Merry Christmas folks!

Hey fellow bloggers. I know I haven’t been particularly active on good ol’ WordPress but I figured I’d check in and wish those of you celebrating a Merry Christmas!

I’m blogging from my phone which is a WordPress first for me, so I’ll keep this fairly short and sweet.

2022 has offered quite a few highlights over the course of the year. I’ll do my usual annual wrap up early in January but weddings and volunteering and other things have made this another memorable year.

Anyway from our family to yours – Merry Christmas! To those of you celebrating, have a good’un. To those of you that aren’t, I hope you still enjoy the break! Be merry, eat plenty and hopefully you’ll see more of me in 2023!

Stuff I’m watching and stuff on the to-watch list!

Hello dear readers! I suggested a little while back, in my JasonLikesToTravel 2.0 post, that I may mix things up a little bit and blog about topics beyond travel.

I’ve just really struggled finding any blogging motivation, perhaps a writers block of sorts. I’ve never had so many ‘draft’ posts sitting there waiting to be finished off and yet sit there they do. I can’t seem to reach a point with my travel posts that leave me content with the ‘story’ I suppose.

So in an effort to blog a bit more regularly, I figure why not mix things up. I thought it might be nice to share some of the stuff I’ve been watching in recent weeks and months, plus share a few of the shows still on my list to watch.

I feel like this was partly Covid related and that every show in eternity filmed and released new seasons of stuff at exactly the same time. “Here’s a new season of this on Thursday and that on Friday and this on Sunday” and on and on and on. Worse yet, they all seemed to get released around March-April time which was of course as I embarked on my wedding trip to the USA.

Surely they could have staggered their releases better? I very quickly went from being inbetween shows to suddenly having 50 things to watch and little time to do so! The last few weeks I’ve began catching up again so here’s a look at some stuff I’ve been watching this year!

Better Call Saul
This Breaking Bad spin-off went much as Breaking Bad did for me really. For all of the hype around Breaking Bad, I felt like it took a while to get going and this is true of Better Call Saul too.

I tried watching this when it was first released and struggled on through the first season, the second didn’t keep me captivated so I gave up on it.

I decided to give it another crack and go back from the start and watch over. It’s still a bit of a struggle initially and I think you’re more inclined to stick with it if you’ve seen Breaking Bad but it does improve a lot. It’s taken me a bit of time to catch up and I did manage to watch a little of it whilst in the US in March and April but I’m now fully up to date.

We’re on a mid-season break but the show returns next week, having ended on a fantastic cliffhanger, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they wrap things up. This is the final season and being a prequel, we kind of know the path certain characters take. We also know which characters aren’t in Breaking Bad so I’m particularly interested to see the fate of those characters as they wrap up Better Call Saul.

I think both Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad are good shows and get better with each season but if you’ve not watched either, be warned that they take a while to get going!

Money Heist
I think the final season of this was released at the end of 2021 but I didn’t get around to watching this until early this year. I actually ended up watching this in its original language (Spanish – “La Casa de Papel”) albeit with English subtitles which I think made it a little more enjoyable for me.

The show follows a couple of heists, robbing the country of Spain of some of its biggest assets. It’s a really good show. In contrast to the above, I think it was probably at its strongest in its early seasons but I still really enjoyed it towards its finale. The story has you rooting for the thieves to get away with the grandest heists and there’s plenty of twists along the way. It also features some great characters and I’d definitely recommend giving it a watch.

I thought the finale wrapped things up nicely and it’s a show I’d definitely recommend giving a watch.

Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars – Episodes 4-6, 1-3, 7-9, Rogue One and Solo
I feel like people of my generation were either introduced to Star Wars via their parents or from friends who’d likely been introduced to it by their parents. My parents never had any interest or love for Star Wars, I’m not sure that they’ve ever seen any of the films so we were a Star Wars free household growing up.

My sister was introduced to it presumably through friends of her own but I was a very shy child. I’m still quiet and introverted now but as a child particularly so and therefore I struggled socially, my biggest bonds were those made through my love of football. I was obsessed with all things football – it was my comfort zone and if you liked football it made connecting with you infinitely easier.

What relevance that has to Star Wars? None I suppose but one of those friendships that I did make led to a cinema invitation. My two friends and their mum were going to watch the newly released Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace!

I think amongst hardcore Star Wars afficionados this is considered one of the weakest as far as the Star Wars films are concerned and I’m inclined to agree. So whilst I enjoyed my cinema visit with my friends, I wasn’t blown away by it. I’ve never been a film buff anyway but I don’t think the Phantom Menace was captivating enough to make me go back and watch the older Star Wars movies or anticipate the next episodes that would be released. So for years and years and years that was my sole Star Wars watch. I wasn’t inspired enough to watch any others.

“You haven’t watched Star Wars!!?”

and I was never one of those people that took delight in not watching something because it wound people up. I just hadn’t watched it because I hadn’t, no particular reason other than I spent my time doing other things.

However a few years back (December 2016!) I decided I was going to give Star Wars its opportunity to win me over but this time, doing it right. Let’s go back to the “beginning” – episode 4 naturally. Let’s see what I’ve been missing out on!

Forty years on from its original release I sat down and watched ‘A New Hope’ and it did not disappoint. It holds up pretty well despite the time that has since passed. Star Wars had offered me hope – “on to the next!”

Several times over I’ve tried to watch them all. I think on that first occasion I watched the first two episodes and no further, not for lack of enjoyment but committing to them all is time-consuming.

You sit down, watch one and then leave the next one for another night and something crops up. You go out, you’re too tired, whatever.. I must have watched Episodes 4 & 5 a good few times without ever getting much further than the trilogy. I think my greatest effort was watching 4-6 & then re-watching Episode 1 for the first time since its release. Alas, no success!

Fast forward a few years..

I came back from the US in May of 2022 and it seems that on my final day in Washington I caught Covid. I was homebound for the foreseeable future and I thought to myself, let’s watch Star Wars – all of them.

I was still working from home so my freetime wasn’t infinite but I had enough to say, “one film a night, that should be doable” and so it was back to the “beginning” – episode 4 for the nth time! I’ve always wanted to watch them in release order, experiencing it as cinema-goers did upon Star Wars release.

Fortunately despite having seen it countless times, episode 4 is probably my favourite having sparked a love for Star Wars so it never feels like a chore to watch it.

Episode 5 and 6 followed then on to a new trilogy! Episode 1 and then something fresh! From this point on I was going in blind, well as blind as prequels allow you to be. There are “spoilers” to some extent, moreso being such an old series. Even having never watched Star Wars you probably have some knowledge of certain characters but for the most part everything going forward was new to me.

I stuck at it and each new movie immersed me further in to the world of Star Wars – going in to the final few movies was particularly rewarding because I was truly blind. They featured stories I knew nothing of, characters I knew nothing about and over the course of a couple of weeks I’d been well and truly won over. After six years of trying, I’d finally watched all eleven Star Wars movies.

Sitting down to watch that final movie, The Rise of Skywalker, and watching it come to its conclusion was really, really satisfying. The next challenge is to watch some of the TV shows that have since followed but I’ll get there in time!

The Circle
This one is definitely a guilty pleasure watch. I don’t tend to watch reality TV, the whole “celebrity” culture does nothing for me and I tend to avoid all of those kind of shows but there’s just something about ‘The Circle’ that has me hooked.

The premise is that a number of contestants get locked away to the confines of their own apartment, only able to communicate with the other contestants ‘online’ with whichever profile they see fit. They can either play as themselves or ‘catfish’ as another person entirely.

I’ve always been pretty active on social media so I don’t know if that partly plays a part in why this peaks my interest but the show fascinates me. Channel 4 first introduced it to British viewers whilst Netflix have since taken on the mantle with their own US version.

The fourth season of the US edition was released in May and I blitzed through it as quickly as Netflix allowed me to – cruelly only releasing four episodes a week and typically ending on cliffhangers that begged answers.

My only critique is that the show usually falls apart in its finale. I’ve rarely been content in the eventual winner of the show and it’s a genuine bug-bear of mine that you have strong contenders for 12 episodes that then have no chance of winning it because they’re seen as too big a threat.

There are two series (one UK, one US) where this was particularly evident and just left me bitterly resentful at how it played out haha. This latest season however had a generally likeable group of contestants and there were no such complaints in how it ended! As far as reality TV goes, this is one rare show that gets a tick from me!

The Witcher!
This was another that I think was released at the end of 2021 but I only got around to finishing this year. Season one ended at such an inconvenient point (cliffhanger!) that meant this was a painfully long wait for season two because of Covid haha.

This is a fantasy show following the lives of Geralt of Rivia, Ciri of Cintra and Yennefer of Vengerberg – featuring magic and royalty and a bunch of other things.

It’s a fairly short show at just eight episodes a season so far but thoroughly enjoyable. After a two year wait it was great to be reacquainted with the story and learn more of the various characters throughout the world. I thought season two was another strong season, largely following the life of Princess Ciri. I’m excited to see where the story leads in the next season.

I wanted something fairly light-hearted after catching up with Better Call Saul and ‘Heartstopper’ ticked the right boxes. I saw the trailer for this quite early on and led to one of those “have you seen this?” queries with Haleigh – being one of Haleigh’s favourite book series I knew she’d be intrigued that Netflix were doing a TV adaptation.

I’ve never read any of the books but I was keen to give Netflix’s show a watch to see why Haleigh loved it so. This is one of those “high school” shows that follow teenagers coming of age, this however focusing moreso on LGBTQ+ love interests as some of the characters come to terms with their sexualities.

It’s a very happy, sappy, romantic, feel-good bit of television. I found this really, really easy to watch and some of the characters really likeable. Again, there’s only eight episodes to this single series (a second has been confirmed) so I think I binged it over the space of two nights but if you want something fairly light-hearted to watch that’s also LGBT friendly then this might be worth giving a watch. I liked it.

After Heartstopper I wanted something a bit more compelling and to continue with ticking off my ever-growing “to-watch” list. The final season of Ozark was released this year, split in to two parts either side of my wedding. I think I’d watched the first half at the start of the year but then had to wait until I was back in England to catch up with the second half of the final season.

This is another show that I think continued getting stronger the longer it was on TV. I think the show is really well written and somewhat similarly to ‘House of Cards’ you find yourself rooting for and against the showrunners at various points along the way.

I think overall the season was a strong one and I’d still recommend watching it but I felt really let down by its conclusion. I was watching the final episode and with 5-10 minutes to go I had to double check that this was indeed the final season because I had no idea how they were going to wrap things up.

It really fell short for me and it aggravated me so much. My advice? Don’t wrap up watching the finale of a TV show last thing on a Sunday night because it was a bittersweet way to end what was otherwise a lovely weekend.

There are some shows that kind of stumble over the finishing line in its final season just to reach a conclusion, House of Cards a very good example for very unfortunate reasoning, but for the mostpart I’d say this was a good season and left me with too many questions and uncertainties at the end of the show.

I think the only bit of comfort to its finale is that they could bring the show back in the future if they wanted to.

A bit more fluff TV really but after Ozark this was a necessary comedown, I just needed something easy to watch.

This is a “how the other half live..” type show – following the society of England’s (fictional) wealthy and noble families. The premise of each season (two to date) is essentially to find the next batch of women-of-age a husband among the ‘ton’.

It’s a hugely popular show, one of Netflix’s most watched I believe. I don’t think it’s that good but it is something I enjoy watching as a pretty casual watch. The most recent season introduced some new characters to the ‘ton’ whilst watching some other favourites develop. For a light-hearted watch it’s enjoyable enough and I’ll no doubt watch seasons 3 & 4 once released.

The Last Kingdom!
This was my most recent watch and another TV show that came to its conclusion this year. Released in March 2022, I didn’t get the chance to watch it before the wedding trip but it was worth the wait.

A two year wait I should say, this was another long gap between seasons that was presumably affected by Covid. The fourth season was released in April 2020 and the fifth of March this year so the ‘recap’ feature was a necessity for this one as I’d forgotten a good chunk of where things had left off in the previous season.

The show is fictional but follows the rule of the kingdoms in Britain and the battle between Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons and features a fair few genuine historical figures – notably “Alfred the Great”.

The first episode of season five was a little slow but from thereon I thought it was an exceptional final season. Where Ozark disappointed, this did not. I said above don’t watch a TV show as the final act of the weekend but this rounded off this past weekend perfectly and left me completely satisfied – the final episode ended with a montage of ‘Lord Uthred’s’ story throughout and it was *chefs kiss* perfection.

Highly recommend! It also had me itching to book a trip to Bamburgh asap so a little bonus from the show I suppose!

What next?
The two big things on my “to-watch” list are Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy. Fortunately I didn’t get to Stranger Things too quickly so didn’t see ‘part one’ of the newest season, meaning I can binge it all in one go. More fortunately I haven’t heard any spoilers yet which seems like a miracle, everyone has been talking about it and it seems this season has taken a bit of a darker / more horror-like direction. I’m intrigued.

I feel like that is more likely to be spoilt for me than ‘The Umbrella Academy’ but the newest season of that just came out too so that’ll be something I need to watch soon too.

Better Call Saul returns next season with part two of its final season. I think Netflix plan to release episodes weekly though so I might wait until August to watch it all in one bash, one episode a week isn’t enough.

There’s a few other things on my list that I need to begin watching or finish off watching. I somehow need to find ‘Ted Lasso’ to watch, I might get myself a free trial of AppleTV and bash that out in 7 days unless there’s anything else worth watching on Apple to justify yet another subscription.

I never think to check Amazon Prime either but I’m sure there’s some stuff worthwhile giving a watch over there too. Plus I’ve got some of the Disney+ Marvel and Star Wars TV shows to give a watch that I’ve yet to see.

Have you watched anything good recently? Anything worth adding to my list? Preferably TV shows as I seem to struggle watching a movie. Why I can watch six hour-long episodes of something in an evening but not watch a movie I don’t know.

Anyway, let me know! Until next time,


The big 3-0: Day fourteen – Walla Walla

Welcome back to another chapter of the “big 3-0” story! Those of you who haven’t been reading along (shame on you!) you’ll not know the significance of this trip. I’ll put links to previous posts at the bottom so you can catch up but in summary, I was spending 30 days in the USA celebrating my 30th birthday!

So now everyone is caught up, last time out on the blog we’d left Portland and arrived in Walla Walla, Washington on Thursday afternoon ahead of a weekend family get-together!

I hadn’t specifically planned the trip for this to be the case but a few factors meant that this was a really convenient halfway point of the trip. I’m not going to say it was a quiet weekend by any means but we had fewer plans and fewer places to be. It was more relaxed and less go-go-go, keeping in mind I’d already spent time in five different states on this trip. It felt nice to know that this was a weekend where I could refresh and re-energise ahead of more adventures coming.

My relaxed mood however was a little short-lived. After a decent sleep I woke up to news from England. My bank were desperately trying to reach me regarding a suspicious £190 payment that had come out of my account.

I didn’t have enough information to confirm the charge was or wasn’t something I’d purchased. I’d had a night here or a couple of nights there.. once exchanged in to the correct currency it could easily have been a hotel charge so I kicked off my morning by spending 30 minutes on the phone to my bank. I eventually got through and discovered somebody in Brazil had somehow made a purchase with my card details, leading to the suggestion they deactivate and replace my card.

I had some cash with me but not enough to support myself for the next 16 days. I couldn’t have my bank cancelling my card, I anticipated that I’d still need to use it at some point. Fortunately my bank found a compromise and placed a restriction on it instead which meant my fraudster in Brazil couldn’t use my card and that my account could only be used with the presence of the card and by pin-transaction only. That was perfect! Sort of..

Any of you that have been to the US will know that they’re allergic to pin-transactions. You almost never have to input a pin number in to a machine, you just sign for everything..

Not that anyone ever checks the signature. Scribble this, leave a nice doodle here.. people are none-the-wiser. The signature process is effectively redundant, I don’t get why they even bother with the signature part – all they do is swipe your card details really.

Having been to the US plenty of times by now I was fully aware of this of course. Only being able to use the card for pin-transactions was going to really limit where and when I could use my bank card. The important thing was that I could use my card but I knew that going forward I’d probably be reliant on finding ATM machines and withdrawing cash to use.

I didn’t foresee that being a problem so heads up for anyone thinking this is a good plan for a trip to the US. Free-to-use ATM machines are almost non-existent – even if you’re American, even if its YOUR bank. You will be charged every time you want to withdraw cash! At least $3 I reckon, sometimes more. I find that incredible coming from the UK or even Europe where free-to-use ATM’s are everywhere! I was grateful to be able to use my card in a “pin-only” capacity as I’d have been screwed without it but the charges racked up.

I guess moral of the story is either make sure you have enough cash to cover your trip or ensure you have multiple cards you can use. I’ve never owned a credit card, I’m quite “good with money” and consequently I got stung by my only card being compromised.


Anyway, long story short: I got it sorted and meant I had money for the rest of the morning. After half an hour on the phone I was free to enjoy the rest of my morning. We had a pretty lazy morning and didn’t do too much really. The big family BBQ wasn’t until tomorrow and I’d been to Walla Walla six months earlier so I’d seen much of what was in town.

After relaxing for a bit myself, Haleigh and Ben (Haleigh’s brother) went out for lunch. We went to this cool pizza place in town called Sweet Basil. I hadn’t been here before but it was really good, albeit a little messy. I don’t know how but I’d seemingly managed to get some tomato sauce on my nose (seriously, how?) which amused the other two.

Moving on from lunch we strolled along the main street in the downtown area. It’s largely made up of wineries because Walla Walla seemingly does really good wine. We ended up popping in to sweet-tooth favourite Brights which is home to a whole host of candy and dessert options. We grabbed some ice cream which rounded off our lunch quite nicely.

Downtown Walla Walla – Feb 2020

After browsing a few places downtown we headed back to the house and got some video games going, although I mostly watched. Ben and Haleigh kicked off by playing some Minecraft, a game that I’ve never really seen the appeal in, before Ben switched to some newly-released zombie game which was pretty fun to watch.

The added bonus to being in Walla Walla was that it allowed the opportunity to catch up on some of the more mundane things. For instance I hadn’t packed a month’s worth of clothing so this was a good afternoon to get some washing done. Between doing that and hanging out the afternoon flew by pretty quickly. It wasn’t long until Ben had to switch his focus to getting ready for work.

By this point in the weekend a few other out-of-towners had arrived in Walla Walla so we headed over to the second set of grandparents for a BBQ-eve get-together. It was a chance for me to meet a few new faces and enjoy an evening of good company, good food and playing a few more games.

Whilst it hadn’t been the most eventful day of the trip so far, it was a nice enough start to the weekend and good to be back in a city that I’ve quickly adopted as my second home. Surrounded by good people and mountain views, what more could you want?

I was excited for the rest of the weekend. More on that to come soon! Stay tuned!


P.S – if you want to read previous days on this trip there are links below!
Day one – Chicago bound
Day two – exploring Chicago
Day three – Minneapolis
Day four – Why I visited Minneapolis!
Day five – New Orleans!
Day six – The real New Orleans!
Day seven – Goodbye New Orleans, Hello Washington
Day eight – Exploring Poulsbo!
Day nine – Wedding day!
Day ten – To Portland!
Day eleven – the actual 3-0!
Day 12 – Oregon City and Portland
Day thirteen – Walla Walla bound!

An update on life!

Hello my dear readers!

It has been a few months since I last posted but I assure you I’m still alive and well. Some of you will have seen me floating around on other social media but I fell out of the habit of posting here regularly, or reading other bloggers posts for that matter.

I want to try and get back in to the swing of things but before jumping in to the travel, I thought I’d offer a bit of an update. Why haven’t I been posting? Where have I been? What have I been up to?

In all honesty, there’s no real reason for the lack of posting. You miss one week and before you know it it’s three months without a post. I’ve come close to finishing off a few draft posts on a number of occasions but I haven’t got as far as hitting that ‘publish’ button and consequently the blog has felt a little bit neglected.

With Covid and more time at home I can’t even say I haven’t had the time, I’ve just preoccupied myself with other things. Be it watching football, learning Finnish (Thank you Duolingo – long overdue!), watching Netflix, training, work or a number of other bits and pieces. Despite spending the bulk of my time at home I have been keeping myself busy.

I’ve also squeezed in a couple of trips since I last posted. I was a little more cautious / hesistant with the first trip but in August I went and spent a few days by the sea with a four-night trip to the Norfolk coast. I didn’t really feel right to be flying across the globe for my travel fix so decided I’d stay in England and pretty local too. I was also conscious about the weekends during the summer being busier so restricted myself to a Monday-Friday getaway which was nice.

Cromer Pier

It was good to have a little taste of normality, particularly with the UK running the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme in August which coincided with my trip. A few days of sunshine was a good little fix and the perfect escape after three months of home-working in which I rarely left the house.

After August I still had 11 days of annual leave to use before the end of the year. I’d already optimistically booked off Thanksgiving week but as November draws closer it’s safe to say I won’t be visiting Washington. If the border re-opens this year that’d be a miracle!

The other six days I split in to two with the aim of a long weekend in October and a long weekend in December. I figured the first of those I’d travel somewhere and was toying with whether to stay in the UK or go abroad.

Work swayed my decision a little bit, I was more than happy working from home but work asked me to return to the office in September and it changed my mindset I think. I feel like an office environment with 100 odd other people is far riskier than the minimal social interaction I’ve had over the past six months.

So I kept an open mind about getting on a plane in October – still considering the Covid situation of course. With ever-changing circumstances and travel restrictions I narrowed my options down to a long weekend in the UK, Turkey or Gibraltar – leaning in favour of a trip out of the country.

Growing restrictions in the UK, such as curfews, only emphasised that thinking and it was a toss-up between Turkey and Gibraltar in the end. Both countries had low cases and the latter has still had 0 Covid deaths – zero! Incredible really.

I wanted to leave the decision as late as possible so I wasn’t stung by any restrictions or quarantine. I’ve been itching to go to Turkey for a while now so it seemed like the early favourite but something in the back of my mind must have swayed me in another direction as I eventually opted to book a trip to Gibraltar! A few days later Turkey unexpectedly went on to the quarantine list, it was a bit of a shock given the numbers but I felt a huge sigh of relief when the news broke.


Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I flew out to Gibraltar for another four night trip and a long-weekend in a country I’d never been to. With the situation getting increasingly worse in the UK I actually felt better about going abroad than had I actually booked a ‘staycation’.

I enjoyed Gibraltar a lot, I could definitely have stayed there for longer and just not come home haha. I’ll be writing up about that trip next time on the blog, hopefully very soon, and then getting back in to the swing of things and continuing the “big 3-0” series.

Stay tuned!


Thank you and Merry Christmas!

Hello my dear readers! The plan after my little Washington series was that my next post would be about Madrid. However then, perhaps ironically, I went to Washington for a week over Thanksgiving (it was good!) and I just haven’t been in the blogging groove since coming back to England.

So December’s been a bit of a bust on the blogging front but I figured that’s okay – perks of not being a professional blogger, right? I can post as I please. I figured I’ll just enjoy the holidays and pick things up again in the New Year.

However before disappearing I did want to say a thank you to everyone who’s followed along this year and made this another enjoyable year of blogging. I appreciate every single view, comment, like, share etc etc. I’m a huge fan of social media and love engaging with the online community – be it here on WordPress, InstagramTwitter or wherever else – thank you! I genuinely appreciate it.

I’m going to keep this relatively short but wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and to tell you to enjoy the final few days of the decade! Thanks again!

See you in 2020!


Georgia – Part two: Rural Georgia (Feb 2016)

Forgive me, I let the football distract me and my Georgia series had to take a backseat. On to part two of the adventure! For those that missed part one, I was in Atlanta, you can read about that here (Read me!) but come the Sunday it was time to move on and head in to a very different side of the state.

Myself and Mella were saying goodbye to the big city of Atlanta and heading North towards her home ‘city’. I say city loosely because its most recent population estimate was a rather modest 739 people. Google and Wikipedia are both insistent that it’s a city but what constitutes awarding somewhere a city status? If you’ve got to drive 20 miles to collect a pizza because they won’t deliver, sorry America, but you’re not a city.

As we drove in to this little piece of Georgia it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. I say 750ish live here but that figure surprised me if I’m being honest, where are they living? Perhaps I just hadn’t been paying much attention whilst passing through but were there even 100 houses here? Myself and Mella ended on good terms but forgetting the company, returning to complete a city-wide census is a tempting enough reason to go back!

Perhaps there are 700+ people living here but nevertheless it is a city with little to it. There’s supposedly a city hall, which I’ve no doubt Mella probably pointed out to me, but it completely bypassed me. Nevertheless I wasn’t here to be entertained, I was here to enjoy the company and meet some of Mella’s favourite people. Plus get a little insight in to how the locals lived and see a ‘real’ side to Georgia I suppose.

Mella lives with her grandparents and with other family living closeby it wasn’t long before I was introduced to various people and beginning to appreciate some of the quirks of the South, including the accent! Perhaps I’d just got used to hearing her voice but I never felt Mella herself had an overly Southern accent but particularly when meeting her cousin, Haley, there was no disguising it! It kept me mildly amused as it was so distinct.

We didn’t do too much over the course of the week, we spent a lot of time relaxing and blitzing through Parks and Rec on Netflix (my first introduction to that and Criminal Minds). However there were still some highlights, mostly the company in truth.

One of the perks to living so rurally is it meant car journeys to do anything, even just picking up dinner. A favourite car-journey game of mine was “count the USA flags” (bonus points for the Confederation flag). The USA’s patriotism is always something that fascinates me. It’s so in your face and so contrasting to England where, sporting events aside, you rarely see the same level of patriotism. Of course it has negatives too, my border control experience (Welcome to the USA – Georgia style!) highlights that thinking America is the greatest place on Earth comes with consequences but nevertheless it was amusing to me to see an American flag every few meters on a ridiculous number of cars, houses, establishments, trees etc etc etc. If you can stick a flag on it be certain that the Americans will do it!

Flags everywhere you look!

“Fifty flags!! We’ve only driven a couple of miles!”
Seriously, come play the same game in England. “Zero? I’ve been here two weeks!!”

Beyond the few days in Atlanta, my last visit to the US had been in 2008 (and prior) with the bulk of that time spent in Orlando. It was interesting to compare and see little traffic on the roads and pretty scenery throughout the state. I remember us taking an evening trip to pick up some pizza in Jasper which meant driving through winding icy roads, surrounded by trees before arriving in to a snowy city (population: 4,000ish).

Other trips saw us drive in to the likes of Calhoun (16,000ish) and Cartersville (20,000ish) which, whilst miles away from Atlanta’s population (500,000ish), was a little inkling of life in Georgia’s smaller cities. Mella’s home ‘city’ was far too small for my liking but it wasn’t absurd to think I could live locally. Cartersville sticks in the mind and whilst still relatively small, didn’t feel so remote from civilisation haha.

Atlanta had been a fun few days but my best memories of Georgia were a result of that famous ‘Southern hospitality’ I’d heard so much about. Not only did Mella make me feel right at home but the hospitality extended to everyone else too. Time at home saw Mella’s grandmother introduce me to my first real taste of Southern cuisine – the highlight was homemade ‘Biscuits and Gravy. Considered a Southern favourite and it was pretty tasty! Not sure it’ll be taking off in England anytime soon mind you.

Similarly Mella’s friends were also quick to welcome me in to their lives and make time to spend with us. One day saw us visit Christy, Andy and baby Ian which was a day revolving mostly around good food, including some cool little burger place – again in what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

Another day saw us hang out with Brianna and visit one of Georgia’s shopping malls before checking out this cool little bar in Cartersville called Ate Track, a little rock-and-roll themed place with good food and a nice way to finish the day off.

Our final bit of social interaction saw us meet Meghan for dinner before heading back to Meghan’s to play games with Meghan and Brett. A few beers, a bit of Cards and Humanity followed by a session of Fifa between myself and Brett – accompanied with expertise Georgian commentary from the girls made for a fun evening.

The end to the trip was pretty relaxed. The weather forecast didn’t look brilliant so I ended up getting a last-minute hotel by the airport for the night before my departure to avoid any complications getting home. Myself and Mella said our goodbyes, feeling a little deflated I cheered myself up with room service and ordered in some pizza and a couple of beers. The next day I was back at Atlanta airport pondering when I’d next be back here.

Obviously things didn’t go as planned and things didn’t work out long term for me and Mella but it was a nice week and, after a rocky start with border control, I left Georgia with many good memories. I don’t know if I’ll ever return, perhaps someday as I have friends including Mella who live in the state or in neighbouring states but I’m pleased I got to see more than just the big city.

Whilst Georgia is by no means my favourite part of the US, it ticked off state number two and rekindled a desire to see more of the country.

Anyway, I’ll wrap things up there. Next up on the blog: An easy way for YOU to save in 2019, so you’ll be able to have your own adventure!

Stay tuned!


Liebster Award

First and foremost Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all have a wonderful 2018! 2017 was a pretty good year for myself and following this I do plan to post a little round up of my year in full. Hopefully that’ll come this week.

I had got in to a really good routine with regular blogposts and then between going to Germany (November), Christmas and New Year (Edinburgh) I’ve lost my way a bit. So I suppose my New Years Resolution should be getting back at it and sticking to posting regularly on the blog.

Before the end of the year I had a surprise but appreciated nomination for the Liebster award from Chloe. Thank you! You should definitely go and give her blog a read for all things travel and doing so as a newbie vegan! You can find Chloe’s blog here: Chloevsworld

Anyway here’s my response to the questions that nomination brought:

Where is the best place you’ve ever visited?
I usually end up overcomplicating this because can you compare a theme-park orientated holiday (hi Disney!) to a city break or relaxed beach holiday? Probably not but if I’m being honest my snap first thought is always New York City.

I went with high hopes that it could perhaps rival my love of London – it did and the only thing that really gives London the edge is bias as a London born individual.

New York City has everything for everyone and whilst I can understand people being reluctant about wanting to live there, I struggle to think anyone wouldn’t enjoy a visit. If you haven’t been already – go!

What scares you the most in life?
This is a tricky question. I think the thing that scares me most is after life opposed to IN life. I’m not religious and admire those that have that faith. I choose to believe in an after-life through hope rather than actual belief so the idea of time being up perhaps motivates me most to travel and enjoy every minute whilst I can.

Actual in life fears I’m not too sure. I’m a pretty chilled and laid-back person. Some of the long-term things I probably should be worrying about such as a career and home and family and whatever else don’t tend to faze me. They’ll happen when they happen and I’m content with how my life is.

So I suppose the thing that scares me most in life is not enjoying it. Is that a rubbish answer? Haha.

What’s a hobby that you have besides blogging?
As a travel-focused-blog I’ll skip over the obvious so my other big hobby is football (soccer). Football gets a lot of criticism, a lot of it more than justified and I’m still adamant nobody hates football more than a football fan. The game is incredibly flawed and infuriating but despite the bad points it’s also an incredible thing to pour your heart in to.

What makes football special for me personally isn’t even the sport. To some degree you can take the football out of the equation and you’re still left with something special.
In a trivial sense it is just a sport with 22 overpaid people kicking a ball around (Trivial? I didn’t mean that!). What makes it the most popular sport in the world is the depth beyond that.

It’s hard to describe unless you “get it”. Nevertheless it’s one of my biggest hobbies and the extremity of my obsession is I often have to plan my travels around the stupid game.

Something you really want to achieve in 2018?
As sad as it may be, I think I’d just like to make some progress with the blog. Not necessarily to get to a “full-time-blogger” stage but just to make more effort with it and engage better with other bloggers (thanks again Chloe!).
2017 was a good start to “Jason likes to travel” but I’d like to think there’s still a lot to come from this.

I’m not a career-orientated person and I’m pretty happy with the aspects of my personal life so this is definitely something to focus on in 2018.
I’d also like to keep persisting with learning German and Spanish. I’ve slacked a little towards the end of the year but it’s something I’ll be picking up again to keep it fresh in my mind. I don’t know if fluency is realistic but I’ll keep striving towards it.

What are your 3 favourite things about yourself?
1: My attitude towards life. I think I try and enjoy it as much as I can and don’t worry too much about the big stuff. I’m carefree and always optimistic which certainly has its downsides but I’m really glad it’s the way I am.

2: My attitude towards other people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m introverted and hopeless in social situations but in spite of that I think I do have compassion for people and try not to judge people. I had a lot of good influences on my life growing up and I think it shaped me as a person. As a kid I wasn’t perfect and I’m still not now but I do think I’m always getting better in this area and try to treat people right. I think on the whole I’m doing a good job and always look for the best in people.

3: How much I’ve grown as a person. I’m very much a person that likes to reflect on the past (whilst continuing to look forward), I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made in recent years. That’s not without help and without making mistakes and learning lessons along the way but I definitely think I’ve tried to push myself in to more situations that I’m not naturally comfortable in. Whilst cliche, travel has definitely helped with that.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
My first thought was Michael Cera, although I did need a little help from Google as I’d forgotten his name haha. I’ve seen him in a few things and I think he’d play me pretty well. I’ve just got to wait for the phonecall on that blockbuster movie on my life now, right? You’re all invited to the premiere

Hot or cold weather?
Definitely hot. It’s not that I dislike the cold, I do like snow for example but I’d much rather be doing something with the benefit of decent weather. I’ve been away before where the weather hasn’t really helped. Ideally though I’d prefer something in between the two – very much a typical Brit but we long for the summer weather and then want the heat to disappear after a day or two because it’s too hot.

What is the most read post on your blog?
Encouragingly it’s actually my most recent post. The big 3-0! I turn 30 in the summer and I’m planning on spending a month in the USA. The post was based on some of the things I’ll be thinking about in planning such a big trip. You can read it in full here: The big 3-0!

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I really don’t know, I’ve always been given advice throughout my life but I don’t think there has been anything I’ve consciously taken on board that has been life-changing. I’ve probably been given advice that subconsciously I’ve taken notice of but I’d struggle to name one specific piece of advice.
So if you’re looking for some inspirational quote, unfortunately I’m lacking.

What’s your favourite cuisine?
It has to be Italian. Visiting Italy in 2015 was a dream come true and the food didn’t disappoint. It’s a travesty I’ve only been to Italy once in fact, I’m overdue a return and craving some good pizza and gelato.

Something you did in 2017 that you’re proud of?
I got back to believing in myself. On the whole 2016 was a good year but there were struggles and my confidence took a knock. I particularly struggled with a break up and despite being a positive person it took me a little time to get back on track. 2017 ended up being a really good year and I ended it in a really good place – literally (Edinburgh) and mentally. I’m feeling good about 2018.

The idea is I’m now to nominate 11 bloggers here to answer 11 questions of their own but I’m just going to limit this to 5 bloggers as I’m still making connections in the blogging world. So here are my nominations of blogs I’ve particularly enjoyed reading:

Caffeine and Foxes
2 Weekend Wanderers
Rapetti Review
Duri Rolvsson
A Traveled Life

To those 5, here are your 11 questions:

1) What are your blogging goals for 2018?
2) What are your personal objectives for the year?
3) Why did you start blogging?
4) What other platforms do you use to promote your blog?
5) What’s a typical weekend for you?
6) What do you like to do outside of the blogging world?
7) What’s your dream job?
8) If you were on deathrow, what would your final meal be?
9) What was your highlight of 2017?
10) Who is your favourite fictional character?
11) Would you ever like to live in another country?

Thanks for reading!


The tale of Canterbury

I think anyone that has been gripped by the desire to see the world has felt this struggle – the gap in time between your last trip and the next. This is where your wanderlust really kicks in and you start to crave more adventure.
I went to New York City last June, came home and my next trip lined up was a weekend in Germany in September. September! What was I supposed to do for three months?

The answer was obvious – take a trip! Funds and time were limited so I decided rather than go abroad, I’d spend a weekend somewhere here in the UK. So off to Canterbury I went.

It’s only an hour away from London so if you’re visiting the UK then why not take a day-trip to Canterbury? Here’s why you should!

It’s a city of heritage!
I didn’t know much about Canterbury before visiting, the famed Canterbury Tales was one of the few things I knew of so I was expecting an old city with plenty of history. Canterbury didn’t disappoint. For starters it’s home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site!


The cathedral is one of the most visited attractions in the city, which was founded all the way back in the year 597! It was rebuilt a few hundred years later and the cathedral is perhaps most famously known for the murder of the archbishop Thomas Becket. Acknowledgement of Becket’s influence in Canterbury can be found throughout the city, including a pub named after him! I always feel like that is the greatest possible honour bestowed on any Brit. A pub in your name? You’ve made it big!


One of the surprises of the city was the small abandoned castle on the outskirts of the city centre. Whilst much smaller than most castles throughout Europe it was free to look around and there was also a distinct lack of tourists which made it a winner for me! Definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of castles and old architecture.


It’s pretty!

Canterbury isn’t just all cathedrals, castles and city walls – it’s also a really pretty city. Cobbled streets, a river running through it and pretty public gardens all make it a really aesthetically pleasing city too. Booking a river tour is a great way to see more of the city and offer some different photo opportunities.


It has plenty of culture!
The city is home to three universities, the population of the city doubles throughout the academic year which means there is always stuff going on. Museums, exhibitions, theatre, events, restaurants, shopping and more!
I was rather lucky my weekend coincided with a medieval festival in the city. It wasn’t planned but very much enjoyed!


If you plan to stay overnight it also has a great nightlife with some great pubs to visit, these of course are open throughout the day and usually offer traditional British pub meals too but the city comes to life a little more in the evening.
One pub I was particularly fond of was the Foundry who brew their own beers! There’s plenty of others dotted about the city though so you’ll be spoilt for choice if looking for somewhere to spend your evening!

Inside the Foundry

So there you have it – add Canterbury to your list! For those of you who’ve been before what did you love about Canterbury? It’s a city I’ll definitely return to so I’d love to hear your recommendations.

Thanks for reading!


There’s a reason selfies weren’t a thing in medieval times