During lockdown, we were thrilled to be able to keep in touch with our DA Family online. We talked on our Facebook page daily, we reminisced and shared pictures. People told us their stories, and one of those standout stories was when Victoria told us about how she met her soon-to-be Husband on our Everest Base Camp trip back in 2018.
Now married, we contacted them and wanted to share their story with you as a part of our #ThankYou2020 advent countdown. We hope it brings you some warm and fuzzies on this cold December day!
Jason and Victoria answered our questions separately, and we think you'll agree after reading this, they're a great match.
You both headed to Everest Base Camp with DA in 2018. We'd love to know more about your trip?
Jason: This was my 4th trip with DA. I always find the first day exciting, meeting up with the group and talking about challenges done previously. It's a highlight to do an adventure with complete strangers, and in this case to get to Everest base camp. When you see Everest in the distance for the first time is a real WOW moment! When you get to the foot of Everest, it makes the dust and lack of sleep worth every second. I ended up with the flu on the way down, so this completely knocked me out. I was nodding off in between food breaks! Obviously, spending time with Victoria was a highlight.
Victoria: The trip was amazing! Hard though, but it's not a challenge if it isn't. The scenery and the people for me were the highlights! Every day you would see something incredible that would take your breath away. In moments where you might be struggling a little or losing momentum, there was always someone there to help you back up again and get you back on track. I struggled a bit with nausea and was even sick at one point. My energy levels were dropping, but everyone around me was so lovely they got me back up and moving again! I wouldn't have done it without everyone there. It was a team effort for me. I think there must have been another highlight, but I'm struggling to think... Oh yes, the shower at the end! Hahaha no obviously meeting Jason!
What made you want to tackle this challenge in the first place?
Victoria: I was in the foyer at the Ariana Grande concert in 2017, and 6 months later I lost my mum to cancer. During all the therapy sessions and everyone that spoke to me, they said the road to healing is like climbing a mountain. I always used to reply saying I bet climbing a mountain is easier! So, I booked onto Everest, I suppose to prove my point, but also to try focus on something other than the hurt. It was something I had wanted to do but never really came into my head until this point. I had done the coast to coast bike ride and London to Paris with you already so knew you were the guys to get me there. A charity called The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation was a massive part of my healing process. They helped me immensely, so I raised money for them. They help victims and survivors of terrorist attacks, by helping with the little things like sorting doctors appointments or getting in touch with counselling services local to you. I did other mini-challenges, raffles, auctions and two black-tie balls to help raise money for them and I managed to raise just under £10,500.
Jason: I do challenges every year, and I was talking to someone on the London to Paris trip back in 2016 who had done Everest Base Camp. I'd said I had already done Kilimanjaro, and that's higher! Why would I do Everest Base Camp? She said I have to do it as the scenery is unbelievable. I had nothing planned for 2018 so, Everest Base Camp it was!
Lots of people form lifelong friendships on our trips but fewer fall in love! Tell us about how you got to know each other on the trip?
Jason: We set off on this trip not knowing each other. We accomplished Everest Base Camp, and the first night back in Lukla we played pool and I teamed up with Victoria. How we nearly won that first game, I have no idea! We spent most of the time laughing at 2860m. The second day the flight was cancelled to Kathmandu, so that night we played pool with our own playlists in a bar, chatted a lot and got kicked out at 9.30 pm. Somehow we were locked out of the hotel! We got locked out of the Katmandu hotel on the last night too. I wonder how many more times I can get locked out of hotels with Victoria!
Victoria: There were people on our trip that had met on other trips, and we loved hearing all the stories. I had a bad night where I tried to quit, and I was really rude to a lot of people. Eventually, I rang my friend (over wifi – yes there is wifi on Everest!!) She told me to stop being a wuss and get on with it as I didn't sound like the person she knew. I went back down to the dining room and sat next to Jason and talked and talked and talked. I pretty much told him every bad thing about me and what had happened and had a two-hour counselling session! He just kept talking to me and making me laugh. After that, I didn't really speak to him much until we got back Lukla. We all went out for drinks and to play pool after dinner, and I honestly haven't laughed that much in a long time - We were so bad at pool! I taught him to salsa, and I remember telling him how hard it is to pee when your drunk on a squat toilet! The next night our flights were cancelled, and we went out to play pool again. We got locked out of the hotel, and again we laughed and talked all night, it was lovely! When we got back to Kathmandu, we all went out for the farewell dinner and then Jason and I went out for a drink afterwards. Once again, we got locked out of the hotel - Who locks a hotel at 9pm??! When we managed to get back in, there were a few more of our group drinking, we stayed up with them and then he walked me to my room. I stayed on for the safari, Jason was going home the next day, and I was really sad. I sent him a massive text when I got to my next destination, and it seemed like forever before he replied! I remember texting my sister and friends too saying "I think I've met someone!"
How exciting - and what a lovely way to end your trip. How did you keep in touch, post-trip? You live a little way away from each other, that must have been hard!
Victoria: I got back home 5 days later, and we had been texting the whole time. Then Jason said right I'm coming up! He lived in Devon, and I'm in Leeds! He got the coach which took 12 hours through the night to come to see me just for the weekend. It was sad when he had to go home. I quickly booked my trip down to Devon. On that occasion, I arrived 2 hours earlier than planned and surprised him at work! We did that a few times before he decided to move up North.
Jason: Victoria carried on with the excursion after Everest Base Camp. I think I realised my feelings when I was hugging her in the morning before we departed. We messaged each other, and I decided to visit Leeds a couple weeks after. I didn't have a car, so I set off on a coach at midnight from Devon - it took 12 hours! Victoria also visited me in Devon, and a couple of months later, I moved to Yorkshire!
We love reading this - that's one way to keep a long-distance relationship alive!
2020 has been a weird year, it goes without saying. How has your 2020 been?
Jason: For a lot of people, it has been a really tough year. We got married in September and went on a mini-moon to the Cotswolds. My parents have made a move to Yorkshire too! 2020 has been very memorable for us, in a good way.
Victoria: Obviously, It has been sad for a lot of people, for a multitude of reasons, but ours has been lovely. It would have been better if we could have had the wedding we'd planned with everyone we wanted there, but it still happened! We have settled into married life nicely. The other positive is that it also sparked his parents to decide to move closer to us, so they are now 20 mins away.
Massive congratulations from Team DA on the wedding! Tell us about it… Were there any nods to how you met included in your day?
Victoria: We met on a mountain, he proposed in a beach hut by the sea, so he wanted a country wedding to round it off (although we had a beach-themed cake with a beach hut!) We had our photos from Everest and some prayer flags, but it was mainly country-themed – it was just right!
We were meant to get married in May initially, but obviously, due to covid, we had to cancel. Then it was a waiting game to see if we could do it this year or not. In the end, it was a socially distanced wedding with masks, and the favours even included alcohol gel! We were only allowed 30 guests, and sadly, my sister in Dubai couldn't travel, but we went ahead with it.
On the original date, we had a special day! We spent the night before in separate rooms and got ready separately. I came downstairs, and Jason had set out our cherry blossom trees to make an aisle and had our song playing. He had even put the bow ties on the dogs for groomsmen! He then read me a poem he had written for me. I cried more on that day then on the actual wedding day it was so lovely!
Have you had many more adventures together since Everest Base Camp?
Jason: We feel like we have known each other for decades and can't complain! Due to lockdown this year we have been restricted, but Japan is booked for March 2021. There are plenty more adventures ahead with my life long travel partner!
Victoria: We have been quite dull since we met! We've just travelled a lot locally and were going to see his parents in Devon as much as we could. We hope our honeymoon to Japan in march is still going to go ahead too!
Will we be seeing you on any DA challenges soon?
Victoria: We have booked your day walk from Salisbury to Stonehenge, which we are looking forward to! I would love to do Kili, but Jason has been there done that! We are trying to find a big one we can do together – now the wedding is out of the way we might have a bit more money – I'm thinking Patagonia!
Jason: We are booked for the Stonehenge marathon walk in May, and this would be our first challenge as a married couple. We are also thinking of Patagonia with Discover Adventure at a later date.
A big thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us and adding some much needed love and romance to 2020!