Updated: Sep 3
Jeff Schroeder ('Around The World For Free')
Thursday, July 22 2010, 10:00am EDT
By Lara Martin, News Editor
With successful stints on Big Brother and Amazing Race already under his belt, reality favorite Jeff Schroeder is now embarking on his biggest challenge to date with Around The World For Free.The second season of the interactive CBS reality show will see Jeff leaving his friends and family - including girlfriend Jordan Lloyd - at home while he attempts to cross the world in 100 days with no money and only the help of his online audience. With the venture kicking off on the Early Show this Monday, we caught up with him - and editor/cameraman/producer and travel partner Zsolt Luka - to find out more...
How are you feeling ahead of the big sendoff?
"The best way I can describe it is like going away to college or camp where you're scared but you're excited about the anticipation. You know it will be a great summer or school year, you're nervous in the beginning but once you get into it you have the best time ever."
Jordan recently told us that she'll miss you - was it a hard decision to leave your friends and family for so long?
"It was an absolute yes when they were thinking about me. It's what I want to do, I want to see the world. To me, it's a no-brainer. Would you rather be stuck behind a desk or going out and seeing the world? I know I'll miss my family and obviously I'll miss Jordan, but we'll be in touch through phone and computer all the time. You don't get a chance like this too often so when opportunity knocks you have to open thedoor for something like this."
Would you say being on The Amazing Race was good preparation for this?
"I guess, somewhat! (laughs) Jordan won't be with me this time! We could have used Zsolt on The Amazing Race! It prepared me a little. It's definitely a totally different scenario we're getting into here but it was good preparation."
What will you be bringing with you besides your satellite phone and computer?
"I haven't picked out my wardrobe yet but you don't want to be carrying around a lot of stuff. I definitely learned that from The Amazing Race when I dumped half my pack. I think I'll pick out a couple of my favorite T-shirts, maybe two pairs of shorts, some underwear, a goodpair of shoes, some flipflops and swim trunks and I'll be ready to hit the world!"
What sort of preparation can you do for this?
"I work out, I try to hit the gym three or four times a week so I'm working on my endurance. I think I need to work on my patience because there will be a lot of downtime, long bus trips, waiting on the side of the road, waiting for people to reply, so I think working on my patience is more important than the physical part."
Zsolt:"This is more of a mental thing. It isn't a race, we're not trying toout run a clock. It's a human thing of how do you keep going for 100 days non-stop - often 16 or 20-hour days - away from your family and friends?"
Do you speak any languages?
"I do not, so this is a question for Zsolt!"
Zsolt:"I speak six but I would trade some of those for one Asian language. We're not taking the talking dictionaries along. I want to see Jeff mime his way through a situation with a smile! I don't want him to have these crutches to lean on, I'm not going to help him too much either. Of course, we're buds on the road and have each others' backs, but the interesting thing is how he will stumble through a Tokyo or Thailand or India if necessary."
Do you have any idea which countries you will be visiting yet?
"We have no idea and that's what is so great about the show. It's all up to the audience and it's all interactive - they get to journey with us. We're seeing it through the eyes of the locals and bringing the audience with us. They determine where we go."
You're starting in New York City. How will you decide on your first destination?
"After we walk off the Early Show set on July 26, the show starts. I have no money, only my computer and satellite phone to stay in touch with the audience. I'll log on and see who has made a profile and can help me out and that will determine which direction I go. We want to stay away from the season one route,we don't want to repeat the same direction he (Alex Boylan) took through the Caribbean and South America. We want to make our own path and go with the flow, whatever the audience suggests."
Zsolt:"Sometimes many different suggestions might come in and Jeff and I will decide on the fly which one we like best. But sometimes we may be in an extremely remote location like the jungle in North Thailand and it'sonly a stranger on the road who can help us because no-one from the online audience is reaching out, at which point we have to hitch a ride and see what happens."
Did you ever imagine you'd be in this position a year ago when you entered the Big Brother house?
"Never! Me and Jordan were just out to dinner yesterday and talking about that exact same thing. What a difference a year makes! To be on two reality shows and then doing my dream travel show, it's exactly that, a dream come true. I could never have imagined it, but if you stick hard to your dreams and know what you want in life it can happen, it's crazy."
Are you interested in pursuing a TV career now?
"It would be something I want but who knows what will happen after the show. Right now my focus is 100% on doing the show and wherever the chips fall after the show, they will fall."
Jeff and Zsolt will begin their journey on the Early Show on July 26 on CBS and fans can follow their entire experience on the Around The World For Free website