

Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games athletes best of travel 2012

Jeremy and his Scottish Games athlete friends aka men in kilts

Who doesn’t love a man in a kilt?  In May, I was reunited with old friends as I hung out with the Scottish Highlands Games athletes.

This year, I tossed my haggis in the 136th Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival.  I examined the personal lives of Scottish Games professional athletes.  And what did I learn from this experience?  I may look good as a Scotsman but we all put on our kilts one leg at a time.

Best of Travel 2012 – Best travel experience

Civil War Oregon Ducks Oregon State Beavers Expedia College Football

A Civil War on the college football gridiron

Many people dream of writing a travel series for one of the biggest companies in the world.  In 2012, that dream came true for me.

In June, Expedia VP Joe Megibow announced that I would be writing a travel series for Expedia as part of my College Football Travel Tour – 8 games, 2 continents, 6 different time zones, 7 different conferences.  From Oregon to Ireland, I traveled thousands of miles in search of college football games and memorable travel experiences.

There’s no way I could share all of my stories and memories from this season.  I’ve met some fantastic people, watched some of the best college football teams in the country, and made friends all over the world.

If you want more of the best of travel for the Expedia College Football Travel Tour, read my Expedia travel guides for the cities that I visited and check out my personal travel stories on my College Football Travel Tour page.

Stay tuned for a lot more stories in 2013 from the College Football Travel Tour.

Best of Travel 2012 – My favorite people

Irish people best of travel

While traveling in 2012, I met some amazing people.  On the College Football Travel Tour, I tailgated Cajun style in Baton Rouge.  I made new friends and formed some great connections with Christian, Josh, Rachel, and Katie tailgating in Corvallis.

However, nothing beats my time with the Irish people.  To Nicola, Orlaith, Fiona, Colm, Sean, Eamonn, Kevin, Marina, and the countless others that I met – thank you.  Irish people and the craic made these my favorite people in 2012.

Best of Travel 2012 – Most unusual travel encounter (tie)

GORE-TEX hiking boot Occupy Colorado squirrel

You don’t want to meet either one of these in a dark alley

A Buckeye, a beaver, a squirrel, and my shoe all tie for first in this category.

Buckeye hospitality welcomed me to Ohio State where I met Brutus Buckeye.  My favorite college football trip of the year was in Oregon State where I met Benny the Beaver.  The Occupy Colorado Squirrel greeted me at the Colorado State House.

And I sat down to interview my hiking boot as we hiked the Mt Judah trail.  If you think that’s a little weird, I took off my pants for Scottevest – a clear winner for the least dressed award in 2012.

Brutus Buckeye Jeremy Branham Cal football fans

Brutus Buckeye, Cal football fans, and me

Oregon State Benny the Beaver Jeremy Branham

Oregon State’s Benny the Beaver and me

Best of Travel 2012 – Celebrity encounters

Mike Golic Bobby Knight

Sports celebrities Mike Golic and Bobby Knight

For the sports fans out there, I was giddy about meeting former Notre Dame and Philadelphia Eagles football player turned ESPN personality Mike Golic In Ireland and Basketball Hall of Fame coach Bobby Knight at Ohio State.

A special thanks to Mike Golic for sharing his travel experiences in Ireland for Expedia and the College Football Travel Tour.

Best of Travel 2012 – Best travel video blooper

Honestly, I am not a video guy.  I’m working on it.  As you can see from these interviews at the Sacramento Jazz Festival, I’m now an expert on how to make a travel video.

Best of Travel 2012 – Favorite California Adventure

Horsetail Falls California hiking

When I am not traveling the country for college football games or off to some international destination, I love exploring California.  Hiking is one of my passions and I discovered a gem with this waterfall at Horsetail Falls.

Best of travel 2012 – Worst travel moment

worst travel experience Miami

There isn’t a best of travel without some bad travel experiences.  We all have them.  Kate shared her worst travel experiences of 2012.  Mine happened to occur at one of the most popular beaches in the US.  I spent an entire day in my hotel as a result.  However, life in Miami wasn’t all bad but I did learn some travel lessons as a result.

Best of Travel 2012 – Favorite travel photo

Without a doubt, this was the most difficult category for my best of travel in 2012.  Out of thousands of photos, this won the award for my favorite travel photo of the year.  I am not a sports photographer so I take a lot of pride in this shot from the Ohio State – Cal football game.

Ohio State QB Braxton Miller best of travel

Ohio St QB Braxton Miller

Best of Travel 2012 – Favorite travel destination (tie)

Howth Ireland

Howth, Ireland

Corvallis Oregon State Expedia College Football Travel Tour

Corvallis, Oregon

My best travel experiences are never a destination.  They are always about the people.  The first and last stops on the College Football Travel Tour in 2012 share the award for my favorite travel destination in 2012.

I started my trip to Ireland with a walk in the rain through Dublin Castle.  I ended my Irish trip with two hours in the fishing village of Howth.  In Oregon, I connected with Corvallis and fell in love with the town and the people.

However, these places were special because of the people.

Oregon State tailgating

New friends make the best travel experiences

My 2012 travels – 2 continents, numerous cities, 50 days of traveling, 32,691 miles on an airplane (many more on the road)

As we look ahead to 2013, what are your favorite travel memories from your best of travel in 2012?

A joyous holiday season, Happy New Year, and safe travels in 2013!

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  1. Jenna says:

    You had quite a year, and I love that you went to places that might not normally be considered travel destinations (i.e. college towns). Those places give you a sense of life and people. The nature of California continues to amaze, doesn’t it?!
    Jenna recently posted..The Best of 2012My Profile

    • Thanks Jenna. I have to admit part of the burnout in Miami was the big cities. When I went to Baton Rouge and Corvallis, college towns, I was re-energized and had a great time. Makes me realize how much of travel is being connected to a place and the people.

      As for nature, enjoyed the couple of hikes I did this year. Hope to do more in 2013!

  2. Laurence says:

    As Jenna said above – what a year. Looks like you’ve filled it with some really memorable experiences! I hope 2013 turns out just as good – if not better :)
    Laurence recently posted..The cycle ways of Costa BravaMy Profile

  3. i think 2012 is best and unforgettable year for your travel. Nice to see your travel experience from your beautiful photos. Your vacation will continue with your family and friends on coming new year 2013.

    Best Wishes

    Thanks
    Mirrin Rose

  4. A great list from a great year. Can’t wait to read about your travels in 2013.
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Rock Show – Capitol Reef National Park, UtahMy Profile

  5. Peter Lee says:

    I like the places you visit especially the Howth, Ireland which looks incredibly beautiful. After reading your post I searched about this place and saw some more pictures and I wonder why I haven’t been there till now.

    • Howth is beautiful. I wish I had spent more time there now. If I go back to Dublin next year, I will spend a day there if I can. So much more to see than just a sunset! Hope you get a chance to go as well!

  6. Steve Whitty says:

    Jeremy, sounds like you had a great travel year. My top moment would be Madrid during Euro 2012. Meanwhile I’ll raise a glass for your travels in 2013.
    Steve Whitty recently posted..Photo of the Week – Celebration in BratislavaMy Profile

  7. Congratulations on not only a gratifying travel year, but many leaps and bounds professionally. Happy New Year!
    Traveling Ted recently posted..The Iwokrama Rainforest Canopy WalkwayMy Profile

    • Thanks Ted. I still think I have a long way to get where I want to be. However, the key for me will be organization and planning. I have a lot of plans and ideas but hope that this year will be even better than next year.

      Best wishes to you as well! You had a lot of fun trips too!

  8. Abby says:

    Looks like you had an amazing year! Loved this article. And that picture of Howth is amazing! Makes me want to go :)

    Also that squirrel, how cute!!

    • Howth is a beautiful place. Next time I am in Ireland, I am going to spend more time there hiking and exploring. Glad I at least got a glimpse of it even if it was only for sunset. However, that squirrel may have looked cute but I am not sure about his intentions :)

  9. The Irish people are so warm, friendly and interesting. I can’t wait to go back there. You’ve had quite a year — Ireland, Tahoe, your big college football tour — all fantastic travel experiences. Here’s to more great travel in 2013!

    • Thanks Cathy. I wrote about my Irish people experience, what they taught me about life, and how they are the best people I’ve met in my travels. I hope 2013 is even better than this year. This year was definitely busy but memorable.

      I hope you have a great year of travel as well. I am sure you have a number of great things planned. Where’s your first big trip?

  10. I’m not a big football fan, however your Ohio State photo is amazing. Great job capturing the touchdown in action!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..GGT’s Top 10 Dream Trips For 2013My Profile

  11. Beavers & kilts?? These things will always make for an epic travel year. :)
    Matthew Karsten recently posted..Jumping Out of Airplanes with Skydive Fiji & @GoProMy Profile

  12. Love the picture in the kilts boys! Cool! Very cool! :)

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