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From Four Jandals to Two Jandals

It sucks to be breaking up while travelling, but sometimes it is a necessity. Find out why we are going from Four Jandals to Two Jandals.



Romance in San Sebastian Cole and Adela

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?

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. Beverley | Pack Your Passport

    April 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    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.


    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 1:06 AM

      That sucks to hear Beverley but at least you have found a fantastic support network of friends in Auckland! Good luck and thanks for sharing your story too 🙂

      Hopefully catch up when I return to NZ at the end of the year!

  2. Charli l Wanderlusters

    April 18, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      Thanks Charli 🙂 It was a shame that we had to make the decision but because my visa was up and Adela wasn’t quite ready to leave we had to do something.
      This seemed the best option and at least we are still talking!

  3. brandy bell

    April 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      Cheers Brandy 🙂 We were never big on the Blog-Displays of Affection but we also want to be as honest as we can.
      Figuring out what we both want by being apart may just help us out in the long run anyway.

  4. Sebastian @

    April 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Thanks Sebastian. I am sure we will figure something out but for now my time was up in the UK and Adela just wasn’t quite ready. Will see what the future brings but Africa is definitely a welcome distraction!

  5. Lyndsay

    April 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      It honestly terrified me about setting off along after travelling together for nearly 4 years! But solo travel is also great because it is pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to make more of an effort. Still get lonely during downtime but I also embrace it now too 🙂
      Thanks for sharing Lyndsay!

      • Lyndsay

        February 27, 2015 at 9:17 PM

        You’ll enjoy it more than you think you will, no worries! What else would happen after it gets worse? It’s going to get better! 🙂

  6. Adam @ SitDownDisco

    April 18, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Thanks Adam. Being out and about while solo travelling is definitely helping me heal so will be great to see where it leads me.

  7. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    April 18, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    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…

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      A few different things just transpired against us and led to this but at least we are still talking to one another 🙂 Thanks for your kind words Bret!

  8. Steph

    April 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      The next 3 months are going to be pretty full on! So definitely a nice distraction 🙂 It is just a pity that my visa expired for the UK and Adela wasn’t quite ready to leave yet. But I am sure we will keep talking and who knows what will happen!

  9. InACents

    April 18, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Sorry to hear about your change, and hopefully it brings you both happiness!

  10. Talon

    April 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      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. Nicole @ Suitcase Stories

    April 18, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      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

    April 18, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      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

    April 18, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      Thank you Nellie 🙂 And one of the reasons I chose Africa was because of your guys posts and photos!

  14. JR Riel

    April 18, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    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. 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:34 AM

      Was just one of those posts that just flowed out and then I decided not to even edit it. Thanks for your comment and kind words JR 🙂

  15. Laurence

    April 18, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      It was definitely make or break time but this space was needed for both of us. Can’t wait to get some photos up of Africa in the next week or so once I start exploring!

  16. Ash Clark

    April 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:32 AM

      Can’t wait to share my African adventures here too. And thanks for your nice words Ash 🙂

  17. Peter Parkorr

    April 18, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    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

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      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

    April 18, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      Africa is definitely going to keep me occupied for the next 3 months! Not sure what will happen after that but at least I have time to figure it out 🙂

  19. Larissa

    April 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    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 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      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

    April 18, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Love you both. x

  21. Jane

    April 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      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. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    April 18, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:20 AM

      Much appreciated for your comment Ellen 🙂 I think this time apart will do us wonders, but if not then we will work out that too!

  23. Steve Keenan

    April 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    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

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:19 AM

      Thank you Steve. Means a lot to hear from you and I am sure the time apart will do us both good.

  24. Jeannie

    April 19, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      Will be travelling through SE Asia after Africa so hopefully catch up there. And thanks for the kind words 🙂

  25. Arti

    April 19, 2013 at 3:55 AM

    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 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:17 AM

      Much appreciated Arti. It is tough being far away from our families for support but also good to have the time apart I think. Will see what the future brings!

  26. A Cook Not Mad (Nat)

    April 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Good luck to you and Adela, I hope you both find what you’re looking for.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      Cheers Nat. I am sure with a bit of space we will be able to sort something out.

  27. Helen

    April 19, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    This sounds really sad, I’m pretty gutted for you both and wish you both good luck in the future.

  28. flip

    April 19, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Hi Cole,

    Sorry to hear about this Cole. Hope it gets sorted out in the future. Goodluck and safe travels in Africa!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 20, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      Thanks Flip. Africa will be an amazing distraction!

  29. Lance

    April 20, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 21, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Thank you Lance. Will see what the future brings 🙂

  30. Adventurous Kate

    April 20, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 21, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      Thanks Kate 🙂 One of the reasons I decided to write the post is because I have seen how open you are on your blog. Cheers.

  31. Matt

    April 20, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    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!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 21, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Africa is already awesome and I have only been here 2 nights! Thanks for the kind words too Matt.

  32. Rachel

    April 20, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 21, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      At least we are still mutually talking and hope that this little time apart will lead to something bigger again. Thanks Rachel 🙂

  33. James

    April 21, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    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.


    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      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

    April 22, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    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

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      Thanks Jo it’s much appreciated 🙂 The time apart will help us both clear our heads so that we can hopefully rekindle something.

  35. Lucy

    April 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    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.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      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. Matthew Hirtes

    April 23, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    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.