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Facing my Fears – Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava, Spain

I’m not a huge fan of heights & when I was given the chance to face my fears while hot air ballooning in Costa Brava, Spain, I was a little apprehensive.

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Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

“Everyone holding on tight?”

“Brace! Brace! Brace!”

Not really the words I wanted to be coming out of our hot air balloon pilots mouth as we descended towards earth.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

Even though I have always wanted to go hot air ballooning, I have not pushed it. You see, while Adela is not a fan of being underground, I hate being above ground. High above ground that is.

I don’t do heights very well.

So how did I find myself on a crystal clear summer morning above the stunning Costa Brava coastline? Being told to “brace” as we descended towards a tiny clearing between trees and cornfields?

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava, Spain

Rising before dawn is usually not a problem for me. I love sunrises. Even being told we have an awesome travel adventure high up in the sky doesn’t faze me this early.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

It is not until we are actually watching the balloons be filled with scorching flames that I begin to worry a little bit. How is a little bit of hot air meant to hold 10 full-grown adults up 1,000 meters in the sky? Not to mention 10 adults that have been gorging themselves silly on food and drink for the past week.

Climbing into what can only be described as a fruit basket for humans, I begin snapping away with my camera to avoid looking anyone else in the eyes in case they see my fear.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

Pulling my eye from the viewfinder I quickly realise we have already drifted several hundred meters above the ground. I was so pre-occupied that I didn’t even notice how gently we had taken off.

Maybe it has something to do with the sunrise peaking its blazing head above the Costa Brava skyline. Or the tight space we have managed to all squeeze ourselves into. Or maybe it is the extreme stillness and quiet between bursts of flame.

I realise it is not that bad up here. I am even breathing normally and able to look over the edge of the basket.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

Okay, maybe not such a good idea.

But I am able to gaze into the distance towards the Pyrenees and across the stunning Costa Brava landscape. Farmland and Medieval towns drift silently below our feet. People go about their daily lives without even realising we are drifting above them.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

In fact, it is not until we are starting to descend that the irrational fear begins to take hold again.

Our Spanish speaking pilot is gesticulating to our guide and interrupter that we are all meant to be doing something important. They both give nervous laughs before falling silent again.

Okay now would be the perfect opportunity to have finally learnt a second language like I promised myself at the beginning of the year.

Turns out that since we basically have no steering ability we are at the winds mercy. And with the coastline rapidly approaching it is time to take this contraption down to earth.

“Brace! Brace! Brace!”

Eyeing up the only clear patch of earth within a mile, our pilot is all business. The trees and houses that looked like miniature toys just a moment ago suddenly loom large directly in front of us.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

Instead of gently floating down in replication of our takeoff, we are drifting along quite quickly thanks to the wind picking up speed in the last 10 minutes.

My knuckles turn white as we brace our knees and back against the flimsy wicker basket.

And even though the command to brace is just a pre-caution, we still manage to bounce hard 3 times before settling down. A laugh escapes my lips as the tension eases from my muscles. And from the looks on the others faces, I am not the only one to be relieved we are back on solid earth again.

I had done it. I had conquered my fear.

Hot Air Ballooning in Costa Brava Spain

And if I ever get the chance to go hot air ballooning ever again, then I would jump at the chance.

I want to give a huge thanks to our incredibly talented pilot from Globus Costa Brava for taking me on a ride that will be forever remembered. And of course the extremely wonderful team at Costa Brava tourism board for helping me face my fears by organising the hot air ballooning in Costa Brava, Spain.

This is a post from a series called Facing my Fears. It helps us to step outside our comfort zone, in comfort. Check out the rest of the series here.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Costa Brava tourism board, but as always our fears, stories and photos are all our own.

Do you have a fear of heights or another phobia? How did you face your fears?

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68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    October 1, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    What an amazing experience. I’ve had a fascination with hot air balloons since I was a child. My husband and I were even married in one (though we never got our ride because of high winds). It’s been 10 1/2 years that we’ve been married and we’ve still not been on a balloon ride together.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      Did you get married on the ground but just in the basket? Cool idea, but gutted you couldn’t fly!

      • Jennifer

        October 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        Yes, the ceremony was us in the basket on the ground with our family watching. We were supposed to take off as soon as we were pronounced husband and wife, but the wind was so strong that day, they couldn’t even inflate the balloon for pictures.

  2. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    October 1, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I, too, have a stubborn fear of heights (fear of falling, really) which must be overcome now and again–including the time we had the chance to go hot air ballooning in Page, Arizona. I totally agree that the ascent (peaceful, almost dreamy) and the actual ballooning at altitude were no problem. I actually found the silence and the smoothness and being at the whim of the breeze sort of addicting. Landing, as you now know, is another story altogether! Here’s to doing it anyway!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      I thought we would just come down smoothly but should have realised that doesn’t happen haha.

  3. Laurence

    October 1, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Vera and I wondered if ballooning was a bad idea with a fear of heights but we braved it and have to agree, what a spectacular thing it was. Love the idea of a fruit basket for humans too 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      I was surprised at how easy it was to do with my fear. I think it was because we couldn’t see through the floor?!

      • Laurence

        October 4, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        Being able to see through the floor would have made it a slightly different experience 😀

        • Cole Burmester

          October 5, 2012 at 9:02 AM

          I bet there are some balloons that allow you to do that. Won’t see me in them…

  4. Leyla Giray

    October 1, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Well done, Cole! It’s not easy to do something like that when you’re scared. I hate heights – I probably would have been dangling on the outside of the basket trying to jump back down. I can manage the odd mountain walk, but mountains are at least stuck to the ground. You do make it seem a little less scary… but brace brace?? Maybe next year 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Thanks Leyla. Don’t be afraid of it because of my writing! It truly is very safe and the “bracing” is just a pre-caution. I am sure you would love it.

  5. Vera

    October 1, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Oh man, awesome post -I also didn’t even know you weren’t good with heights! And by the way, it’s not the hot air that makes balloning possible… It’s MAGIC;)!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Cheers Vera. Was a pleasure sharing it with you guys! I knew there was something else holding us up 🙂

  6. Christina

    October 1, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Was it scary?! I always see hot air balloons but don’t know if I would like the feeling as I hate rollercoasters and such!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      Wasn’t scary at all actually Christina! And not at all like a roller coaster. It is really gentle and you hardly even feel like you are moving. Definitely try it once 🙂

  7. Ines

    October 2, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Your pics are beautiful! I want to do the same with my husband but he doesn’t do heights very well neither. I will share this with him and hopefully we will find a great place to go hot air ballooning soon!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 2, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Go to Costa Brava and do it 🙂 Beautiful countryside and amazing food afterwards which they provide! Not scary at all, and I am a huge scaredy-cat when it comes to heights.

  8. Amanda

    October 2, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Well congrats for facing your fear! Hopefully the views and experience were worth the moments of being afraid! It looks gorgeous.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 2, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      It was surprising that I was way less afraid than I thought I would be. Totally worth it and can recommend it to everyone!

  9. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    October 3, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Awesome views! That’s something I still definitely want to experience 🙂 Looks so much fun, and good on you for doing it despite your fear of heights mate!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      I was really surprised I didn’t find it scarier. And well worth being a little bit afraid for!

  10. globusemporda

    October 3, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Thanks for all your comments!!! For us it was a pleaser to fly with you!!!!

    See you another time, and i hope…a 1000m!!

    Joan (globus Empordà)

    • Cole Burmester

      October 3, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Thanks Joan! I had such fun on the trip and definitely will recommend it to everyone 🙂

  11. D.J. - The World of Deej

    October 4, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Congrats on conquering the fear. I really need to do this. I see hot air balloons in Orlando all the time and keep saying I should. Perhaps it is time…

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      If there are lots in Orlando then I am sure you could approach a few about a sponsored trip… 🙂

  12. Peter Lee

    October 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I always wanted to go on a hot air balloon, but I’m not going to lie, I will probably have the fears before I step into the basket. I always wonder how they know where they’ll come down — and how they coordinate the pick-up!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      They were constantly on their radios telling the pickup guys where they were “hoping” to land. Unfortunately they have very little control apart from going up or down! But totally safe 🙂

  13. Cathy Sweeney

    October 4, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Yay! You did it! Thanks for the encouragement to try hot air ballooning sometime. Like you, I’ve been afraid of the whole idea — way up there in a little basket, etc. But you’ve given me courage. Next time, I’m going to do it! Maybe.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      Definitely do it Cathy! I can highly recommend it to anyone and the peacefulness of the whole experience will leave you breathless from excitement (not fear) 🙂

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  15. Julie Sheridan

    October 5, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    God this looks amazing. What an experience. I LOVED the Costa Brava and am now pencilling this in for my next trip up there.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Make sure you do. Such a peaceful and fantastic adventure! You obviously don’t mind the heights!

  16. Natalie - Turkish Travel Blog

    October 5, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I am going back to Cappadocia in December and hope to combat my fears so I can do a balloon trip there. Nerve wracking just thinking about it!!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      We would love to go to Cappadocia and try it there too. Maybe we will head there next year. Let us know how you get on Natalie 🙂

  17. Tim @ Marginal Boundaries

    October 5, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Always been a bit peckish about heights. Still need to try a hot air balloon ride. Talk about spectacular views here!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 6, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      It was why I was so scared to try it Tim, but was surprisingly calm. I can’t stand being able to see between my feet through glass elevators and grates etc. So very glad the basket was woven tightly 😉 Also the views were distracting!

  18. Jade - OurOyster.com

    October 8, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Good on you for facing your fears!! I don’t know if I would willingly put myself in a hot air balloon – but I might do it if it was part of a press trip or something – I tend to need a bit of peer pressure to go outside my comfort zone

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      We love stepping outside our comfort zone… most of the time haha. The hot air balloon was actually really easy to do once I realised we were already off the ground. Just keep snapping photos and you will be fine 😉

  19. Joy

    October 8, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    That looks amazing! What a place to face your fear! I once faced my fear of heights dangling from 300+ feet in the air at a theme park in Orlando, FL. At the time I was working on a TV stunt show and agreed to test this stunt. I have no idea what I was thinking. At the time I guess I was easily influenced by peer pressure. I was practically in tears the entire time but I did it! I still have a fear of heights but I try not to let it hold me back.

    Just found your blog by the way. Love it. I think you guys are quite witty! 🙂 I love the name and can’t wait to read more.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      I am having heart palpitations just thinking of the giant drop ride at the theme park near Barcelona! So scary and high up!

      Thanks for dropping by Joy and commenting 😉

  20. Linda McCormick

    October 8, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Good on ya!
    I’ve often thought about doing a hot air balloon ride – what is it that’s so enticing about them, even for us vertigo sufferers – but can’t quite bring myself to do it.
    After reading this though… I just might. Maybe 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Just stick your eyeballs up to your camera and take lots of photos until it is too late! That’s what I did and seemed to work haha.

  21. Addison S. @ Visa Hunter

    October 9, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Congratulations, Cole, the pictures tell what I am sure was an incredible flight. Overcoming fears when traveling is such a rewarding experience and often puts many things in perspective. A hot air balloon ride has to be up there alongside a helicopter flight on every traveler’s bucket list.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      Oh man I really want to try a helicopter ride! Haven’t had the chance yet.

  22. crazy sexy fun traveler

    October 9, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Funny post! I was imagining all of you there after the brace command 🙂 I would love to do hot air balloon. It is one of the very few things I have not done in the air yet 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 8:25 PM

      Need to head back to Costa Brava to try it out then 😉

  23. Mellisa Turner

    October 10, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Gosh, that’s such an adrenalin rush! Though I don’t fear eights, I have this silly notion about hot air ballooning. No matter how much imagination and scientific calculations I put in, I really can’t assure myself that a basket can really hold me. The fear of falling mid air doesn’t let me enjoy this
    fun. Perhaps next time I’ll be brave enough.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 11, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      I hope you will be brave enough next time too Mellisa! Such a beautiful experience.

  24. Abby

    October 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Amazing! I’ve sky-dived, love roller coasters, blah blah. But was TERRIFIED hot air ballooning. I signed up so excited, and once we got up there, I was a mess until landing. I didn’t think the basket was high enough to prevent me from falling out lol. So congrats on beating that fear!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 11, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      I haven’t sky dived (pulled out at the last minute) but DO love roller coasters! I am not sure why I didn’t find it as scary as I thought it would be. I think I was too distracted by all the views 🙂

  25. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    October 12, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Really like that last photo. Never done a hot air balloon ride.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      You have to try it Stephanie. Definitely one of the highlights of my travels so far.

  26. sanjeewa padmal travel blogger

    October 12, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Hot air ballooning is a great. Simply because the bird eye view that you can get.

  27. Laurie

    October 13, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    After reading you post I’m going to try it. I have issues like this. Cannot belive how good your pictures are. WELL DONE

    • Cole Burmester

      October 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      It is a beautiful experience to go on Laurie. You will love it!

  28. Lorenzo Gonzalez

    October 17, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    I also don’t do well with heights but I’m a strong believer of facing your fears. Glad you got over it and were able to share this story.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 17, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      Looks like we think the same Lorenzo 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  29. vira

    October 25, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    omygod,that looks a lotta fun! I’ve been wanting to go on a hot air balloon but haven’t had the chance to do it. I was supposed to go when I was in Vang Vieng but then a storm hit the town so they had to cancel the ride 🙁
    I also have a fear of height, but it’s more when I have to ‘fall’ from such height, so I couldn’t get myself to jump down to water from a few meters cliff, I haven’t succeeded to overcome my fear 🙁
    Good for you for overcoming your fear! It must have been hard! 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      Thanks Vira 🙂 I don’t think I have conquered my fear of heights just yet, but slowly getting there! Hope you get to go hot air ballooning soon!

  30. Jessica

    October 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    The photo looking over the edge made me nervous and it was just a picture! Congrats on facing your fears, looks like it was worth it!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      I still get a little scared when I look at that picture Jessica and I was up there! It is funny, when I was looking through the lens I didn’t have a problem with the height. When I look back now it scared me!

  31. Agness (@Agnesstramp)

    November 1, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Well done guys! I don’t do heights very well either, so I understand your fear. This is why I love to travel so much- to overcome my fears and learn something more about yourself. The view from the balloon’s stunning. How much guys did you buy for the flight? (if I might ask). Always wondering how much it could cost 😉 and how long it lasts.

    • Cole Burmester

      November 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      We were in the air for just over an hour I think. But they also provide breakfast and Cava (Spanish champagne) after the flight, so all up it is more like a 2-3 hour experience. It costs roughly $160 if I remember rightly. Check out the Globus Emporda site 😉

  32. Julie Dawn Fox

    November 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Perfect timing – I’m hoping to go hot air ballooning next weekend in Portugal. I’ll be leaving my husband firmly on the ground though as his fear of heights is too strong for this kind of fun!

    • Cole Burmester

      November 2, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      Show him this post and it might settle his nerves Julie! 🙂

  33. Alexandra

    December 7, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    when I went hot air ballooning in Turkey I was surprised by how quiet it was and how oddly enough you didn’t feel that high even though you really were. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM

      I didn’t even realise how high we were because I hardly stopped taking photos haha. When I did I had a little freak out but got over it quickly because it was so beautiful!

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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.

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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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Adventure Travel

The Best International Travel Tips for First Time Travelers

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Travelling abroad for the first time can be intimidating, but travel can also expand your horizons, show you the great beauty of the world and develop many important life skills. If it is your first time travelling abroad, here are a few simple tips for a fun, successful and valuable experience.

Choose Somewhere Easy

If you have the luxury of choosing where you are travelling to, be sure to pick somewhere simple – even veteran travelers can feel intimidated travelling to strange, far away places. Pick somewhere that is not too far, easy to reach and you can speak the language/there are a lot of people who can speak your language.

Research

Fully research where you are travelling to and this will help to build confidence and teach you what to expect. You should research exactly where you are going, where you are staying, how to get around, currency, language, local customs, tourist attractions, how to stay safe and whether or not you need a visa.

Preparation

Following on from this, be sure to get your paperwork together well in advance of the trip. This includes making sure that your passport is valid, obtaining any necessary visas and getting travel insurance. It is also wise to make photocopies of key documents and leave one set with somebody that you trust. You should also inform your bank of the dates you will be abroad and where you will be travelling.

Packing

Carefully consider what the climate will be and what activities you will be doing – this should help you to pack exactly what you need. There is advice for packing online, but one top tip is to use an international courier service to send items you no longer need home or to have items shipped out to you. This can be easy and affordable with companies like TNT.

Don’t Plan Too Much

One of the major mistakes that first-time travelers make is attempting to see and do too much. This can cause a great deal of stress, stop you from enjoying yourself and embracing the experience. Take your time, schedule time to relax and recover and be flexible with your itinerary.

Relax

Feeling anxious or stressed is perfectly understandable, but try to relax and stay calm at all times. Not everything will go to plan, but this is fine and all part of the experience.

Travelling overseas can be stressful and especially for first timers, but the above advice should reduce stress and allow for a great trip.

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Adventure Travel

Swimming, Shopping and Stars – 6 Fantastic Reasons to Visit Darwin, Australia

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Darwin, Australia is often overlooked as a holiday destination for many visitors and Australians alike. It seems so remote all the way at the top of our country, and there never seems to be any national news stories coming from it, so why visit it? It’s wildlife is astounding, the views of the natural landscape are to die for, and the culture present is palpable, and that’s just naming a few on the spur of the moment.

Grabbing yourself a Darwin serviced apartment and taking a few weeks to look around up there is one of the most worthwhile things you can do on holiday, and we’ll explain why in this segment.

Nature

First up is the nature. The nature explorations in Darwin are incredible, and Mary River National Park is a must-visit destination for the nature lover in you. The camping areas are astounding, combining the solitude of the bush with the camaraderie of a campground, and you’re never far from an amazing river or beautiful billabong in Darwin.

Ocean Exploration

For those less inclined toward the jungle thickets and bush of the northern territory, the ocean has a lot to offer in the way of life and interesting exploration. Being careful to avoid the seasons where deadly man-o-war box jellyfish swarm the waters, the warm ocean of Darwin is a great place for diving and snorkeling, and tiger sharks are regular visitors closer to the coast.

Wildlife

The wildlife of Darwin is the big seller, as the Northern Territory has the largest population of saltwater crocodiles in Australia. Saltwater crocodiles are the largest, most dangerous crocodiles found anywhere in the world, and their impressive size has to be seen to be believed. As well as this, barramundi regularly flood the rivers and waterways of the national parks, making the fishing in these waters reliably prosperous.

Views

If looking down on sweeping valleys, towering peaks, and endless forests sounds like something you’d enjoy, then the scenery of Darwin is your personal draw card. With a sprawling, beautiful national park on either side of the city of Darwin, there’s no shortage of breathtaking sights, and with many days’ worth of adventure at your fingertips from a central hub in the city, there’s no reason not to explore.

History

The history of Darwin is rich and plentiful, having been established as a city by European settlers in 1869. The indigenous histories of the greater Darwin area are fascinating, and such a rich culture and past has to be experienced first-hand to be fully understood. With many ancient history sites such as Mt Borradaile, which needs special permits to access, Darwin is brimming with history lessons for all that have a thirst for knowledge.

Art

Art culture is alive and well in the Northern Territory, and Darwin boasts many art galleries both large and small. The Northern Centre for Contemporary Art is one such place, and the modern art installations within are as poignant as they are fascinating. Hours could be spent poring over each individual piece, but to see it is to really appreciate it.

As you can see, Darwin is a place of some considerable renown. There’s absolutely no reason not to pack up your things right now and set off for this gorgeous, interesting, fun city as soon as possible, so wait no longer!

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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...

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