From Four Jandals to Two Jandals

| April 18, 2013 | 98 Comments

Usually we don’t write too many personal posts as we know you like to to read about our adventure travels, rather than our lives. But we thought it only fair to give you a bit of an update on what is happening in the lives of Four Jandals. Because if you have been reading our adventure travel blog for the last 4 – 5 months, you have probably been very, very confused about what is going on.

Obviously things haven’t been smooth sailing for us.

In December, we were meant to head off to France together and work for the winter near La Rosiere ski resort. This idea fell apart when Adela realised she didn’t want to leave Edinburgh just yet. She was afraid to travel. I was left stranded in France so made the decision to return to Scotland as well in January.

Most romantic places in the world

This was where we were meant to spend the winter

In March, I made the decision to do a little soul searching by walking the Camino de Santiago. And while I injured myself prematurely and had to stop, it did help clear my mind and change my perspective on a few things.

I realised that I have been stuck in a rut.

I call myself a traveller and an adventurer, yet I was stuck in Edinburgh and not being able to pursue my passions. I love Edinburgh, but the Scottish weather and lifestyle go against the grain of how I like to live my life. I need to be near the sea with warm weather and adventures galore on my doorstep.

So I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life.

After 5 and a half years, Adela and I are going on a break. And at the moment we don’t know if it will become permanent or not. We will keep our international bank accounts, visas and various other bits and pieces that you acquire when travelling as a couple. But we just won’t be together for at least 3 months. We will also keep in touch and hope to rekindle something in the future.

This change was necessary for both of us.

Adventure Travel Blog, Cole and Adela Photos

Breaking up while travelling…

It is strange because only a few months ago I wrote our most popular post ever about “Why every couple should travel before marriage“. But as in all things travel related, changes are inevitable.

We have just spent a wonderful week together exploring Iceland and now we are parting ways. She is going back to Edinburgh and I am off to Africa. For 75 days I will join an overland tour from Nairobi to Cape Town with Oasis Overland.

I am in two minds at the moment. On one hand I am devastated that I have had to walk away from such an amazing girl. But I am also excited that I am heading off on a new adventure and that I have the chance to explore a completely new part of the world.

I will outline my full trip in an upcoming post, but it is fair to say that the next 2 months will be jam-packed full of adventures. Including, learning to kite-surf in Kenya, hiking to see Gorillas, safaris, camping, white water rafting, bungee jumping, shark cage diving and much, much more.

So what is next for Four Jandals?

Well, in regards to our blog and what you read on here, not a lot will change to be honest. For the last 6 months I have been doing 95% of the writing, social media updates and photography. So the content, adventures and stories won’t change.

But there is likely to be a small decline in talking about couples travel tips and other couples adventures until we figure out exactly what is happening.

So for now, thanks as always for reading our blog and all that I ask from you is that you wish us both good luck on our next personal travel adventures, and I hope you continue to read along with me as I explore Africa!

Reader Questions: Have you ever broken up while travelling? Or right before a travel adventure? How did you handle it?

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (98)

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  1. I know this won’t make what you’re going through any easier. No-one can know exactly what you’re going through. But I was in a similar situation last year and am still trying to move on. My person I was with for 6 years, with whom I lived with an home in England, who I travelled and lived in Australia with for 2 years, broke up with me 2 months after arriving in New Zealand. We’re both still in Auckland. I wrote a post about it ( and since then I’ve taken trips in New Zealand with my new friends which have gone some way to helping with healing myself but it is still hard. I’m so glad you’ve got some travel to look forward to, you’re heading in the right direction. I hope it all works out for you whatever happens in the future.


  2. My heart reaches out to you both.

    Ben and I have been together for eight years, traveling for the last four and nomadic for the last two. While travel brings you closer to your travel buddy by allowing you to share in a wealth of ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences it can also put a strain on your relationship. It can provide a catalyst for change in one or both parties and while change can bring new life and new growth, it can also cause you to grow apart.

    I hope that whatever the outcome this is just another memory from a life filled with happiness and adventure for both you and Andrea.
    Charli l Wanderlusters recently posted..Darwin to Gove: Sailing The Arafura Sea

  3. Aw, Cole – bummer to hear this- however thank you for knowing when to pump the brakes on secrecy and let the audience know what is up.

    The fact you guys were awesome enough to keep your mushy gushy lovey dovey mostly offsite means we probably won’t feel too much of a change.

    However, this post goes to doubly reinforce the “why every couple should travel before marriage”! How much more wonderful that you work out compatibility issues beforehand 🙂

    So incredibly jealous of your overland Africa — all eyes on you!
    brandy bell recently posted..All Inclusive Resorts – Would You Like a Fight With That?

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this… I hope you figure out what is best for each of you. Until then I wish you both all the best; for Adela in Scotland and for you on your adventures in Africa!
    Sebastian @ recently posted..Teil 1: Ich lebe meine Träume, und du?

  5. Lyndsay says:

    I did. It ended so bad since he was my first bf at 26. Yes, I was too old when I had my first bf, but anyway… He was the brain behind backpacking and blogging. All these skills I learned from him, so it was really really bad for me. Yet, there was a time that I have to get out of my room and stop crying and for some reason I don’t know, I couldn’t stay put back at my mom’s house. In short, I became a solo traveler, it was fun and got me writing the post:

    more than 3 years later, i still travel alone even if i have a new bf… the road will help you both to feel better, always for a better reason too.
    Lyndsay recently posted..Enchanting Bagan Temples

  6. It happens. Very similar sort of thing happened in a previous relationship of mine and at the time it’s hard. But in the fullness of time, things become good again – just in a different way.
    Adam @ SitDownDisco recently posted..Laos: An instagram photostory

  7. Wow, Cole, so sad to read this. It’s very tough to travel as a couple when both people aren’t on the same page. Hoping the time apart will give you guys meaningful perspective on why you got together in the first place, and perhaps shine a light on ways to make things work going forward. You’ll be in our thoughts…
    Bret@ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberté On His Water Charity, the ONE DROP Foundation

  8. Steph says:

    Wow that’s rough Cole! Sounds like you guys are being very mature about things at least though. I’ve never broken up WHILE traveling but I’ve broken up before travel, and I think that distance is a super handy helper in figuring out what you want, so I hope you get that experience in Africa. It sounds like you’ll be busy at least!

  9. InACents says:

    Sorry to hear about your change, and hopefully it brings you both happiness!
    InACents recently posted..Discover Card Infograph: High Schoolers and Money

  10. Talon says:

    I’m sure that was a very touch decision to make and a tough post to write. Definitely wish you both the best in your individual endeavors and for the future.
    Talon recently posted..The benefits of a cooking class during travel

    • The post actually felt easy to write as I just let the words roll onto the screen. Tough reading it back though and even more so making the decision in the first place. Thanks for the support Talon.

  11. Im sorry to hear about all this Cole. Its tough to go through something like this, especially in the ‘public eye’. Ive always enjoyed your stories and no doubt will continue to do so! Im really looking forward to hearing about Africa because we are tossing up whether to schedule it in for next year!
    Nicole @ Suitcase Stories recently posted..A personal look into the meaning of travel

    • While I haven’t started my Africa tour, I did land today in Nairobi and I say BOOK IT! Can’t wait to explore the rest of this amazing region over the next 3 months 😀

      And thanks for your support and comment Nicole.

  12. Melody says:

    Ah man, we are going through this as well. We were supposed to head to Africa after Asia, and be on the road for at least a year. But after a month in Thailand, and having a pretty, well, not very fun time, decided that we either have to go on a break for who knows how long or somethings got to drastically change. It’s been insanely hard. I normally always travel alone and I LOVE it, and I think I started to resent him and the situation when our adventure was beginning to be compromised. Lesson learned!

    That’s awesome you’re doing the overland tour in Africa, I’m pretty envious! But my time will come soon … 🙂 Take care, and I look forward to reading about your African adventure!
    Melody recently posted..Night boats, Songkran and China… our journey back to the States

    • Sucks to hear that you are going through the same thing Melody! I hope you guys work it out, whether that is time apart or find a way to compromise how to travel together. It is a tough call to make and one that we left for a loooonnnggg time. Good luck and safe travels!

  13. Nellie says:

    Sorry to hear about it! You guys make such a cute couple. I wish you guys well and hope that the time apart will make you closer. Enjoy Africa – I absolutely love overlanding there!
    Nellie recently posted..8 Things You May Not Know About Fiji

  14. JR Riel says:

    Heartrendingly honest. I can’t even imagine what it must have taken to write and publish that one. Good on you for having the strength to let us all know what has been really going, and I hope the best for both of you in the future. We’re all with you guys. 😉
    JR Riel recently posted..Dish of the Day: Li Hing Mui! The Beloved Childhood Snack of Hawaii

  15. Laurence says:

    Sounds like you needed the break, permanent or not. And often these things can be the catalyst for great things 🙂 Africa is going to be incredible, keep rocking it!
    Laurence recently posted..The Temple on a Volcano: Phanom Rung, Thailand

  16. Ash Clark says:

    Sorry to hear about this guys, but sounds like you guys are using your heads and following what really makes you happy.
    Thanks for sharing and cant wait to hear about the adventures in Africa!
    Ash Clark recently posted..Travel Photo of the Week: Northern Michigan, USA

  17. Sorry to hear the news Cole (and Adela). As you ask, wish you both the best while things are still unsure, and hope to catch you somewhere soon mate. Will be reading about AFRICAAAA with interest! 🙂 PP
    Peter Parkorr recently posted..The Plus & the Negative: Photography in Focus from Berlin

    • Cheers mate. After Africa I will be headed to SE Asia and then back home to NZ for a bit so I am sure I will see you down-under when you make it there. Consider me a personal tour guide!

  18. Ali says:

    So sorry to hear about this Cole! It really sucks when you want different things in a relationship and things go different ways. I hope your time apart will give you both the distance you need to figure things out, no matter what the answer ends up being. Enjoy Africa, sounds like a great place to do some soul searching.
    Ali recently posted..Scenes From Freiburg, Germany

  19. Larissa says:

    It’s very difficult to go through something like this, especially when you’ve been in each other’s back pockets for so long. You’re both wise to acknowledge these feelings, however. If you are meant to be together long term it will happen. Regardless, I wish you the best in sorting things out. . . . and the beauty and wide open spaces of Africa will be a balm to your tortured soul.

    PS. Maybe you should find some Afghan biscuits to make you feel better 😉
    Larissa recently posted..Jerusalem, it’s complicated

    • Would love some Kiwi home baking at the moment to cheer me up!

      I think we have finally been honest with each other after a couple of months of trying to hide what was going on. Feels like a lot of pressure has been eased. Thanks Larissa.

  20. bronwen says:

    Love you both. x

  21. Jane says:

    Sorry to hear about this Cole. I hope that whatever happens in the long run that you both end up happy, whether that’s staying together or going in separate paths.

    This travel blog has always been a quality online publication and I have no doubt that this will continue whether or not you are writing about travel as a couple or writing about travelling solo, so please don’t worry too much about the slight change in content! Whatever angle you take with the content I know that this site will still offer useful and insightful content to other travellers. If anything breakups (be they temporary or permanent) are often part of travel as a couple so if anything the fact that you are being so honest about what you’re going through right now I’m sure will be helpful to other couples going through something similar. I look forward to hearing about your travels in Africa and hope that you get the time you need to make whatever the best decision is for you in the future.
    Jane recently posted..Photo of the Week – Sunset in Greece

    • Thanks so much for your comment Jane! I am sure a lot of other couples will find a post like this useful but it is still hard to write and read. I am sure once we have both had some space then we will see what happens. There will be plenty of lessons learnt posts anyway!

  22. Sorry to hear this, for both of you. Sometimes breaks can be just what people need, so don’t lose hope! It’s hard to feel like you’re going in two different directions, one wanting to travel, the other wanting to be more settled. That must be rough. I do hope it works out for you guys, though, even if it means you have to give up (or scale back on) traveling.
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..Confronting Cambodia’s tragic past, Part 3: The Killing Fields

  23. Hi Cole and Adela – very sorry to hear this. It is very tough to constantly travel in each other’s pocket, particularly when one wants to settle for a bit and the other wants to keep on. Hope the break is healing and that you both work it out when you’re ready. Best wishes

  24. Jeannie says:

    Aw, I’m so sorry to hear this, but as others said, maybe the break will do you both good to get perspective. We never did meet in Pamplona last year, so hopefully we meet up somewhere.
    Jeannie recently posted..Street Art in China: Wuxi

  25. Arti says:

    Aww… That must have been so difficult for you both. But I hope that you two meet again at the end of the forked road and travel again together. My best wishes with you both 🙂
    Arti recently posted..‘One Picture From My Photo Album’ Contest!

  26. Good luck to you and Adela, I hope you both find what you’re looking for.
    A Cook Not Mad (Nat) recently posted..5 Unlikely US Cities For Food Lovers

  27. Helen says:

    This sounds really sad, I’m pretty gutted for you both and wish you both good luck in the future.
    Helen recently posted..Whistle stop tour of Ireland- Wandering Albatross

  28. flip says:

    Hi Cole,

    Sorry to hear about this Cole. Hope it gets sorted out in the future. Goodluck and safe travels in Africa!
    flip recently posted..Top 15 Philippine Travel Blogs for 2013

  29. Lance says:

    So sorry to hear you are struggling. We’re pulling for you guys! We agree that its important to travel together before marriage. Good luck!
    Lance recently posted..Hoover Dam on the Colorado River

  30. Very sorry to hear this. No matter what happens, you’ve had a wonderful run and you’ve inspired lots of people to add more adventure to their lives in the process.
    Adventurous Kate recently posted..Ask Kate: How Do You Get By Without Speaking English?

  31. Matt says:

    Very sorry to hear about this…..hopefully all you guys need is a break and to follow your own paths for a bit. Have a blast in Africa though!
    Matt recently posted..Couchsurfing – Free lodging across the world?

  32. Rachel says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about your break Cole. Travelling with your partner can lead each person in different directions. I wish you and Adela the best and hope your time in Africa is exactly what you need.
    Rachel recently posted..Going local – food culture in Cambridge

  33. James says:

    Really sorry to hear this I have been following your blog for a while. A break is a good time to reassess what you want from life. My last girlfriend and I recently split for pretty much the same reason. She wanted to stay in Boston and I wasn’t ready to stay in one place.

    In the end though the split was the best decision for both of us. It allowed us to part as friends and leave the option of us being together in the future open.

    I also think it is a healthy mature way to move forward with your life. As if you change yourself too much for someone you stop being you. You lose that part of yourself that they were attracted to in the first place.

    Anyway sort of rambling now. I hope you are feeling ok about everything and handling it ok (it gets easier)I am looking forward to reading about Africa I have wanted to go back for a while now. Thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro.

    James recently posted..Je suis un cataphile!

    • Thanks James for the comment. Nice to hear from others that we are making the right decision. I couldn’t stay any longer in the UK due to my visa expiring and she just wasn’t ready to leave so kind of had to happen. Will be for the better in the long run though I think!

  34. Jo says:

    Sorry to hear this Cole, sending some N Z love your way. And geez I really put my foot in it,on that FB comment about Camino which you may remember.

    I hope you both get what you desire in life.

    In the meantime – Go Africa! I’m jealous
    Jo recently posted..Gibbston Valley – Ultimate Wine & Fine Food

  35. Lucy says:

    So sorry to hear this and sending both you and Adela all my best wishes. Differing priorities can upset the strongest relationships and it sounds like you are doing just the right thing by focusing on yourselves for a while. Hope it all works out for you both in the end and looking forward to reading about your African travels.
    Lucy recently posted..In pictures: Spring blooms in Keukenhof gardens

    • Thank you Lucy 🙂 We definitely agree that the time apart is a good thing, but damn it is hard after 5 years. Especially when travelling in remote places. But it is great to be put outside my comfort zones!

  36. Sorry to hear about four becoming two, Cole. Hoping it’s not a permanent break. And if it turns out to be, that’s it for the best.
    Matthew Hirtes recently posted..Puerto de Mogan

  37. I’m stuck in a similar situation as of last night, and it’s hard knowing that over five years for me, too, could be coming to an end. I wish the best for both of you and hope you find your way back to one another if it’s meant to be!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Dia del Libro: Barcelona’s Yearly Homage to the Book and my Favorite Books About Spain

  38. Im sorry to hear this, and I totally understand where you are coming from. Im stuck in Medellin at the moment, and even though i was so excited to come back, now that i’m here I feel like i’m expected to just be content living here and not traveling around…and it’s driving me insane!

    Im actually extremely happy to be getting out of Colombia in June for TBEX, then I head back to Vegas for a bit, and decide what to do next. I love my boyfriend to death, but I feel if I stay here (and living with his grandparents) too much longer, we will break up because I will go postal.

    I totally understand the need to travel. I hope you two can work things out, but if not, it is better to find out and be amicable and remain friends.
    Dani Blanchette recently posted..And Now We Go To A Stupid Island

    • It was both a feeling that I needed to get out of Edinburgh as it was dragging me down, but also the fact that my visa was up and I had to leave anyway. It is just a shame that Adela wasn’t ready yet to leave and we have had to part ways.
      I hope you manage to sort out your issues Dani and find some middle ground! The best thing to do is be honest with yourself, then each other 🙂

  39. I went through a similar situation, and I feel your pain. The person I moved to Bulgaria with was my companion for almost 9 years, and after more than two years of living there she ended up finding someone else and moving on, which put me into the solo traveler category.

    With that being said, the months afterwards were difficult, but I can also say that I eventually moved through it, made my way to Mexico, and have since met an amazing individual with whom I am now working with (Cris) and building my business with. We’ve been together for 2.5 years now, yet before I met her I swore I would never get over the “big love” of my 20s, the person I was with for almost 9 years.

    That being said…taking a break might be a good thing. Not all separations are permanent, and sometimes the two people just need a moment of self exploration. I am hoping all the best for the two of you, and I honesty hope that you end up back together and not apart, because traveling and exploring the world is much more enjoyable when you have someone to share it with, rather than alone.
    T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries recently posted..Comment on Unprotected Traveling – Forbidden Fruit Tastes Better by Bram | Travel. Experience. Live.

    • Thanks Tim so much for your support and comment. While it sucks that you went through a similar situation, it is nice hearing how you overcame that and have moved on to bigger and better things because of it!
      And definitely agree that all things are better when done together, just doesn’t always work out that way.

  40. Barbara says:

    You never know what will happen in the next three months. I know couples who are apart but still “together”. In November last year I met an Australian lady who lives in Siem Reap and is happily married, even though her husband lives in Melbourne. They see each other twice a year.

    Just as there are many ways to travel, there are many ways to be a couple. Don’t let geography tear you apart, if that’s the only problem.
    Barbara recently posted..Thu’s Amazing Mekong Delta Wedding

    • There were a couple of things that came to a head and meant we had to separate but we are still talking and hopefully will work things out 🙂 Thanks for your comment Barbara.

  41. Only two jandals!? Sorry to hear it buddy. I broke up with my girlfriend a few months after starting my trip, initially thinking that we could make a long-distance relationship work. It didn’t. While it was very difficult initially, overall it was for the best.

    Good luck in Africa! Can’t wait to read about those adventures.
    Matthew Karsten recently posted..Songkran Festival: A Wet & Wild Good Time

    • Cheers Matthew. It has been a shock to the system for sure, but I am actually relishing travelling solo. It is a completely new experience, although Africa has a lot to do with it I am sure! Such an amazing continent and I have only been in Kenya so far 😀

  42. Hey Cole, this must be tough but it sounds like you are making the right decision for you guys. Just don’t lose her from your life as a friend! I am sure it’ll all work out.
    Forest Parks recently posted..Stop Just Saying You Are Going To Travel and Start Preparing

  43. Jenna says:

    Sorry to hear it, Cole. I’ve had both relationships that break up over travel and those that grew stronger, but either way you need to find out. I totally agree with your travelling before marriage advice. Kudos for following your inner voice.
    Jenna recently posted..One Year Lived: Do young Americans need to get out of America to be globally competitive?

  44. Carri says:

    Thanks for your open, honest & raw post…those are the best & most interesting!
    Enjoy your upcoming adventures!

  45. I think what you have experience now as a couple is a part of making yourselves better from each other and this is not the end of the road for you guys.

  46. Laurel says:

    So sorry to hear this, but sounds like it’s the right thing for you guys to do at the moment. I just came back from trekking with gorillas a couple of days ago. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I’ve been to Africa 4 times and each time it leaves me wanting more. Enjoy!
    Laurel recently posted..Mountain Gorilla Mother and Baby Photo

  47. Jon Stark says:

    Hi Cole,
    Good luck with your adventures.
    Jenny and I are Aussie travellers.
    We’ve been together for 40 years, travelled together for 6+ years and still love every minute of it.
    Currently doing the Americas after Asia, Middle East and Europe last year.
    Cheers, Jon
    Jon Stark recently posted..World Series of Poker Main Event 2013

    • Thanks Jon (and great name by the way).
      You guys will love your travels and good luck. Hopefully will see you somewhere along the way. I’m currently in SE Asia.

  48. How did I miss this post?! I did wonder what had happened and now this explains things. I hope whatever happens, both of you guys will end up happy and fulfilled, whether it be together or not.

    I’ve been in a similar boat to you too, Cole. One of my most popular posts ever, ‘Why I Won’t Dump My Boyfriend To Travel’, was written earlier this year, right before we went to the USA together, and then he went back to Korea and I carried on travelling for a few more months. We split up when I went back to Korea for a couple of weeks in July, and I felt like an idiot for posting about things being so solid with my partner etc. Everything happens for a reason though, and although things are still a bit odd (we broke up in early August, so a couple of months ago now) I think it was the right decision. Who knows, our paths may cross again and we may end up back together in the future, maybe the same for you and Adela.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..What Am I Doing In England?

  49. Melisa says:

    Haha! I can really related to this. My husband and i been traveling since 2010 and I couldn’t count the argument, debate and cold war but it ended up to a deeper bond and love. Such a great site you have! Keep the love burning.

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