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Adventure Travel

Finding a lost love in San Sebastian

I recently rediscovered a passion for surfing while travelling and surfing in San Sebastian which I had previously lost.



Stoke Travel San Sebastian Surf Camp

Have you ever been travelling and re-discovered a love for something that you hadn’t realised you had lost? Something that you had been so passionate about that you would do anything to get your next fix?

Stoke Travel San Sebastian Surf Camp

Growing up my life was all about surfing.

Every day after school I would beg my parents to drive me to the local beach for a wave. Once I had my own car all my spare time was spent along the coast.

My vocabulary actually consisted of very little apart from surfing terms. Sick, gnarly and stoked punctuated every sentence. Posters glittered on my bedroom walls and my hero’s were Patrick O’Connell and Robert “Wingnut” Weaver from the movie The Endless Summer II.

Unfortunately as with most things in life other priorities began to take over. I moved away from the beach for University, pursued other sports and started travelling. My passion for surfing slowly dwindled to the occasional chance when I would grab my board to re-spark that fire for a day or two.

For three years we have been travelling the world and in that time I have probably surfed no more than 10 days in total.

Until now. Over the last week we have been staying at the Stoke Travel San Sebastian Surf Camp in the northwest of Spain. It has been here that I have rediscovered that lost love.

Surfing in San Sebastian, Stoke Travel

Adela surfing in San Sebastian

Every day since we arrived I have been pursuing that perfect wave that every surfer seeks.

I have been pursuing the feelings that only a surfer can understand. No other sports, adventures or activities can come close to producing the feelings that surfing can. Even if you are having the worst day in the world and then surfing will always relax and reinvigorated you.

There is just something about surfing that always makes me happy.

Sitting on my board gazing towards the horizon watching as the swell lines slowly pulse towards the shore. Each wave begins to take shape as the swell pushes against the sea floor bringing a rush of adrenaline into my muscles. Holding my breath as I flick the surfboard around and begin to paddle as the wave rises beneath me.

Springing to my feet I can feel the raw power of the sea as I glide down the waves face.

White water crashes behind my surfboard fins, spitting and sucking at me trying to pull me under. Even as I pull off the wave as it closes out around me I find a grin plastered across my face. It’s all I can do not to run up and down the beach skipping like a madman after each wave.

Stoke Travel San Sebastian Surf Camp

Rediscovering my passion for surfing over the last week has made me realise that I don’t want to lose this feeling. This is my vow to make sure I continue to travel for the things I love.

Have you recently re-discovered something that you used to love? Tell us below.

Disclaimer: Stoke Travel have been helping me re-discover that lost love at their San Sebastian Surf Camp. However, as always our thoughts are our own.

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.

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  1. Laurence

    July 24, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I haven’t recently rediscovered anything, but I too used to spend a lot of time in the sea, canoe surfing the reef waves on the island I grew up on. I also used to sail a lot, and not too long ago I had a blast learning to windsurf. I should try doing those again… I just need to find some tropical beaches as I’m not a fan of the cooler waters around here…

  2. Tim @ Marginal Boundaries

    July 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    My brother is a huge surfing nut, but I have to admit I’ve never gotten into it 🙂 I’d like to try one day….stories like this give me motivation. But while I live near the beach (Cancun) there’s not much in the way of breaks for surfing here, so maybe in the next destination I head to!

    Hiking, trekking and camping, on the other hand…that’s something I love sinking my teeth into :)Give me a chance to head off into the wilderness for a couple of weeks and I’m there!

  3. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    July 25, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    I tried surfing once and it was intense!! Granted, I was on the Oregon Coast… and even wearing a full wetsuit I still couldn’t feel my legs. I’d love to try it again in warmer water, and with a lesson or ten. 🙂

  4. Jeremy Branham

    July 26, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    I’ve never surfed once in my entire life. However, I do understand. Growing up, I loved college football. It’s one of the MANY reasons I love Autumn. However, it only dawned on me last year to put my two greatest passions together – sports and travel. Last year, the College Football Travel Tour was born combining the world of sports AND travel. I only wish I had done this sooner.

  5. Ali

    July 26, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    I’m glad you rediscovered your passion for surfing. For me I think traveling just reminded me how much I love to travel. I went 8 years in my 20s without leaving the country, and when I finally decided to plan a trip to Greece I wondered what I had been waiting for. It snowballed from there, and now I can’t get enough.

  6. Turtle

    July 26, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    I can see how surfing would stay in your blood (and water) for life.
    For me, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my love of having spare time 🙂

  7. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    July 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    We’re stoked for you, dude! Rad post!

  8. jade

    July 27, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I love surfing too, and it is easy to forget the love when you haven’t been on a board in a long time. something about the surge of the waves and the energy is so powerful!

  9. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    July 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    I am not that into surfing, but someone who is told me to Watch Endless Summer. Great film, but I suck at surfing 🙂

  10. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    July 28, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Never been surfing, but have a great respect for the sport and LOVE photographing surfers. So excited for you that you were able to reconnect with your long-lost love. i kind of feel the same way about playing music, which I haven’t done since I gave up performing improv last year. I definitely miss it.

  11. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    July 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    We haven’t rediscovered things as much as discovered for the first time all the amazing things there are to see and do around the world. Neither of us has the nerve to get up on a surfboard, though. I’d like to keep that as a romantic vision watching others rather than a crashing, too much sea water up the nose personal experience 🙂

  12. Spencer

    July 30, 2012 at 5:34 AM

    I love San Sebastian! The two beaches there are fantastic and the alleyways of the old town are fascinating.

  13. Tom

    July 30, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    Beautifully written, Cole – and awesome to hear you’ve rekindled a passion from your youth. Some day way into the future I plan on doing the same thing with Lego 😉

  14. Flora

    August 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Awesome post! I recently taught some impromptu English classes at a village school in Thailand and they handed me a guitar to play some songs to help the teaching along. When I saw how much the kids loved the music element to their class, it brought back all my memories of teaching myself to play guitar years ago. Now I’m resolved to start playing again when I get back home – all thanks to those kids 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      August 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      That’s such a fantastic story Flora! So glad you are going to start playing music again. Really need to pick up a guitar one day and start learning as well.

  15. Alexandra

    August 11, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Born and raised in Maui and I don’t surf! Blasphemy I know! One of these days I will concur my fears and get my ass on a board! Glad to see you rediscovered your love!


    • Cole Burmester

      August 13, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      That is blasphemy! Would love to surf in Hawaii but would have to be on a small day than some of the videos I have seen 🙂

  16. Michal_Wroclaw_Guide

    August 13, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Hi, It’s great that you like San Sebastian, as it will be The European Capital of Culture in 2016 as well as Wroclaw in Poland. See you in Wroclaw:)

    greetings Michal:)

    • Cole Burmester

      August 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      We will definitely visit you in Wroclaw in the near future Michal!

  17. Michal_Wroclaw_guide

    August 14, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    See you in Wroclaw:))

    best regards


  18. Aggy

    September 17, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Wow nice article! Never surfed before but always wish I could…maybe one of these days I should! I found my lost love for dancing in Bali, I used to dance Balinese when I was a kid then stopped in high school. Being in Bali this summer made me realised how much I miss it!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      That is so cool that you re-found Balinese dance! Hope you find a way to keep doing it when you return home 🙂

  19. Charu

    September 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    We love windsurfing (not plain surfing) and recently found it during our adventures in Aruba. Love this post! Kudos to you for going with your passions…

    • Cole Burmester

      September 18, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      I used to try wind surfing but was never that good. Always wanted to try kite surfing too! Something I need to follow up on 🙂

  20. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    September 21, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    You describe your passion for surfing beautifully. While we’re not surfers, we do have a passion for water- ocean, lake, river. Being around water give us peace and rejuvenates us. Thanks for sharing your story of re-discovering a lost love 🙂

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.



Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping



Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!


Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.


For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.


One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.


Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel



Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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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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