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Tuesday
Jul012008

About TRS

Welcome to the online home of Sean Genovese, TRS FounderThe Road Scholars (TRS). My name is Sean Genovese, I am the founder of TRS, created originally as a way for me to combine my passion for being a tourist and an entrepreneur. It turns out I also have a passion for writing, sarcasm, humor and encountering problems while traveling the world. So if you like any of those things, you might want to keep reading. I may also decide one day to take over the world. You'll read it here first.

A Little About Me

At the age of twenty, I had never taken an airplane ride. I know, pathetic. We won't talk about how old I was when I finally started dating. I'm a quick study though, and within ten years of my "first", I visited 34 states, a dozen countries, and racked up enough frequent flyer miles to fly business class to Europe on my honeymoon. I flew my wife business class as well (I did say I was a quick study).

I grew up in Southern California and a trip to Sacramento for a History Day competition in high school was about as far away as I'd gotten by the time I entered college. In 1997 I began my first year as an Electrical Engineering major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. My roommate that year wasChris Pasley, Inaugural Road Scholar Chris Pasley. He and I went to the same high school but we never really hung out. After a year of living together in a 20 x 25 room, I didn’t think we ever needed to hang out again.

A summer apart however, and that tune changed. During our winter break in 1998, Chris and I took a road trip to Vegas together. We couldn’t gamble or drink but we didn’t need to, our destination was the Las Vegas Hilton and the Star Trek Experience. How cool were we?! I think that’s the trip that started it all. I’ll reflect more on that in my book. Let’s get on with the history lesson.

Chris and I were inspired. We planned two additional trips: one to Yosemite for the spring of 1999, and one mother of all road trips that would take us across the country during the summer of 2000.

In March of 1999 I accepted a six month co-op assignment with a biomedical company. The job required that I fly all over the country to test clocks on hospital equipment to see if it would explode at the dawn of the year 2000. Yosemite got canceled.

The Y2K testing experience was the farthest and longest I’d ever been away from my friends and family. I started sending out weekly updates to keep my family up to date on how I was doing. Whenever I received an email from someone asking how things were coming along with my co-op, I added them to my mailing list. Before I knew it, I had a bit of a following and people couldn't wait to live vicariously through my writing. It would be another year before TRS was officially born, but the Y2K testing updates was surely its conception.

Enough About Me, What About TRS?

Friends of TRS sporting their Y2KRTE T-shirts at DisneylandChris and I were on a travel rush. For the summer 2000 road trip we decided to go big. It was the height of the dotcom boom and we were inspired by DotComGuy, a twenty-something UPS employee who quit his job and for an entire year didn’t leave his house in order to prove that anything one needed could be obtained using the Internet. Our own endeavor, dubbed the Year 2000 Road Trip Extravaganza (Y2KRTE) was to be a round trip circle tour of the U.S. covering 12,000 miles in 45 days. In DotComGuy style, we would get corporate sponsors to underwrite the trip in exchange for my witty accounts of life on the road. It turns out we were broke college students with no corporate marketing connections, so what actually happened was something a little more…modest. But we did get T-shirts.


Sponsors or not (we did have a few, mostly self-employed friends and family), the trip was fantastic--the experience of a lifetime. We ended up flying to New York using a novel new business concept called Priceline. From there we rented a car and in 24 days drove through 25 states back to California; we put 6,542 miles on our high performance two door Chevy Monte Carlo (with air conditioning).

Here's what amazed me most about the experience (besides the fact that I was literally paying the trip off for the remainder of my college career): in 24 days on the road, we spent only five nights in a hotel. Chris and I collectively knew people all across the country and, what's more, they were all more than eager to make us part of their family for a few days. That is really the essence of what TRS has become: the experience of all kinds of people and their ability to impress the hell out of me with their generosity and hospitality, especially when the situation is less than ideal. That's the rest of the essence, by the way. It seems that wherever I go, the situation is always less than ideal, which is why the adventure is the journey, not the destination.