. The College Football Travel Tour - from dream to Expedia travel series : Budget Travel Adventures

The College Football Travel Tour story – from dream to travel series with Expedia

University of South Carolina Horseshoe“The College Football Travel Tour?  Sounds interesting but I am not really a sports fan.”

“The College Football Travel Tour?  That sounds AWESOME!  I would love to do something like that.”

These are the two reactions I get when I tell people about my College Football Travel Tour.  While I love the second reaction, this tour is so much more than just football.

Last year, I put together two of my biggest passions, college football and travel.  In October, I hit the road to explore college towns and life on campus through the world of college football.

The College Football Travel Tour was born.  This year, the 2012 College Football Travel Tour will kick off in September with one of the biggest travel opportunities of my life.

Honestly, I never imagined this would happen.

___________________________

Childhood dreams

College Football Travel Tour on the road

This wasn't my childhood dream

When I was a kid, my dream was to play major league baseball.  I held onto that dream until I finished high school.  While I was good with the glove and had a strong arm, I wasn’t a good hitter.  At 5’10 145 pounds, I wasn’t going to make it as a baseball player.

When I was 9 years old, I attended my first college football game with my dad.  I went to many games at the University of South Carolina and loved it.  It was more than just a game.

Even as a kid, I was connected with something bigger – the culture, passion, and atmosphere.  I didn’t realize it then but college football inspired me to travel.

In college, I visited the country of Estonia.  That trip changed the way I viewed the world.  Can travel change your life?  That’s a question that can be debated.  However, my first trip to Estonia definitely influenced me as I’ve been traveling ever since.

After graduating from college, I got a job in the real world.  I’ve spent years making a living but never really living life.

Travel helped me find my freedom, learn more about myself, and escape from life.  For years, there’s always been something missing in my life.  I wasn’t living with purpose and passion.

The College Football Travel Tour – from an idea to college campuses

US Naval Academy Midshipman TecumsehHave you ever had a moment when you experienced purpose, passion, and happiness and felt more alive now than any other time in your life ?

When I went to the University of Washington last year, I had one of those experiences.  As I continued the College Football Travel Tour at the University of South Carolina and the Naval Academy, I had more of those mountain top experiences.

I started the College Football Travel Tour because it was about the things I love and who I am.  This was something I wanted to do for me but I hoped other people shared my passion too.

However, this wasn’t easy.  The first school I tried to visit, the door was slammed in my face.  I persevered and went to the next school.  Other doors began to open for me.

University of South Carolina tailgating

Tailgating - a college football tradition

ESPN football writer Travis Haney got me connected with Clemson football writer Larry Williams through the Gamecocks and Tigers football rivalry book they had written.  Through Larry, I met Jay Phillips and Michael Haney who worked at my hometown sports radio station 107.5 The Game in Columbia, SC.  In January, I had my first radio interview for the College Football Travel Tour.

I continued to meet other people and had incredible experiences in Annapolis and Seattle – musicians, former football players, students, and more.  In January 2012, I got some interest in my tour on the travel side.

This may be the biggest travel opportunity of my life.

Expedia and the College Football Travel Tour

Expedia logoIn a travel chat on Twitter, I connected with Sarah – the PR person with Expedia.  She heard about my College Football Travel Tour and wanted to learn more.

Over the course of the next couple of months, we exchanged emails and phone calls as I shared my passion, experiences, and ideas for the College Football Travel Tour.

As much as I loved the series, I wasn’t sure if others shared my enthusiasm despite the open doors and experiences I’ve had.

Sarah shared Expedia’s desire to partner with travel bloggers to share unique travel stories and ideas with the travel community.  When she heard my idea, she was intrigued by something unique and different.

Over the course of the next few months, we discussed ideas, content, promotion, giveaways, and numerous other ways we could make this project a success.  Suddenly, this sports and travel series that had given me such inspiration and purpose was now becoming much bigger.

University of Washington tailgating Lake Washington Husky Stadium

Tailgating outside of Husky Stadium on Lake Washington

Excited by the opportunity to share my passion with others, we reached an agreement to take the College Football national (and even global) in 2012.

During the TBEX travel conference this June in Keystone Colorado, Expedia VP and GM Joe Megibow announced my College Football Travel Tour to over 700 people as part of Expedia’s travel blogger campaign.

Here’s the video of Expedia’s vision and the story of the College Football Travel Tour.

On the road with the 2012 College Football Travel Tour

Army Navy footbgall game Washington DC

The ultimate rivalry - Army vs Navy

This year, the College Football Travel Tour will cover 8 college football games.  There will be giveaways, tweet ups, promotions, and lots of stories, photos, and posts about travel and college football.

As we get closer to the season, I will share more about each game so you can learn more about the schools, towns, teams, and activities leading up to the games.  You can even sign up for the newsletter to get the inside scoop, stories, and updates that you won’t find on the blog.

As people talk with me about this opportunity with Expedia, I am humbled, scared, and cautious.  I am extremely excited to have this opportunity and honored that people care about this project.

If I am honest, my greatest fear is failure.  Failure to connect people with the real meaning of this series.  I’m afraid that I won’t share my passion and enthusiasm with people in ways that would inspire or make them care.  Failure to bring this series to people that will enjoy it the most.  Unable to cover all the stories, the people, the places, and activities that need to be shared.

I want people to understand that this series transcends football and travel.  My best stories and experiences on the College Football Travel Tour are about the people I’ve met.  This isn’t about a game – it’s connecting with the culture, passion, and people throughout towns and cities in the US.

Now is my opportunity.  This is my College Football Travel Tour story.  And the journey is just beginning.

Follow the stories and read more about the schools and stories on the College Football Travel Tour.  Will you join me on the road?

University of Washington University of Oregon football Husky StadiumThank you!  Thanks to Brett Domue of Our Tasty Travels for sharing the video of Joe Megibow at TBEX.  Thanks to Sarah Keeling, Joe Megibow, and the staff at Expedia for taking a chance on me.  Thanks to Travis Haney, Larry Williams, Jay Phillips, and Michael Haney for opening doors and giving this small time, college football fan and travel blogger new opportunities.  Thanks to the fans, alumni, staff, students, and people at the University of Washington and city of Seattle, University of South Carolina and city of Columbia, and the Naval Academy and city of Annapolis for sharing your passion, stories, lives, and encouragement.  Thanks to Visit Annapolis for making me a part of your community.  Thanks to readers for their support and encouragement.  And thanks to my family for their support.  Without them, this idea would never be possible.

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  1. So awesome Jeremy! You deserve this and I am so excited for you. This is the sort of thing we were hoping travel companies would start seeing the value of and doing more. Well done Expedia.
    So is a stop off at the great Chapel Hill going to be part of it?

    • Jeremy B says:

      I think you will see a lot more of this in the future. It’s just beginning. As for going to Chapel Hill, remember this is the College FOOTBALL Travel Tour (not basketball). :) Not a lot of teams play football in the ACC (but yes, I will make it down to the ACC eventually – just not this year).

  2. I like football, but I have to admit that if I did this, the games would take a backseat to the food and the beer. And of course the people you meet along the way, as you mentioned.

    Congratulations on a great idea and I have to give Expedia props for recognizing that as well. Good luck on your tour. I’ll definitely be checking in to see how it goes.
    Daniel McBane recently posted..“Fan Death” — Korea’s Killer Electric FansMy Profile

    • Jeremy B says:

      Thanks Daniel. From the first 3 games I did last year, it worked out to about 70% travel/food/stories and about 30% football stuff. I expect the same this year but I never know how things will really go until I get there. Hopefully it’s something people can enjoy regardless of their choice of football, food, or fun! :)

  3. Very happy for you, man! I can only imagine what it must feel like to have a company of that magnitude get behind you and your dream. Sounds like your next year is going to be a blast!
    Bret @ GreenGlobalTravel recently posted..ENDANGERED SPECIES SPOTLIGHT- Hawaiian Monk SealMy Profile

  4. Laurence says:

    Jeremy this is just awesome news! Massive congratulations. I’m afraid I fall into the first camp of responses regarding the sport, although I would fall into that camp for pretty much any sport – I’ve never really got it. But I can see how this is a massively exciting opportunity, so I’m delighted for you :D
    Laurence recently posted..A wee problem (or A guide to finding public toilets)My Profile

    • Jeremy B says:

      Thanks Laurence. You are the kind of people I am trying to reach (well part of the time anyways). This series isn’t just about football or sports. Actually, 70% of my time on these trips was spent on non-football stuff. We will see how it goes this year but hopefully people can enjoy the series and get what it’s really about – the people and the culture of college towns and cities.

  5. Congratulations, Jeremy! Funny how two passions can collide to create something brand new.
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Scaling a Volcano & Hanging with a Soccer Star – Santa Ana, El SalvadorMy Profile

  6. HUGE Congrats mate! That is awesome news and you will nail it so put aside all those fears. Good luck and we will be supporting you 100% (even if we have never seen a live football game in our lives).
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Sea Kayak in Napoli, ItalyMy Profile

    • Jeremy B says:

      Thanks Cole. Football is an interesting sport here in the US. Fans are very passionate and it’s very close to the passion of soccer fans (without the violence). You will definitely get a good look at the unique culture that is a part of college football.

  7. Gray says:

    Congratulations, Jeremy! This is fantastic! I’m one of those “I’m not really a sports fan” types, but I’ve always loved that you jumped onto this really original angle for traveling. I can see where a lot of people would get very excited about this. Kudos to Expedia for seeing that and jumping on board with you.

    • Jeremy B says:

      Thanks Gray. It’s OK if you are not a sports fan. You will still get a lot out of this series as it really is about life, culture, travel, and unique stories and not just the football. Would love feedback from the non sports fans to see what they think.

  8. Leah Travels says:

    From the get-go you know why and how much I appreciated this series. I’m happy to see you taking it to the next level. Well done and a huge congratulations from a fellow football and travel fanatic.
    Leah Travels recently posted..Inside the House of Waterford Crystal (Part 4)My Profile

  9. Michela says:

    Looking forward to hosting you in Columbus and introducing you to Buckeye madness!

  10. So great man…loved it last year, and looking forward to a bigger and better College Football Travel Tour. Truth be told, you inspired my own tour of prominent golf resorts around Florida that I called “Deej’s Florida Swing.” I can relate being more passionate about a topic than the reader, but I firmly believe when that passion comes through it makes for great writing no matter the subject…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Waldorf Astoria Orlando – Modern LuxuryMy Profile

    • Thanks DJ. Glad I inspired your series. I love the game of golf but picked it up pretty late in life. So I haven’t played at a lot of places but got addicted to the game. I grew up in the golf capital of the south (Myrtle Beach) and have never played there. I totally understand your passion for the series as I am sure you understand mine.

      I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment. My fear is that people won’t find it as interesting as I do and won’t enjoy it. I can’t expect people to have the same passion I do but hopefully my passion is enough to make people interested.

  11. Jeremy this is tremendous news! With passion you will never need to be fearful about not interesting people! Look forward to continuing to follow your exciting progress.
    John in France recently posted..A New PresidentMy Profile

    • Thanks John. I appreciate the support. That really is encouraging. I hope my passion does make it interesting to lots of people – whether they like the football or not.

  12. Congratulations Jeremy. I hope to see you at the helm of the Volunteer Navy on one of the posts.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Hiking the Olmec Ruins near Puebla: Yes you CantonaMy Profile

    • Thanks Ted. I’ve done the Navy thing but it wasn’t the Volunteer one! :)

      The SEC is HUGE and it would be so much fun just do all all of the schools for the SEC. I may make it to one or two games this year but UT isn’t on the schedule. Many years ago, I did pass through Knoxville and got to peak inside Neyland. Huge stadium but a little disappointed – lots of bleachers and very cramped when I visited.

  13. Congratulations Jeremy! I’m not huge on sports but I am intrigued by the passion they bring out in people and will definitely tune in for the insights on people and culture. The series I know will be a success!

    • Thanks Anis. It really is the passion and the culture that is so intriguing. I think people who don’t care about sports may miss this. I do love the game so there is definitely a fascination with that. However, there is so much more to it than the game itself. I hope I can share that with people. :)

  14. Andrew says:

    I’ll to the congrats as well. Glad you are getting some traction on this idea. It really is great to look at the towns and life of the US through this sport.

    Sorry to hear you are skipping the ACC, Virginia Tech is such a lovely place to go and they play a pretty good game. Maybe next year. :)
    Andrew recently posted..Riding a Junk in Hong KongMy Profile

    • Thanks for the support! I will make it to the ACC. I looked at Virginia Tech, Miami, and FSU for the schedule but it just didn’t work out this year. Next year I will do an ACC school for sure.

      Virginia Tech could really make it easier for me to visit if they would beat Clemson :)

  15. Turtle says:

    Great work! Really exciting and well-deserved! I can’t wait to read all about it.
    I’ll be particularly impressed if you can convince those America sissies to stop wearing all that padding and protection, though. Pfft! :)
    Turtle recently posted..The architect’s stage in VicenzaMy Profile

    • Jeremy B says:

      OK I’ll admit – rugby guys are tough. Got a lot of admiration for them for playing such a tough sport without pads. However, here’s the flip side of that – American football players are generally, bigger, stronger, and faster. So the padding is needed :)

      Hope you enjoy the series anyways! There will be lots of travel stuff too! :)

  16. Lisa says:

    Congratulations, Jeremy – what an amazing opportunity and I’m sure that you will do a fantastic job with it! I don’t know much about U.S. College football but will definitely follow along for the great storytelling!
    Lisa recently posted..Cooper’s Pack Travel Guides For KidsMy Profile

  17. Eric Bynum says:

    Wow this is awesome. While I won’t be in the States during your travels, I can’t wait to read about them. I am a huge sports fan, especially baseball, and I will be incorporating a lot of that into my travels abroad. Great idea and good luck.
    Eric Bynum recently posted..Travel Tuesday: Photo of the Day – Temple at Apsan Mountain in Daegu, South KoreaMy Profile

    • For part of my travels, I won’t be in the States either. But you will hear more about that later :)

      Thanks for the support. Whether you like sports or travel, I think there is something for everyone in this series. I grew up a baseball player and was decent. I never played football but growing up in the South, I loved the game. It’s a culture and even a religion to some. There can be a negative side to it but it’s a lot of fun. That’s something I hope I am able to share with people.

      Sports are a great way to connect with people when you travel. I always try to do something sports related on a trip. I saw Barcelona play a few years ago and that was awesome. Since sports was such a huge part of my life growing up, makes sense to put these two things together. Hope people will enjoy the College Football Travel Tour.

      • Eric Bynum says:

        I completely understand the love of football. I grew up in Texas where football is king, but I played baseball. I’m a huge fan too and would love to see more college football stadiums like you are doing. One of my best sports memories is going to the Music City Bowl in Nashville years back. Sitting in the cold watching football was a lot of fun.
        Eric Bynum recently posted..Things I Love to Write AboutMy Profile

        • Who was playing at the Music City Bowl? The Gamecocks were there a few years ago and won.

          Football in Texas is HUGE – especially high school football! Like you, I grew up playing baseball and had a chance to play at a small college. I’ve seen a lot of baseball stadiums too but the culture and passion of baseball not as interesting as football. Plus I’ve loved college campuses ever since I was a little kid.

          • Eric Bynum says:

            It was 2005 I think. Minnesota and Virginia were playing. Laurence Maroney was the running back for Minn but Virginia won with a 2nd half comeback. Where are you from in SC? My brother lives near Fort Mill now.
            Eric Bynum recently posted..Things I Love to Write AboutMy Profile

          • Sounds like a good game! Maroney has gone on to a decent career in the NFL now. As for SC, I am from all over. I claim Columbia as my home although I was born in a town about 30 minutes away and graduated high school near Myrtle Beach.

  18. Excited about this for obvious reasons, but know you’re saving Wallace Wade Stadium for a future date :).
    Spencer Spellman recently posted..A Photo Essay of Sonoma Wine CountryMy Profile

    • It’s been rumored that there are games that take place there. However, I don’t think any real football has been played there in a long time :)

      Now if you want to talk Cameron, that would be one of my first stops if I did a basketball tour :)

  19. Terrific – I am so happy for you. You have worked hard for this. Glad you are going to get to travel outside usa too and really bring so much of you and your personality to this series.

    What a great opportunity! To have your name up on the screen with the announcement of the partnership – WOW

    Just can’t say enough of how glad I am that this is happening for you and the joy it will bring
    Eileen Ludwig recently posted..Excited Hollywood Bowl Summer SeasonMy Profile

    • Thanks Eileen! I am happy to have this opportunity. It was a privilege to be one of the people announced at the Expedia TBEX party. Hopefully I can make this a series people are really interested in hearing more about!

  20. Brannon says:

    Jeremy:
    During the 2010 Football season. I went from Sept 3rd to Thanksgiving Weekend seeing a football game at a new site each week. Some weekends, I was able to hit 2 in a day because of scheduling. Also had 4 NFL games thrown in for good measure. I booked half of my trips based on what was on the internet special for the week. I saw Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, SMU, TCU, Washington , USC, Arizona State,Houston, Occidental, Rice, Stephen F Austin as well as Cowboys, Texans, Packers & Cardinals.

    • That’s awesome Brannon! My schedule won’t be quite that hectic because I generally spend 5 to 6 days at each location. I do all the travel research as well as the football stuff so it takes a lot of time to figure research, review, check out the town, etc. Just doing all the games would be awesome!

      You’ve definitely done some unique schools. We’ve done one so far that is the same and I don’t have any of the other ones you’ve done on my list for this year. I am not a big fan of the NFL so those don’t really appeal to me. I’ve never been to an NFL game but maybe I should go just to experience the difference.

      With all the games that you’ve done, you have any general tips? Did you have a favorite game, school, or experience?

  21. Brannon says:

    In general each place has a unique experience, but the best tailgates have been at LSU and Penn State. I don’t know if you might have had a connection with a fraternity in college, but they may be able to facilitate some cool game day traditions at each school as well. I loved my day at Wisconsin cool spot to pre game, and if there you need to go to a Packers game, the stadium is great and the tailgates across the street from stadium is extremely classy. There are several houses literally across the street that people only use for weekend tailgating, with nothing but football set ups and grilling porches. Unlike anywhere I have gone.
    Have a blast i’ll be reading.

  22. oh, i am SOOOO Excited to follow along! i LOVE college football. and happy to see your journey – thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Thanks! I love it too. All started for me as a kid. So now I will get the chance to check out games and campuses all over the country. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had a fascination with college campuses and football. What better reason to travel than to put two of my favorite things together!

  23. This is great news, congrats on working together with Expedia! It’s about time that travel comapnies realize that as bloggers we are personally passionate about travel in a way that can connect to other fans/customers much more than any byline in an old media publication ever could. We’re not big football fans, but love your passion and will definitely be paying attention as you go! :)
    Jess | GlobetrotterGirls recently posted..Notes from the beach house | Week OneMy Profile

    • Thanks Jess! I appreciate your support. I am glad that Expedia is taking an interest in our stories as well. Hopefully, this will be a series everyone can enjoy! I promise it will have a lot of travel stuff – and you might even enjoy the football aspect as well.

  24. OMG, congrats Jeremy! This is so exciting! Sorry I didn’t get a chance to connect with you at TBEX to learn more about this. What a great opportunity. I just subscribed to your newsletter for updates :)
    Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..PHOTOS: Road tripping on Utahs Scenic Byway 12My Profile

    • Thanks Leslie! I hope this is a series everyone can enjoy. There will be plenty of travel and football for people to enjoy. Even those that don’t like sports will get a lot out of this series.

      As for not connecting at TBEX, I think part of that is my fault :)

  25. Christy says:

    Congrats, Jeremy! I can’t believe I didn’t watch this video at TBEX! I had no idea this had turned into such a big thing for you. It’s so great that you get to experience two of your biggest passions and you have a great company supporting you. I’m looking forward to following along!
    Christy recently posted..Levanto – An Eclectic Town Full of SurprisesMy Profile

    • Thanks Christy! Hopefully there will be a lot of people that get a glimpse of what I am doing and can find something in this series they enjoy. I am less than a month away from getting started on this series now. It will be quite a busy Fall so look forward to it. I appreciate the support and would love any input or ideas on things you would like to see.

  26. That’s a fantastic story, love that your dreams are coming true because you just got on with them and ended up being paid and appreciated for that.

    Go Jeremy, Go Expedia and even though I fall into the first category (not a sports fan) I will be following your tour as I know you’ll have some fabulous stories to share.
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..Rats and Roaches on the Road in Thailand – Funny Travel Stories SeriesMy Profile

    • Thanks Annabel. I promise that everyone who follows this series will get a lot more than just football. This series seems to get bigger every day. It will be a lot of fun, a lot of work, and I hope it’s something people will enjoy.

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