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A day at a Stoke Travel surf camp

What’s better than spending a few days learning to surf in Spain over summer? We present to you, a Guide to One day at the Stoke Travel surf camp.

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Learning to surf, Stoke Travel Surf Camp,

While we were travelling around Europe this summer we needed a bit of downtime away from all the pesky crowds. We were exhausted and had to escape from travelling for a few days of just chilling out and relaxing.

Grabbing our togs (swimming gear) we headed to the northwest of Spain to a sleepy village called Zarautz to hook up with the awesome team from Stoke Travel surf camp.

Stoke Travel Surf Camp

Spending a few days learning to surf has got to be right up there as one of the best summertime activities.

A day at Stoke Travel Surf Camp

Every morning you will wake from your slumber in your tent overlooking Zarautz and the Spanish coastline. The sunrises over the jagged Pyrenees and glistens across the oceans surface at your feet.

Zarautz beach, Stoke Travel Surf Camp

Depending on your level of hangover this is the best time to grab a surfboard and head down for a few waves. There is hardly a soul in sight and the wind will most likely be calm to non-existent so the waves will be clean.

No other feeling can even come close to plastering a smile on my face than paddling out with a buddy or two and perfect waves.

With arms turning to jelly after your early morning session you will need to rest. After our first surf we would usually hang around the surf camp waiting for lunch by passing the time with table tennis, catching up on emails (yes there is free WiFi) or even a class of yoga.

Yoga Stoke Travel Surf Camp

Depending on the tides, the surf lessons kick off after lunch for any beginners. The teachers are excellent and the surf lessons small enough that you will get the attention you deserve.

Learning to surf, Stoke Travel Surf Camp,

With the easy to learn on surfboards you will find yourself standing up after just a few waves. Just maybe not for that long…

Stoke Travel Surf Lesson, Michelle Kennedy

Michelle spent 2 weeks at the surf camp with us and was a pro by the end!

Now comes the hard part of the day. Do you:

a) Read your book on the beach;

b) Play a bit of beach cricket, football or volleyball;

c) Grab an ice cream and wander through the cute village of Zarautz; or

d) Have a siesta.

Stoke Travel Surf Camp

It’s a hard life but just keep reminding yourself, someone has to do it.

If you haven’t exhausted yourself by now or chose not to have a siesta then your evening is just getting started. The Spanish seem to only get going when the temperature starts to cool down in the evening.

Again you have a couple of options but either way start with a few beers and sangria’s at the surf camp.

Option A: San Sebastian

Make your way into San Sebastian. It is one of those town in Europe that you could easily live in. Not only is it a gorgeous place to visit during the day but it also awakens when the sun goes down.

There is nightlife a plenty and all the delicious pintxos (tapas) you can eat! It’s the culinary capital of Spain with no less than 16 Michelin stars awarded in this sleepy town.

Pintxos San Sebastian, Stoke Travel Surf Camp

Option B: Watch the sunset from the campground

Sitting on the hillside you can finish off another exceptional day with a bunch of mates and just this view to look at. Not a bad way to spend a few days (or weeks) over summer.

Stoke Travel Surf Camp, Sunset in Zarautz, Spain

Have you learnt to surf before? Tell us about your experiences below.

Extra Travel Information:

Where: Gran Camping Zarauz, 10kms from San Sebastian in Spain.

When: All summer long from June 1st – September.

Cost: €50 all-inclusive (includes 3 x meals a day, accommodation and surf lessons).

Sleep: Camping accommodation (twin share tent, sleeping mat and bag included).

Extras: Unlimited beer and sangria (€5 a day), party trips, horse riding and yoga.

Disclaimer: We were guests at the Stoke Travel surf camp. However, as always our opinions and words are always our own. 

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Lucy

    August 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I’m a dreadful surfer – my first time was on a hen weekend in Cornwall in the wind and rain, it even hailed at one point and I nearly got knocked out by my own surfboard. Your trip looks a lot more civilised. I might have to give it another try somewhere warmer one day!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Hahaha that is why we don’t surf in the UK. In Scotland I would freeze to death. Definitely try it again in Spain 🙂

  2. Laurence

    August 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    So nearly would have been in San Sebastian at the same time as you guys. Ah well. Looks like you had a blast. I really want to learn to surf properly some day 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      August 21, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      We were only a few km’s apart I think at one stage! Lots of opportunities along the coast of France to learn Laurence 🙂

  3. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    August 20, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    If I was going to learn to surf, this is the place where I would want to do it!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Warm water, summer sunshine and friendly people. Couldn’t ask for a better spot.

  4. Arti

    August 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    What an amazing place! The captures are gorgeous, looks like you had a ball out there!!
    Thanks for sharing, have a nice day 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Was such a fun 2 weeks Arti. Bit boozy every day but the surf was really good and super friendly people 🙂

  5. Callie

    August 22, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    This looks like a great way to learn how to surf! I’ve only tried once and was pitiful (I like to blame the jellyfish that stung me, but it’s my own fault).

    • Cole Burmester

      August 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      How can it be your fault if a jellyfish stung you? 🙂 Definitely try it again Callie. It gets easier each time!

  6. Jeremy Branham

    August 22, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Surfing isn’t my thing but looks like a lot of fun and some good exercise. After a long morning of surfing, I think I would go all Spanish here and opt for a siesta! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 23, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      The siesta’s each day were one of the best parts of the camp 🙂

  7. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    August 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Surfing is great fun, I learned in Puerto Escondido in Mexico. Surfing just works so well for a holiday, you just lay on the beach, surf, and then party in the evenings! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Pretty much sums of what we did for 2 weeks Jarmo!

  8. Audrey (@BackpackingTB)

    August 25, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I like the series of shots that goes from standing on the surf board to the elegant belly flop. 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      August 29, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Hahaha my friend Michelle is a bit annoyed that I included those photos 😉

  9. Angela

    August 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I would look so clumsy on a surfboard 😛

    • Cole Burmester

      August 29, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Everyone looks clumsy the first few times. Doesn’t take too long to master though.

  10. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    August 27, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    This looks fun. And as I learned in Central America, teaching yourself to surf does not work so well 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 29, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      The first few times sucks for everyone, especially if learning by yourself. Really need to visit Central and South America to go surfing!

  11. Gina

    August 28, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Looks so fun! I’d love to take a surf camp sometime. I live in California and have tried it a couple times with friends and it’s HARD! I think I need some consistent classes to figure out how to conquer the board. Doing that in Spain would be even better. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 29, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      Spend one week in Spain and you will have mastered it Gina 🙂

      By the way, we love California. We have friends and family in San Francisco and Laguna Beach area.

  12. Alexandra

    August 29, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Born and raised on Maui yet I don’t surf! I plan to be in Spain this fall so maybe I will get myself a few lessons. I’m too embarrassed to do it here at home 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      August 29, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      Will swap places with you and maybe we can go to Maui 🙂

      • Alexandra

        August 29, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        Paradise is in the eye of the beholder

  13. OutsideTheGuidebook

    September 1, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Lovely article! Although truth be said, I was more impressed by the photograph of the Tapas than anything else!! :-)) Did try surfing once.. in the frigid waters off the British Atlantic coast. Ice cream headaches deluxe.

  14. Simon

    September 15, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    Crazy, I did the same trip a year or so back! I spent two days at this camp with Stoke travel and, while I had a brilliant time, I never did manage to stand up on my board. That I learnt in Bali, where you can get one-on-one surfing lessons for but a fraction of the price it would cost in Europe.

    • Adela

      September 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      Yea we would love to do that in Bali. The surf looks great there and the 1 on 1 would be a great help.

  15. Jessah Robinson

    October 14, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Hey Cole,
    It’s Jess from the surf camp, I finally remembered to check out your blog,
    and it’s so good!
    Where are your next travel destinations?
    🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 15, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      Cheers Jess and great you finally made it to our blog 🙂 How are you?

      We are heading to Oslo this weekend then I will be back in New Zealand for a few weeks in November/December. After that we will probably move to Berlin or somewhere in the French Alps for some skiing! What are your plans? Hopefully see you again on your travels.

  16. Jessah Robinson

    October 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I’m really good, have been travelling with my Mum for a few weeks.
    We did Italy, and are leaving Switzerland to go to Amsterdam tomorrow. 🙂

    That sounds so exciting, is Oslo in Sweden?
    I really want to go to Berlin, and the French Alps is beautiful I went to Morzine last January and we loved it!

    I’m actually going home in just over a month, due to lack of funds, but have really enjoyed my time here.

    Enjoy your travels!
    🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 15, 2012 at 6:26 PM

      Oslo is in Norway 🙂

      Pity you are headed home but sounds like you have had quite a few adventures! Hopefully we see you back soon. And keep reading our blog haha

      • Jessah Robinson

        October 17, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        Oh, haha, sorta close. 😉

        Yeah, I am a little put out by the change of plans, but plan on saving up straightaway, and hopefully doing North America and Canada next. 🙂

        Will keep reading the blog, and hope you have an amazing time on all your travels!
        Keep up the good work!
        🙂

  17. Hol

    April 3, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    Come back to Zarautz this summer?! If anyone’s keen to join us for a day (or more) at the Stoke San Sebastian surf camp book with the promo code SHARKWEEK for free unlimited beer and sangria during your stay!

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Adventure Travel

Is It Time to Find a New You at a Thailand Retreat?

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If you feel like you a lacking a little direction, or that you have become lost in the hustle and bustle of your faced paced life, do not despair. There is hope. Spend too much time buried by work and inevitably the world will grind you down, but it needn’t. You can do something about it. The answer is a lot simpler than you may think (and more affordable, too).

You have to act though. Indifference or accepting that nothing will change will result in exactly that, nothing changing. What you need to do is interrupt your life and take a step back. Now this doesn’t mean falling off the radar, or a sudden change in your career. You just need to invest a little of your own time in yourself and book yourself into a personal development course at a Thailand retreat.

 

Isn’t That Strange?

No, it isn’t. Again, you are not changing the world in which you live, rather you are looking to change how you live in the world. A getaway at a retreat can help you do this. So, lose the negativity and cynicism and think about the possibilities for a moment. If you feel strange about going alone, why not round up your best buddies and go together? (Click here for more guy adventure tips)

 

A Little Self-Therapy

 

If you work hard, and feel constantly exhausted, at some point things are going to get even worse – be that your physical or mental health. By looking after both your body and mind and learning healthy practices at a retreat, you’ll fortify both your mind and body ready for the rigours of daily life once you return to it. The techniques, practices and understandings that you will gain by attending a Thailand retreat will help you to not only cope, but to thrive. It is like learning a shortcut to happiness that many simply do not know about. Brilliant right?!

Burnout is a real problem in society, and prevention is a much better solution than trying to find a cure. It is likely that you will have to keep working in your employment and that life will throw all manner of things at you as you battle onward, but learning to cope whilst smiling, with a stronger fortitude and greater will to succeed is a more certain way of becoming a success before you become a casualty.

Through mindfulness practice, physical activity such as yoga and stretching, and incorporating meditation, you are adapting a holistic approach to your own health, happiness and self-development. This can help you become mentally stronger, physical fitter, more at ease with yourself and life, and aware of the world in which you live. You can actually learn to live rather than exist. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Life begins at the very edge of your comfort zone, on the outskirts of familiarity and away from your normal habits and routine. Rather than shun it, or even fear it, you can learn to embrace, experience and even enjoy it too. This isn’t changing what you do, but how you do it. It isn’t changing who you are, it is letting you become the true you, unleashing your full potential.

A Thailand retreat based around health and self-development puts your wellbeing at the very heart of the programme. This isn’t self-indulgent but rather self-fulfilment; letting your life exist beyond the limits of your expectations. It is time for you to look after yourself that little bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adventure Travel

Preparing A Holiday With An Anxious Relative

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As much as you love going on holiday and planning a trip to a region of the world that you don’t know, it can be a little frustrating to travel with relatives or friends who are naturally nervous about discovering new things. You know the kind: They won’t try exotic food in a restaurant, in case it wouldn’t agree with their stomach. They look at your travel pictures with envy but always find an excuse not to join you on your next adventure. And more importantly, they try to avoid travelling abroad if they can at all help it. Be kind before you launch into criticism. They can’t help feeling anxious about everything. And maybe, if you want to help them relax a little, it’s your responsibility to make travelling as easy and enjoyable as possible. However, you’re in luck, because we can help you with that. All it takes is a little bit of planning and thinking ahead to get them sorted.

Get informed at first

If your friend or relative doesn’t travel often, the best thing you want to do is to convince them to come on a trip with you that is poorly planned. First things first: It’s about defining when it the best time to visit your destination of choice. You wouldn’t want to accidentally pick the monsoon season when going to a tropical country, for instance. That’s exactly what this handy website is about : It helps you to find out when is the best time to visit where with monthly weather overview based on observations from the previous years. In short, if you’re travelling with someone who hates being cold, you can direct them towards countries that are warm in winter, for example. As silly as it might sound, knowing what kind of weather to expect can be a great help for a nervous adventurer: Knowing what to pack is already a step out of the unknown zone.

Get the health check

You can’t easily decide to travel to any country without planning. For health reasons, there is a number of regions in the world that require vaccinations to keep you safe. You’d better keep yourself informed of the health requirements in advance, as some vaccinations need to be started up to 2 months before your departure. The typical countries where you’d be expecting additional health vaccines tend to be around the south and south-east Asia. Hepatitis A and B is a common risk in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and even the Fiji. In India, you need to be aware of risks of rabies and Japanese encephalitis in addition to more common vaccinations. You also need to ensure that you and your relative are up to date with routine immunisations such as tetanus and diphtheria. The bottom line is that even though there are little risks for cautious travellers, you don’t want to take any chance.

Do you need authorisation?

If your friend or relative has only travelled to safe and known areas, such as Europe for instance, they may not be aware that certain countries require visitors from abroad to apply for a visa, aka an official authorization to entry the country. If you intend to visit Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, you will need to apply for a visa, which can take several weeks and require an official letter of recommendation from your destination hotel. Visiting South Africa, North America also require a visa, as well as some areas of Asia. Additionally, you need to ensure that you have free pages for control stamps in your passport. It might sound stressful at first, but it’s something that you can easily clarify in advance so that you don’t need to worry about it during your trip.

Protect your holiday

The main reason a lot of people feel anxious about travelling abroad is that they worry that anything might happen to them while they’re outside of the country. The fear of not knowing how to sort out common health and finances issues forces a lot of people to stay at home while they should be thinking about travel insurance instead. If your friend or relative is worried about falling ill on holiday or about losing valuable items abroad, you should take a look at standard travel policies to ensure that you can find an appropriate answer to their worries. From overseas travel insurance to snow sports insurance, you can find a lot of options to cover for most accidental situations smoothly and easily. More often than not, you can get an expert insurer to define the best-suited policy for your holiday. This will save you a lot of time searching as an insurer will be able to rely on the data of previous travellers to advise you.

Know how to spend the time

But I can’t travel to India: It’s a long flight, and I’ll get bored!

If that’s the kind of comments you get, you can reassure your friend or relative immediately: There are plenty of solutions that stop you from getting bored during your long journeys. Reading always is a good idea, especially if you’ve got a Kindle so that you can fill it with several books to keep yourself occupied while travelling. Some people might prefer audiobooks, however, if you’ve got a long flight, you’re likely to want to use earplugs and rest your senses. There are also plenty of online games that you can play with a smartphone, so it’s impossible to get bored!

Not one for tech gadgets? A simple crossword or sudoku book can do the trick and keep you busy until you’ve reached your destination. If you’re sitting aside, nothing is stopping you from playing a card game or a small board game. In short, getting bored is not a fatality!

Get a guidebook

How do you know about the best places and monuments to see when you’re visiting a new place? It’s obvious: You get a guidebook like every other traveller. Guidebooks might sound old-fashioned, but they are filled with useful information about an area, from where to stay to what to see. More importantly, you get a detailed breakdown of prices, which makes it a lot easier to plan your trip. As a traveller puts it, in a guidebook you find information that you didn’t know you needed, which helps you to prepare the best you can for your holiday. Besides, you can be sure that gathering knowledge about your destination will be handy to reassure your nervous co-traveller. Knowledge remains, after all, the best weapon against the unknown.

Pick your book

Do you need to know the language?

Most travellers would tell you that speaking English is enough to get by in any destination of the world. However; you need to be aware of one important fact: Just because English is the proxy language by definition, it doesn’t mean that everyone will understand you. A lot of people don’t speak English at all, and therefore you’ll need to be able to ask for directions or a cup of coffee in the local lingo. Why does it matter? You don’t need to be fluent to ask for things you need abroad, but you can be sure that locals are more likely to help and understand if you say it in their language. More often than not, you can get by with a simple phrasebook, from ordering food in a restaurant to finding the way to the art museum.

Prepare a visit plan

What if your friend would agree to go on a holiday but doesn’t know where to? You could inspire them with a list of the most wonderful sites to visit in the world. Stonehenge in England is a great destination for history lovers to enjoy the mysteries of the past. You can even organise walking among the famous stones on specific days! If you want to take their breath away with a fascinating historical site, try to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. If you want to seduce a nature-lover, take them to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, which is the world’s largest mirror. Or you could visit the Great Blue Hole in Belize, which is 407 feet deep and can be easily seen from above – no need to dive, thankfully!

Decide on a budget in advance

Let’s be honest: Most people avoid travelling because they’re afraid of spending too much on the go. In reality, it all comes down to clever planning: If you know in advance where you’re going to stay and what’s around to see and visit, you can plan your budget accordingly. Of course, there will always be the unexpected expenses in the form of a cocktail night at the local bar, or a really cute jumper that you simply couldn’t live further without. But for all these, you can rely on a budget app such as Trail Wallet to keep track of your expenses throughout the day. In a few clicks, you can get an overview of how much you can afford and how much you’ve already paid.

In conclusion, the secret to turning a travel-anxious friend into a travel-happy holidaymaker is to share your planning secrets with them. Yes, travelling takes a lot of preps. But it means they can enjoy their trip with their mind at peace!

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Adventure Travel

Top 5 Things to See in Dubai on Your Next Holiday

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Dubai has quickly become a top destination for travelers from around the world.  It offers an impressive mixture of the best of modern architecture, stunning scenery and is a shopper’s paradise.  So, what are the top things to see during your holiday to Dubai?

Burj Khalifa

You can’t miss the Burj Khalifa when you visit Dubai – at 828 meters high, it is the world’s tallest tower and dominates the city’s skyline.  But the building is far more than admiring.  There is an observation deck on level 124 that is a must-see part of visiting the city while At The Top Sky Lounge is on level 148.  If you want a meal amid the clouds, At.mosphere on level 122 offers quality meals.

Palm Jumeirah

Another impressive man-made wonder of Dubai, Palm Jumeirah is a palm shaped man-made island and one of the largest artificial islands in the world.  It is home to a host of high quality hotels including the Waldorf Astoria and the Atlantis, The Palm.  It also has its own monorail that runs along the ‘trunk’ of the tree to connect it with the mainland.

The Dubai Mall

As well as enjoying the glamour of Dubai on your next holiday, you can also enjoy some of the highest quality shopping.  The Dubai Mall is more than just a shopping mall – there are 1200 shops, 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park, a waterfall, ice rink and even an aquarium and underwater zoo.  It takes shopping to a whole new level!

The Dubai Fountain

Standing outside the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain is equally impressive and stands at the entrance to the Dubai Mall.  It is the world’s largest choregraphed fountain system reached 150 meters high with colorful, illuminated jet sprays that are timed to various musical pieces.  There are two shows a day on afternoons and evenings so plenty of chances to watch it in action.

Dubai Creek

Dubai is the epitome of a modern city but that’s not to say there isn’t history amid the stunning skyscrapers.  Dubai Creek is the heart of the old city, where the original Bani Yas tribe settled.  Here they started the pearl diving and fishing trades and the area slowly built into a trade center.  Now you can visit the gold, textile and spice souks as well as take a ride in a traditional abra boat.  It is also great value at just AED1 for a ticket.

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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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