JasonLikesToTravel 2.0

Hello dear readers! How are things? I’m sure there’s a few of you wondering “who’s this guy?” or perhaps thinking “I remember him..” because well, my posting regularity has been pretty naff over the last couple of years.

The pandemic eh? So much time, so little posting! This is just my 7th post in the last 12 months but perhaps it’ll be lucky number seven? The one to get me back to posting a bit more frequently?

I don’t know what the cause is, perhaps Covid just sucked all of the fun out of travel-writing for me but I either haven’t had made the time to post or have actually had time but just no motivation to do so.

So I’m thinking I’m going to revamp things around here. Less structured and more “whatever”. Typically I’ve been posting about each of my trips chronologically but I think I’m going to take this a little less seriously and just blog about trips as and when I want to and maybe even throw in some other topics and life updates along the way – so consider this blog 2.0 going forward!

Maybe some posts will be the usual ramble-y ones (“like this post Jason?), perhaps they’ll be shorter. Maybe they’ll cover trips I’ve taken, maybe they’ll just be a handful of words to check in but I DO enjoy being part of this community and I do want to get back to blogging in some form so we’ll see how things go. However if you’re only here for the travel, maybe now’s the time to jump ship and click that little “unfollow” button.

“Okay Jason, I’m on board! What have you been up to?”

Well, it’s so nice that you asked! Those following me elsewhere on social media will have seen that after September 2021’s postponement, I finally got married in April!! That’ll undoubtedly be the big highlight of 2022. What a lovely day it was! I really don’t get the whole nervousness around weddings – it was a doddle and really nice for my family to make their first trip over to Washington State too – they loved it!

Wedding Photo

In the end I spent a total of six weeks in the US and visited four different states – Washington (obviously), Oregon, Idaho and Utah. I’ll blog about that trip in more detail soon but six weeks away was wonderful.

I thought going back to England after so long away would be difficult enough but I only went and took a “souvenir” home with me didn’t I? After two years of avoiding it I managed to catch Covid!

I flew home on the Saturday (7th May) and woke up with a scratchy throat on the Tuesday. I wouldn’t have caught it from anyone inbetween so I’m convinced I caught it in this busy pub in Seattle a few hours before my flight home – oops!

Following on from the CDC guidance changes around mask-wearing I then flew home maskless too so suffering a little Covid-related guilt there. Admittedly I had nobody sat next to me on the flight and I know it’s unlikely I’d have passed it on that quickly anyway but still, typical eh?

Fortunately symptoms didn’t stick around long. I tested negative twice before testing positive and by the time the positive tests started coming I was pretty much over the worst of it anyway. Nevertheless I’ve been laying low for the last couple of weeks, it has been nice to get back among civilisation this week!

I’m heading up North this coming weekend. A friend is celebrating her 30th birthday in a town called Northallerton and I figured I’d make the best of it and booked myself a hotel for two nights in Newcastle. I’ve never spent any proper time in the city so any recommendations are more than welcome! I’m excited to explore it a little bit and I’ll keep you posted on what I discover haha.

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up so this is relatively short by my usual standards. You can see a few more wedding photos over at Instagram for anyone interested. I’ll blog about that trip pretty soon but I just wanted to give some form of update before then.

Until next time!

Jason

The big 3-0: Day nine – Wedding day!

Hey there! Remember me? Last time out on the blog I wrote a bit of a fun tongue-in-cheek post about my new-foundΒ fame in China and it seems it overwhelmed me because I haven’t been seen on the blog since!

I’ve got quite good at evading the paparazzi. I spent June locked away, staying at home and social distancing from the world.

All jokes aside, there’s no real reason for my absence on the blog. It was an unintended break from blogging but I’m back and it’s time to continue with the “big 3-0” trip. It’s been a while since I last wrote about it so you’d be forgiven for forgetting where we were at.

It was the summer of 2018, I was turning 30 and spending 30 days in the USA. I’d just spent day eight in the adorable town of Poulsbo, one day before the wedding of the year! ‘Today’ was the big day! This was it!

Two years earlier my friend Maddie had asked me if two years was enough notice to attend her wedding in Washington State – my answer was a resounding “of course!” but without that invitation this entire trip probably doesn’t happen.

Additionally, it’s hard to look back at this invitation as anything other than life-changing. A few months after Maddie blessed me with the honour of attending, I was then introduced to Maddie’s bride, Cassie, and also a bridesmaid by the name of Haleigh. Sound familiar?

“So that’s how you met!!”

I know, right? It’s a nice story but also one that makes you think.. what if Maddie had never invited me? What if Maddie had invited me but for whatever reason I hadn’t been able to attend? It’s an alternate reality that I don’t want to think about at all but it’s ultimately a gesture that was life-changing.

That said, this post isn’t our love story! This is all about Maddie and Cassie!

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Wedding of the year!

Myself and Haleigh woke up and a little like the day before, were quickly saying our goodbyes. Haleigh was off to the venue to get ready with the rest of the wedding party, whilst I had a much more relaxed morning.

With the morning quickly ticking away I figured I’d best start getting wedding-ready myself. I had a decent amount of time but I also wanted to make sure I ate before I went over to the wedding as I wasn’t 100% sure what the food options were going to be and I also figured if I then didn’t eat much later, at least I’d had a decent lunch.

In hindsight I should have went to get food first and then got ready. Poulsbo was a small place. Adorable? Absolutely but small so it isn’t somewhere that has a huge number of tourists, even then I expect most out-of-town folk are still from Washington State.

If my accent wasn’t already going to make me stand out, my outfit certainly did. It was a nice, family friendly establishment with what appeared to be a local crowd. I walked in suited up and instantly stood out.

I felt completely out of place and should have come here before getting ready but never mind. Better to be overdressed than underdressed, right?

I found myself a place to sit and had myself a decent lunch to fill my stomach before planning my journey to the venue.

I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult but it proved somewhat more challenging than it should have been. I figured a taxi would be easy enough to order but my phone in our hotel room seemed un-workable (I was probably just being an idiot), I asked reception who were equally unhelpful which gave me my first problem.

I eventually decided I’d just take the hit and use my mobile, any international charges would be minimal for the length of time to order a taxi? Voicemail! No response! Great!

For the first time I thought I’d use Uber and downloaded the app. It turns out, before you can use Uber you have to verify your phone and they’ll send you a code to help set up your account. There was no sign of that text ever coming through. I was at a dead end with both my options of getting to the venue!

Eventually a friend of the girls (Aidan) came to my rescue and volunteered to come pick me up! I really appreciated it, although Aidan was unwilling to accept any contribution from me towards the inconvenience I’d caused. We then stopped at a shop to pick up a couple of things on-route and was just as unwilling to allow me to buy those either. It was just a kind gesture with no expectations. It was also a good opportunity for me to chat with another guest at the wedding haha.

Soon enough we’d arrived at the venue. I say venue loosely. The ceremony itself was outdoors and the setting was in a small state park. It was beautiful! A location fit for such a wonderful occasion.

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Wedding party mingling and getting ready

The wedding party itself were all getting ready in a small wooden hut. We had another hut which was to be used as the wedding reception so with people still getting ready and other guests yet to arrive I just had a little look around and snapped a few photos.

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In addition to the natural surroundings we were also right by the water and it was nice, I felt a million miles away from the rest of the world.

A short while later it was time for the ceremony. I love a wedding, I can only encourage more of you to get married (and invite me!) so that I have more weddings to attend! Fortunately we had perfect weather for an outdoor ceremony and it was as beautiful and as perfect as you could hope for it to be.

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Such a pretty place for a wedding!

I know it’s cliche and all that but I say it with sincerity, Maddie and Cassie compliment eachother so perfectly and I couldn’t have been happier to have witnessed the start of this chapter in their lives.

I won’t fast-forward to the end of this trip, there’s still lots to come but at the end of the summer I felt humbled and privileged and happy and perhaps at no moment was that more the case than on this particular day.

The ceremony was lovely and I think after that I spent the rest of the day on a high that I can’t adequately describe in words. I felt so honoured to be here, so proud even. Even now, two years later, I feel warm and fuzzy thinking back to that day. It was a special occasion for two incredible people.

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The perfect couple!
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The cake couple!

Following the ceremony the wedding party moved down to a spot by the water to get some official photos, the rest of us ventured over to the hut where the reception was taking place. It was a cute place, nicely decorated and fitting for a celebration.

The rest of the day was bliss. I was introduced to a few people at various points, a handful of which I’d also met on previous trips to Washington, but inevitably I spent the bulk of my time with Haleigh which was also nice – our first wedding attended together.

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Maddie and Cassie!
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Me and Haleigh!

We danced, we (I) drank and most importantly we celebrated a wonderful couple and occasion. It was a lovely day and it was undoubtedly the highlight of this trip. I’m so grateful I got to experience it and it’s a day that I’ll always look back on fondly.

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The reception area
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Washington State – as pretty as ever!
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A wedding with a view!

Myself and Haleigh got some nice photos too which helped mark the occasion but eventually it reached a time for us to call it a day and sadly say our goodbyes. In the morning we’d be saying goodbye to Poulsbo and heading for Oregon.

Stay tuned for more on that!

Jason

P.S – If you haven’t been following the trip so far, you can catch up on the other days 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!