31 Jul Tuesday Traveller: Jeremy Branham – Football Fan
Snap your fingers right now and you’d magic yourself to…?
Slovenia. A few years ago, I visited there for the first time. I spent a few weeks travelling around Eastern Europe and fell in love with the area. The culture, history, food, people, and places – one of the most interesting places I’ve travelled.
Slovenia isn’t a huge country but I love how diverse it is. It has a great capital city in Ljubljana, mountains, lakes, caves, wine regions, beach, and plenty of things to do in the outdoors. A friend of mine lives there is a tour guide. Lake Bled is stunning and the country inspired me to write my ultimate travel guide to Slovenia.
One day I want to spend a summer backpacking through Slovenia.
Do you prefer to travel solo or with a friend?
Yes to both. I know that may be a cop out answer but each has their pros and cons. My answer to this really depends on what type of trip I am on. When I am travelling for a series or an event, travelling solo is much better. I can be gone from sun up to sun down and just need to go non-stop to get all of my work done. Traveling solo is so much easier on those trips.
On other trips, travelling together is great because you can experience a place together. Sharing a travel moment or destination with the right person is one of the best experiences you can have.
What’s the best tour you’ve ever done?
On my first trip to Europe, I did a Best of Europe tour with Rick Steves. On that trip, I got to see a few of the most popular countries in Western Europe – France, Germany, Italy, and more. One of my guides for the trip was a guy named Marijan Kriskovic. I am still friends with him today and he has been a big influence in my love of Eastern Europe.
Rick Steves inspired me to travel many years ago. I know people in the US either love him or hate him but I do appreciate his travel philosophy. His tours are small (about 25 people), he includes big cities with smaller towns, and balances guided tours and free time to explore on your own (sometimes giving you a day or two on your own in a city).
One other thing about that tour – it was during a tough time in my life and I had a few ups and downs. From loneliness to standing on top of a mountain to a lunch at McDonald’s in Paris that gave me one of the most unique travel experiences I’ve had, the trip wasn’t always easy but it was memorable.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
For me, there’s one thing that sticks out to me – going to a nude beach in Portugal. While hiking along the coast in the Algarve, I wandered upon a nude beach near Salema. Americans are really scared of nudity in public (nothing wrong with that) so this experience was new for me – especially when I wasn’t expecting it.
However, nudity wasn’t the thing that embarrassed me. It took me a couple of hours but I finally got the courage to go all in. My lesson from the experience and my take on nude beaches? Probably not what people think. The color of my skin was something that bothered me a lot more than the nudity.
What type of traveller really bugs you?
I know many people hate the traveller vs tourist debate. However, I do think there is a distinction.
For me, a traveller is one who is open and appreciates other cultures. The tourist is one who goes somewhere and expects everyone to cater to their expectations. As a traveller, I think there is a time to be a tourist because we all need to escape and just recharge.
However, that is the thing that bothers me – those who aren’t sensitive to the local culture. I’ve seen it from all nationalities – from Americans being too loud to other nations enjoying tours and taking photos and insensitive to the people around them.
Simply put – respect others when you travel. Honestly, I’ve failed many times when it comes to this but I try to be mindful of other cultures and travellers.
Even on a budget we all have a luxury vice, what’s yours?
Sporting events. As a traveller, sports are a huge part of my experience and one of the things I write about on my blog. I’ve written numerous stories about Scottish Highlands Games professional athletes, racism in sports and how travel can help heal, and how sports and culture can unite people around the world.
Last year I launched a travel series called the College Football Travel Tour. Since I grew up around college football, I decided to combine my passion for the game with travel. Last year, I went to three schools – the University of Washington, University of South Carolina, and the Naval Academy. It was the most fun I’ve ever had travelling.
This series takes people to college football games all over the country as I share photos and videos from the game and feature stories on tailgating, food, and the unique stories surrounding the game. However, this series also focuses on the travel side of things (for people that don’t care about sports) as I enjoy different places to eat, find places to stay, share things to do in these towns, and go on campus tours to give people a slice of college life. Whether you love college football, travel, or both, I want to give people an in depth look at the culture, passion, and college towns that make this such a unique part of the culture here in the US.
I love college football, football (soccer here in the US), and baseball. I can talk European football with anyone and am very knowledgeable of the game. I’ve seen Barcelona play at the Camp Nou and cried when Chelsea won the Champions League in May. So I’ve been known to spend a few dollars on a sporting event. Sports are an awesome way to connect with locals when you travel.
The most money I’ve spent on a ticket? Almost $600 for a football game (I’m not going to say which one – but feel free to ask me). J
What camera do you take travelling with you and why?
Timely question on this one because I just bought two new ones. For more professional photos, I have my 4/3 camera (a scaled down version of DSLR that is closer in size to a point and shoot) – a Sony NEX 5N. I have a couple of different lenses for that one – 18mm – 55mm for regular photos and a 55mm to 210mm for shooting sporting events.
This month, I just bought an HTC One S from T-mobile which I will use for other photos. It’s an 8 MP that also shoots video in 1080. I haven’t used it yet so I will have to see how it works.
Jeremy Branham is a budget traveller who travels with the philosophy “Travel passionately, spend wisely, experience more.” He focuses on unique travel stories that inspire and get people to think about the world through destinations, sports, the outdoors, local culture, travel tips ,and deals,. Follow him on his blog Budget Travel Adventures, Twitter, and Facebook.