I realised I would struggle to pay the money back when I returned, but, for once, I didn't let a financial burden weigh me down and hinder my decision to go. In March 2009 a friend, aged just 32, lost his life in a scuba-diving accident, and I regret never making the trip to Seattle to visit him. He was a talented graffiti artist and one person who always had words of encouragement when it came to visual arts - someone who always spoke with positivity and had plenty of energy and humour to share.
The loss of Jacob was enough of a kick up the backside to motivate me to live life a little, because you just never know when (to put it bluntly) time is up. It was a great three weeks, partly because I got to see great cities, stunning coastlines and architectural icons that left me in awe (Golden Gate bridge & Chrysler Building), but more importantly I got to meet new people and catch up with people I hadn't seen in quite some time (the wonders of Facebook!): a talented illustrator from Seattle I know only from being online, a high-school colleague after 10 years without contact, the funnest girl I ever met after not seeing each other in 12 years, and an old friend I haven't seen in 21 years!
The following images serve as reminders to me that if you want to see somewhere, go and see it - while you have the ability to do so, and while they're still there.
Thank you to Chris, Chuck, Jill, Ian, Kerry and Jen for the memories.