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Adventure Travel

Four Jandals ABC’s of Travel

A journey to the past to look back on our travels from our brief time on this beautiful planet we all call home.



Toronto Skyline Four Jandals

We were recently tagged by the hilarious Lucy from On the Luce and D.J. from the World of Deej in the Travel Blogger’s “A to Z of Travel” meme that has been doing the rounds on the interweb for the last few months. We thought it would be a great chance to look back at not only our last 2 and a half years of travel as a couple but also our travels individually.

All of the questions were pre-picked so grab a cup of coffee / tea / juice sipper and sit back and join us on our journey into the past…

A: Age you went on your first international trip:

Cole – Does it count if I was in my Mum’s tummy when she travelled to Canada? If not then probably when I was a few years old to hop across the ditch to Surfer’s Paradise with the family. Went back several times and always loved the beach, weather and theme parks.

Adela – Not sure if this is the first trip but it is certainly the first one I remember. We went on a family trip to Noumea and I think I was about Seven. Having the luck that my family does it rained every day! And me being the bossy/naughty kid I was, I ran off from Mum and Dad when we were in town. Needless to say I was on a very short leash for the rest of the trip!

Toronto Skyline Four Jandals

Travelling as a couple on our extended Round The World trip

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:

Cole – Tough call but having a cold Bintang in Jimbaran Bay, Bali, always springs to mind when thinking about tasty beers. I think it’s more about the setting rather than the beer!

Adela – Singa beer in Thailand. I agree with Cole its all about the setting. Drinking in an outdoor bar right on the beach is pretty damn good!

C: Cuisine (favorite):

Cole – Since it’s about travel it has to be France apart from when I ordered just a plate full of beans for Adela with my hopeless grasp of the French language. Otherwise BBQ’s in New Zealand win hands down.

Adela – Italian! I could eat pasta every day!

D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:

Cole – Favourite to date would be Jasper National Park because of it’s beauty. Least favourite would be Marrakech after kissing a snake and getting the runs for 2 weeks.

Adela – Favourite; Munich is an awesome city. The buildings are beautiful, especially the glockenspiel. The feel of the place is awesome with beer gardens and awesome food markets. Least favourite; London is just too big for me!

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:

Cole – Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.

Pyramids of Giza in Cairo Egypt

Adela – Going to the “Edge of the World” in Jasper National Park.

F: Favorite mode of transportation:

Cole – Bicycling anywhere whether it is Mountain Biking in Scotland or cruising in Paris.

Adela – I definitely agree with Cole unless snowboarding counts?

G: Greatest feeling while traveling:

Cole – The freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Adela – Seeing places that you have dreamed of and saved for months then turning those into memories that you will treasure forever.

Lake Annette Jasper National Park

Living the Dream

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to:

Cole – Definitely not Scotland! But I would say Marrakech was fairly hot and we were only there in the off-peak season.

Adela – Probably Thailand. Lots of afternoon naps required.

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:

Cole – Always staying with friends and family when we travel. It is so nice to have a “local” show you around an area and cook a nice home cooked meal when you are on the road. Beats 5 stars every time (but that’s because we never stay in 5 star places haha).

Adela – I am goingto be cheesy and say we had some damn good service in Canada but then their motive is getting a tip. So its not really genuine good service haha.

J: Journey that took the longest:

Cole – We had to rush back home to New Zealand from Scotland when a loved one was sick. Not only was it the longest trip in terms of time, 37 hours, but it was also hard not knowing if we would make it in time.

Adela – Journeys that feel the longest are the ones where you get delayed. If you do get delayed use a company like Flight Delay Claims 4 U as you will not be ready for the time you have to spend in the airport otherwise! On the way back from Egypt we sat on the runway in Amsterdam for an hour and didn’t take off before spending a further few hours in the airport. Not fun.

K: Keepsake from your travels:

Cole – Photographs and this travel blog are our only ones at the moment. I did use to collect nail clippers until they started restricting them on flights!

Adela – Badges that I sew on my backpack. Except my backpack broke so now I am just adding to the pile of badges under my bed.

L: Let-down sight, why and where:

Cole and Adela – The Mona Lisa. Its smaller than we pictured it and you have to fight your way to get a spot to actually see it. In fact the whole of the Louvre was pretty boring. Have been to wayyy better museums elsewhere.

The Louvre

The Louvre – Big time boring

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel:

Cole – I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love travel. It was always just one giant adventure as a kid and when solo travelling and now with a partner it is completely different again.

Adela – I used to browse through travel brochures as a kid. Probably a sign I was always addicted to travel.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:

Cole – No places immediately jump out at me. I guess I am too much of a cheap-ass to afford a nice place.

Adela – Kata Beach Hotel in Thailand. Right on the beach, amazing pool and great value for money.

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:

Cole – Landscapes. Nothing beats Mother Nature. I just hate that my pictures never look as good as the human eye but I am getting better.

Adela – Capturing the locals in their daily lives.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?:

Cole – Wow I had no idea how many Countries I have been to (with an overnight stay) until now! So make that 18 countries with at least another 2 to be added over the next couple of months.

Adela – No one will stamp my British passport as I am part of the EU which sucks!

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:

Cole – Drumheller in Canada where they have the world’s largest T-Rex statue.

Adela – There is a bridge in Paris where people stick locks on to show there love for their partner. There are so many on there its crazy!

Drumheller Dinosaur Park T Rex

Drumheller Dinosaur Park in Alberta, Canada

R: Recommended sight, event or experience:

Cole – Oktoberfest was a highlight from last year although I cannot remember a fair chunk of it…

Adela – Snowboarding in the Canadian Rockies.

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:

Cole – We are stingy when we travel and hate forking out for a cup of coffee to warm our freezing hands. But for the sake of a good night sleep we usually stay away from hostel dorms unless sharing with friends.

Adela – Fruit. Its really lame but I have to eat healthy even when I am away. Gotta keep up the 5 plus a day.

T: Touristy thing you’ve done:

Cole – Funny and stupid touristy photos wins whether it is in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids. We nearly even won free travel trip through our stupid photos!

Adela – I felt the most touristy on the tour in Egypt. On the bus, off the bus, on the bus, off the bus. But a tour is the best way to go as its safer and you know you are not getting scammed for your money as you have a local guide.

U: Unforgettable travel memory:

Cole – Every time we travel it is unforgettable. I love waking up in different countries.

Adela – Sailing around New York Harbour watching the sunset over an incredible skyline.

New York Harbour Sunset Statue of Liberty Cruise

V: Visas, how many and for where?:

Cole – My first visa was for 5 months to work at Mammoth Mountain, California for a winter in 2006. Then Jasper to work at Marmot Basin Ski Area and as a White Water Rafting Guide in Canada for a year in 2009/2010. Now we are living it up in Scotland and have been here for just over a year now. Looking to extend that before heading to Asia to teach English in the not to distant future.

Adela – Canada for a year but it was not long enough! Plus I am one of the lucky ones who has a british passport 🙂

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?:

Cole and Adela – We are not really wino’s unless it is at a BYO somewhere and then it is always the cheapest from the local supermarket.

X: eXcellent view and from where?:

Cole and Adela – Sshhhh, it’s a secret spot in Jasper called “Edge of the World”.

Edge of the World in Jasper

Y: Years spent traveling?:

Cole – If we just take our current trip in to consideration then 2 and a half years so far. I would say we are about halfway at the moment!

Adela – 26? travel with mum and dad, with sport, with friends and now with Cole. Enjoyed every bit of it.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?:

Cole – Kiwi’s are proud supporters anywhere the All Blacks play even though we act all staunch but we have nothing on Europeans and their fanatical watching of football.

Adela – I  realy like the tennis especially Nadal 🙂 Sorry Cole hahaha.

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  1. Neil

    March 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Love the T-Rex pic, but that last one of your secret spot in Jasper is unreal.

    Fun read guys, thanks.

    • Cole

      March 1, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      Cheers Neil! We love taking stupid photos haha

  2. Jessica

    January 28, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Love this, will have to do a post like this one day! ( If thats ok!)

    I just started a travel blog, and am very new to this all. Feel free to take a look at my blog- any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 29, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      Would love it if you did a post like this! This one was a series of posts that went around to lots of bloggers at the time so feel free to link to any posts 😀

      I love the simpleness of your blog! Would just recommend buying the full domain so you don’t have to use the blogspot one 🙂 Also check out the Facebook groups (if you haven’t already) called “Global Bloggers Network” and “The Business of Blogging”. Just request to join!

  3. Hannah @ Getting Stamped

    February 23, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    I love this! Super fun idea! We hope to make it to Octoberfest on our upcoming RTW trip! Also would love it if you could check out our blog and give us any suggestions for changes, how to get more followers, etc.

    Thanks again!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      Thanks for dropping by the blog! The key is to just keep writing for yourselves Hannah 🙂 The followers and everything else unfortunately just takes time to grow. There is definitely no set way to make it happen immediately!

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Adventure Travel

4 Ways to Sleep in the Outdoors Without a Tent



Is there anything more enjoyable than spending a night under the stars? Ok, spending a night with Chris Hemsworth, perhaps. But apart from that, getting back to nature and laying out under the cool night air must be one of the last true pleasures available to all of us.

But what happens if you love camping but hate tents? All those annoying poles, pesky pegs and flapping fabric are quite frankly too much to take sometimes.

Well don’t despair my friend, there are many ways you can get your fix of al fresco snoozing without having to resort to the cocooning yourself in canvas. Read on below and we will lay out 4 amazing ways you can get your sleep on without a tent to be seen…

Swinging in a hammock

We love hammocks. All hammocks are great. Well, maybe not banana hammocks but all hammocks that you can swing in are! They are so much smaller and more lightweight to carry than a boring old tent. You don’t need to find a piece of flat ground to pitch them on. All you need are two well placed trees and you are good to go.

What’s more there is just something so romantic about sleeping in a hammock. Come on, nothing sings relaxation more than the gentle sway of hammock. Remember to bring your cowboy hat to tilt over your eyes!

On a lilo/air bed/camping mattress

This one also refers to anything from a cheap air bed to an expensive camping mattress. Basically I mean the thing you would hunker down on normally when sleeping inside a tent, only get rid off the tent part. It’s not necessary.

Take some deep breaths and blow up your airbed or roll out your fancy self-inflating termo-rest and you are good to go. While you obviously aren’t as protected as you are inside the impenetrable nylon fortress of a tent, the joy of leaving the pegs and poles at home and just sleeping outside are well worth the added risk of being chewed on by a curious beetle.

A good addition when adopting this method could be one of those handy pop up mosquito nets you can get. Or if you want to travel as light as possible, arming yourself with a sleeping bag with a built in mosquito net for the face hole is a top idea.

The biggest downside of sleeping on an air-based mattress is the risk that the air may not stay where it should for the entire night. Do yourself a favour, read this article and learn a life skill that could mean the difference between a beautiful night’s sleep and hours of cursing at the moon – like some kind of deranged foulmouthed werewolf!

In a bivvy bag

Some of you out there may be thinking…”what the frick is a bivvy bag!?”. Well if you picture one of those body bags you’ve seen on CSI then you are getting close. Bivvy bags were originally designed for the armed forces as a way to give them a little protection from the elements at night when they are out sneaking up on enemies and the like.

Basically it is lightweight bag that you slide yourself into, either with or without or sleeping bag depending on the temperature. The bivvy will protect you from the harshness of the wind and rain and allow you to be as close to nature as can be. You will be fully encased apart from a small opening for your face to poke out.

Think of it as a tiny streamlined tent just for you body.  

The benefits of a bivvy, aside their size, are that they give you an almost invisible profile. Meaning that you can settle down almost anywhere in the landscape and the chances of you being spotted while you snooze are close to zero. Perfect when you don’t want anyone to interrupt your holy communion with Mother Nature.   

In your car

Cruising along the open road with your mates in the back, the windows down and tunes turned up is one of the best feelings many of us will experience. It is the closest most of us come to living the life we see in the movies and magazines.

What then could be less hassle than finding a beautiful spot overlooking the bay, having a few bevvies and then stretching out to sleep in back? Then repeating the whole process again tomorrow, then the next day, then the next.

Word of warning: Excessive sleeping in cars may not be the best idea for the taller ones amongst you, Back Seat Back is a debilitating condition that affects many of my closest buddies.

Final Thoughts

Sleeping in the fresh air is often pure bliss but obviously choose your night wisely. Check the weather and always be aware of the dangers, big and small. The benefits of all the above suggestions is their simplicity, the downside is once you remove the tent there isn’t much protection between you and the beasties. My top tip, take a mozzie net or get yourself a good spray, or else you’d better prepare for some a little itchy, itchy, itchy, scratchy, scratchy, scratchy in the morning!   

Happy tent-free camping my good friends!

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Adventure Travel

The Outback Planner- How to Get Ready For an Australian Adventure



Australia has some beautiful outback scenery, and exploring this scenery is an experience everyone who travels to, or lives in, Australia should have. Hiking through raw, untamed bush not only gives your body a healthy workout, but also gives you access to some of the best, hidden viewing spots for wildlife and scenery.

Of course, you can’t just hop in your car and drive to the nearest national park to stomp out into the bush, there are things you need to prepare for. Every year, inexperienced hikers get lost out in the national parks and bushlands of Australia, in every state, and some of them even die while trying to make their way back to civilization.

It’s a dangerous country when you take into account the wildlife, the unexpected landslides, the steep cliffs and the complexity of the landscape, which makes it easy to get lost in. To help you get ready properly for your Australian adventure, we have put together a short guide.

Find a Location

First and foremost is the importance of finding a location to explore. There are plenty of national parks with cleared paths to take around, and heaps of hiking trails all throughout each state. The more toward the coasts you travel, the more coastal wildlife and plantlife you’ll see in your travels, and cooler temperatures means more lush, forest-like greenery.

If you head inland, be ready for drier climates and more wide open tracts of land, especially in areas divided up for farmland. Remember, national parks are great places to safely explore, but straying into a farmer’s property is illegal and should be avoided at all costs.

Gear Up

Once you’ve got your location, it’s time to get yourself geared up. Longer trips out into the wilds of Australia will require more supplies and more gear. So, if it’s a day trip, remember to pack lightly and bring high energy food, protein of some sort, plenty of water, and some sort of map of the park, if there’s one available.

For longer trips, like a weekend away of a week of camping, you’ll obviously need more food, lots more water, and other supplies like a tent, towels, a secondary pair of shoes and socks, a few changes of clothes, an axe for chopping wood, a high quality LED torch, and some bedding. These supplies will help you stay alive and in good shape while you trudge through the vast outback.

Check The Essentials

Before you set off on your adventure, it is important that you check the essentials. Things like: what will the weather be like while you’re out there, what are the dangers associated with the location you’ve chosen, what wildlife is hazardous in the area you’ve picked and how to avoid it. These things are all elements that can threaten your life, so learning about them and being aware of what to do in these situations is vital to your survival. Check how many people get lost in this area every year too, and if the number is high, bring a GPS locator as an emergency backup plan in case things go awry.

These tips can help keep you alive, strong, and happy while exploring the beautiful, expansive areas that Australia has to offer. Take in the gorgeous scenery, spot some strange and exciting animals, and most importantly, stay safe.

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Adventure Travel

From Rock To Reef: Some of the Ways To See Australia



The number of tourists choosing Australia as a vacation destination is rising and rising. And in many ways, it is easy to see why. The climate is good pretty much all year round, and the country is vast, meaning many things to see and do. There are more airlines that are flying to Australia from more cities and countries, making it simpler for everyone to get there. So really, the numbers are likely to just keep on rising.

In such a huge country, though, where do you start planning your trip? It can be easy to get a little carried away and be a little over-ambitious with your planning. But it can mean that you don’t get to enjoy some things for as long as you’d want, or can mean too much time on other things; you simply can’t know what you’ll enjoy until you get there. There are plenty of organised tours that you could join in on, as well as arrange your own.

Organised tours will have some benefits, in that they are professionally organised, so it usually means a tight schedule with minimum time spent on internal transfers or transport. But the downside can be that you have to stick to their schedule, and you might not get to explore as much as you may want to. So you do have to think about what you want to get out of the vacation; seeing things, or experiencing things.

There are many great regions and cities to explore too. So staying put in one place could be your preference instead perhaps? With breathtaking beauty to experience, as well as activities and sightseeing, there are many choices. Being able to pack in a whole tour of the country does pose difficulties too. Take the weather, for instance. Summer on the south of the country (December to March) is known for its reliable warm and sunny weather. Whereas at the same time, it can be way more humid during those months, and it better experienced from May to October before the humidity gets too much. So plenty of things to be thinking about. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to see the country, whether arranged by yourself or as part of an organised tour. What would you prefer?

Do It Yourself

If you like to explore within your own bounds, then planning your own trip could be the best for you. It will take some planning, though, so give yourself plenty of time. A good way to do it could be to hire a car and then use something like PMX Campers caravans as they can travel with you. At least you don’t have to think about accommodation every night, just a campsite to pitch up at. Having some local knowledge is really key too, as there may be some insects and creatures that you’re not too sure about, especially if you’ve not visited before. So make sure that you have emergency numbers to hand, and don’t ever head out alone. Stick in a couple or a group and it will make the trip much easier.

Great Australian Adventure

If an organised tour is more of your thing, and a long one at that, then the Great Australian Adventure tour could be for you. At twenty-one days long, it is not for the faint-hearted, with the tor starting out with a trip around the harbor in Sydney, so that you get some pretty epic views of the classic Sydney sights (Opera House and Harbour Bridge). It also includes Ayers Rock, Cairns to go snorkelling in the great barrier reef, a stay in Melbourne, wine tasting in the Yarra Valley, and visiting Tasmania’s capital. As you can imagine, it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, but for what you get, including all of your flights and transfers, it can be a good deal if you wanted to see all of those things anyway.

Western Australia Best of the Coast


If you want to see a part of Australia that is a little less developed and more rugged than the south or east, then the Western coast could be the spot for you to visit. It is known for its seafood and surfing, not to mention the stunning sandy beaches. You could get a ten-day tour that explores the scenic region between Exmouth and Perth, as well as the National Parks in that area, the beaches, and canoe tours. You’re likely to see dolphins and whale sharks on this expedition, so great for animal lovers and explorers.


Venturing out onto the largely uninhabited island of Tasmania is often part of this part of the world that gets forgotten about. But the location, just off the coast of Australia can make it a destination all by itself. If you are planning your own trip, then it could just involve a flight or boat trip, depending where you are coming to it from. But there are organised tours, like Perfectly Tasmania, where you can enjoy a twelve-day tour of the island. It involves cruise, hikes, national parks, and a trip to a private distillery, and a former prison. So good if you want to learn a little more about the island and its history.

Highlights of Australia

If you have got children or teenagers, then a more classic Australian trip could be for you. I mean, what is a trip to Australia without seeing kangaroos or koalas, am I right? The Highlights of Australia tour involves a few flights internally, which can be a good with children, rather than endless hours in cars or on buses. But you’ll get to see the classic sights in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, as well as the Great Barrier Reef, Ayres Rock, and the Yarra Valley. There will be tours and visits to National Parks and animal reserves, so there is something for all of the family.

Have you been to Australia before and taken part in a tour? Or did you plan your own itinerary? It would be great to hear what you think.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...