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On Being A Traveller


Apr
02

Ah, the curse of being a traveller: once you start you just can’t stop. I often wonder to myself how amazing life would be if I could be a nomad, travel around discovering new places, new foods, new people. I imagine that I would be known as ‘That Travelling Girl’, I would carry my possessions on my back, I would write about my experiences and live the perfect existence… and then I think about my comfortable double bed, my jingly-janglies that I always wear, and my love for pretty shoes… yeah. Maybe not. But it’s still nice to dream, no?

Some of you may know that the other week I disappeared to Copenhagen for the day to have lunch at the number one restaurant in the world, Noma. After such a huge trip around the world you may have wondered why I was still travelling and, even more importantly, why for only one day. You may have said, ‘but Jackie! You only just got home! Why can’t you be satisfied with home?!” Well, I’m sorry – I just couldn’t help it. Home is where my heart is and at heart? I’m a traveller.

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This Is The End, My Friends: New York


Mar
23

As I write this I’m sitting in my own bed in London, my clothes strewn across the floor, my bag unpacked but my trusty backpack still sitting next to me, as it did every single day of my travels. I’ve been back for a week and, despite the fact that it’s quite nice to be settled for a bit, I wish I was still travelling, still exploring and still meeting wonderful people across the globe. But I’m back, though ‘home’ I’m not sure if I could use.

I think people underestimate the power of travel and the feeling of freedom it brings. I took the trip to discover, to meet friends and to eat, I did all of those things and more, but I also took the trip to escape. I visited cities I have never known before, caught up with old friends, solidified friendships that have hitherto been solely based online, fell in love with people, with places, with ideas… and so yes. Yes it is a come-down to be back in a place where I do not – have never – felt that I belonged, but it’s also an opportunity for me to prepare myself for what may be many more Big Adventures, to recharge my batteries, and to wait for another chance to meet so many more friends and discover where it is in the world that I may call ‘home’.

This is the last post in my travel series from the Big Adventure. Thank you all so much for the friendship, the support, the laughter and the tears, the singing, the food – everything. It’s been wonderful.

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The Beginning Of The End: New Jersey


Mar
19

I really wanted to put New Jersey and New York into one last post, a nice little button-ending on my travel series, but I found when I was trying to pull it all together that there was far too much for just one.

You see, even though there were no food bloggers to meet up with in New Jersey, I was staying with my Uncle Ian and Aunt Wai, Momma Lee’s youngest brother and his wife. My Uncle Ian has always been the relative who would send crazy-awesome gifts in the post at Christmas, such as this past year, when he sent me a pair of socks that look like Lucha Libre wrestlers (they even have little arms and legs, they’re the coolest; yes, I realise my excitement over this is entirely juvenile, but it’s the simple things that excite me), and also, like all of my family, has quietly followed along with my adventures through the blog.

When I arrived he told me that though they had been thinking about where to take me to eat, as I was visiting them right at the end of my trip they couldn’t compete with the rest of the world, so they would just take me to their favourite places, or feed me “crap”, as my Uncle Ian put it. How silly, because you know what? I ate well, I ate heartily, and to be honest it was nice just to have a bit of a breather with family for a stint, catch-up and make stupid jokes (many of which were made, including an extended conversation about the Double Rainbow video/song, which then ended up in the sermon he delivered at his church that Sunday). In fact, I think I ate more in New Jersey than I had anywhere else on the trip: weird, right?

Thank you Uncle Ian & Aunt Wai!

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Mhm, I Loves Me Some Boston


Mar
13

It has taken me a ridiculously long time to write this post up – I guess it’s because I’ve been having far too much fun running around. But Boston was wonderful, and even better than the city was my fantastic host, the amazing Brian, who not only gave me a comfortable bed to sleep in but also pulled out all the stops for food (he made me lobster on my first night!), and kept me entertained with his list of Boston must-dos. I also met up with Jen for a quick coffee and a bite, which, though brief, was equally fabulous. Come to my side of the world soon, Jen!

As with everywhere else, it was a short trip, but it was full of fun, food and friends, and that’s the most important part, right? Oh, and we also did a little video, because we’re awesome like that. Thanks Brian – you are such a superstar!

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Welcome Ta Chicahgo


Mar
06

Oh how I wish I’d planned to spend more time in Chicago. I’m not sure why I thought a day and a bit would be enough (I arrived in the afternoon on the 1st, had the 2nd to play, then left on the morning of the 3rd: error) because it wasn’t! Not at all! There was so much to see and do, so many to play with, so much to eat, and yet I only gave myself that weenie amount of time. Oy-vey. I didn’t try an Italian beef sub, I didn’t even get deep-dish (or stuffed) pizza; what a disaster!

However, it’s not all a loss because I can always return, and after meeting the wonderful Alice, Mara and Mike, I know I have plenty of good company in town too! And although I didn’t get to try “typical” Chicago fare, I did have the best meal of my life when I was there, a meal that I would happily get on a plane and return for, in fact that I would specifically travel to Chicago just to have again. If that’s not a reason to love the Windy City then I don’t know what is. Thanks to Alice, Mara & Mike, and, of course, my baby cousin Lorraine, for the food, the fun and the complete awesomeness. You guys were the best!

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This Hurr’s Texas – YEEHAW!


Mar
04

When I was packing for this trip I wasn’t sure what I should bring with me. It was going to be Spring-like in Hong Kong (it was actually pretty cold), Summer in Australia (steaming hot), cold in the Pacific North West (remarkably not that cold, I had good weather), warm on the West Coast (San Diego love!), and freezing as I went further towards the East Coast. What I didn’t really account for, however, is the fact that Texas pretty much has summer the whole year round. As I left San Diego I packed all of my summer items at the bottom of my suitcase, threw all my jumpers on top and headed to Austin. What a mistake. As soon as I touched down in Texas all I felt around me was intense sunshine and humidity, and what was I wearing? Far too much.

As I waited for Megan at the airport, I started pulling off clothes and stuffing them into my bag, trying to get over just how oppressively hot I felt, much to the amusement of the other travellers around me. Well, these things happen! So here’s my tip to you: if you’re travelling to Texas, regardless of the time of year, it’s hot: don’t wear too much clothing. But, once I’d figured out the clothing situation, I had a great week between Austin and San Antonio, with two fantastic friends: Megan and Andres. You guys were the best – awesome hosts, super fun and made me feel right at home. Thank you both so much! If you head into Texas hit these two up: they know where the hot spots in town are!

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Stay Classy, San Diego


Feb
27


Photo credit: Ashley Jeanson.

You know the saying, ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’? It’s all about making the best of a bad situation, turning it around into your favour and enjoying yourself. Well I’ve got a new saying: ‘when your birthday comes around, grab a good friend and get your ass down to San Diego’.

I’ve had my birthday once before whilst in America (Portland, obviously) but I’ve never had a birthday like this. It practically lasted for three days, it was crazy, it was fun, it was awesome, and San Diego? San Diego is incredible. When I was planning my trip I deliberately chose to be in town for my birthday because my very good friend Ashley lives there (or at least does at the moment because she’s about to up sticks and move to Turkey for a year! Super brave girl and I am incredibly proud of her for following her dream!). I was worried that we were going to miss each other, but she, being the rockstar that she is, not only made sure she didn’t leave for Turkey until after I had left, she also totally took me around town, introduced me to her lovely friends, and made my 24th birthday one of my best.

Ashley calls me her ‘Oven GF’ because of my passion for food, but the story of how we met is kind of brilliant. Y’see, when I was living in Portland I was writing a blog for my friends and family back home, all about being a Brit living in America, and Ashley found me randomly. We became “Blog Buddies”, then when she came to London two summers ago I insisted that she come and stay with me. One night out at my favourite bar in Convent Garden where Ashley told the bartender that we were a) not lesbians but she was buying me a drink, b) I wasn’t a prostitute, either and c) that despite those things we did meet on the internet; and our love was solidified. Ever since, though we rarely see one another, we have been great friends. I was so excited to hang out with again, see her city, and also spend my birthday with some awesome people. And wow, if you need somebody to help pack as much stuff as possible in a city into three days: call Ashley. She’s on it.

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Anybody Seen My Heart?


Feb
24

As I write this post I’ve got Tony Bennett crooning in the background, reminding me of all of the things I loved about San Francisco… well. Maybe not the hills. Those are some intense hills – when Ben parked uphill on one particularly steep one I was convinced we were going to roll backwards, then nearly fell over getting out of the car.

I definitely didn’t get enough time in San Francisco proper, but I did get one and a half fabulous days with some amazing people who showed me the sights, the sounds and the tastes – oh, so many tastes – of San Francisco. I even made it over to one of Thomas Keller’s establishments in Yountville, which was a surprise. Who’d have thunk T. Keller’s joints were so nearby? Not me, but I’m pretty geographically challenged and thought Napa was much further than it actually was! Thanks San Fran and the surrounding Bay Area – I’m coming back to have a little more fun with you soon.

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This Is Portlandia


Feb
19


Biker! Biker rights! BIKER!

Ah Portland. Home to my heart. If I’ve been fairly absent this past week it’s because I love this city too much, love my friends who are always only a phone call or text message away from good times, love the new faces I meet, the food I fill my belly with, the crazy wonderful awesome Portlanders that make this town, perhaps, my favourite in the world. So I’m sure you’ll forgive my temporary silence and come with me on a journey through the wonderful world of Portlandia – you should try ‘er out some time; she’ll welcome you with open arms, too.

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Blowin’ It Up, Seattle Style


Feb
17

Can you believe that when I was living in Portland I actually never made it up to Seattle? It’s all because I was being a “hard-working” student, getting stuck into books and 20-page papers, and clearly having far too much fun. Well I knew this had to be remedied, especially when I found out that one of the craziest, most talented and creative people I knew was based there, somebody I knew I simply had to meet this trip. Messages were exchanged, transport was booked and on a slightly grey Valentine’s Day in Portland off I went to Seattle to visit the ever wonderful, beautiful and totally insane Linda from Salty Seattle!

We only had one day together to play thanks to crazy trip schedules, so we had to make it a good one. That can only mean one thing: it’s video time, baby! Cue much eating, fun and how Linda found me my One True Love in Amurika! But first let’s see what we managed to cram into my one day in Seattle…

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