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Newcomer Interviews

Travel Blogger Feature: Cole and Adela – Four Jandals

February 13, 2012
Cole and Adela - Top of Marmot Basin Ski Area

This week, our travel blogger newcomer interview is with Cole & Adela of Four Jandals. They are a Kiwi adventure couple currently settled in Scotland. Their travels have brought them around the US, Canada and the Pacific islands. They are one of my good buds online and I’m happy to have them on this section.

Here’s my short interview with Cole and Adela of Four Jandals. 

Cole and Adela, Top of Marmot Basin Ski Area

Name Adela May and Cole Burmester
Where are you from? New Zealand
Twitter Page:!/fourjandals
Facebook Fan Page:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

We are a Kiwi Couple who love adventure travel and our Jandals (Flip Flops). We have been travelling and working around this tiny little planet of ours for over 2 years and have plans for a few more years yet. We first started our OE (Overseas experience) in Canada working in the middle of the Canadian Rockies for a year before moving to the UK. We are currently working as a Recruitment consultant and Wind Farm Planner in Edinburgh and trying to see as much of Europe as we can.

Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

We did an epic road trip across Canada and USA over 8 weeks in a converted Dodge van with a bed in the back. We drove 18,000km and saw some life changing sights. Initially we just wanted some way to ensure that we would never forget the great experience we had so we kept a diary whilst driving. Once we arrived in the UK, Cole thought having a blog would ensure we could keep the memories forever. It was also a way to keep family and friends updated on our travels. Cole realised how much he enjoyed blogging and we have been lucky enough to capture the interest of a few people and now we dream of doing this full time. We are hooked!

What’s the most challenging part of being a travel blogger?

Adela: Getting Cole off the computer haha. We actually just brought a new computer so we can both work at the same time, as it takes so much time to actually keep up a decent blog. Every article requires so much effort and then you want to ensure you are spending enough time interacting with your followers and other travel bloggers through our Social Media channels.

Cole: Definitely the time involved. We try to post a minimum of 3 articles a week and barely have time to do that. It is really hard when travelling to sit down after a long day touring a city or mountain biking to come back and write it up. Wish we could make it into a fulltime job.

Can you tell us about your first travel experience?

Adela: This is not the first time I travelled but i would class it as my first ‘travel experience’. When I was 15 I went to Hong Kong with my family and it was such an eye opening experience. Everything was so different to home. The sights, sounds, smells, language and I absolutely loved it! That trip made me realise how diverse the world is and it made me want to explore as many different countries and cultures as possible. Safe to say this is where I caught the travel bug.

Cole: Being from New Zealand meant that we often just travelled as a family to Australia or the Pacific Islands. While family holidays are fun, most of the time you seem to spend time in the kids club etc. So my first “travel experience” was similar to Adela but I went to Indonesia. The culture shock opened my eyes to a world outside New Zealand. Have loved travelling ever since.

Cole and Adela Rafting in Jasper National Park

What’s your favourite destination and why?

Apart from New Zealand we both agree on the Canadian Rockies. The views are amazing, as are the lakes. You can bike for an hour and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. I love climbing up a mountain and feeling like I am so small compared to the wilderness around me. It always made me feel calm and free. Also the wild life there is something else!

 If you can travel with a real or fictional character, who will you travel with and why?

Adela: Bear Grylls. Because you would have some awesome adventures and if you ever got caught in a pickle he would be the best person to be with! Plus I am currently reading his account of climbing Everest, “Facing up”, which is a great read.

Cole: Any comedian who could turn any problem into a joke. Laughter really is the best medicine at turning a bad situation into a manageable one.

What’s your favourite travel quote (from a book, film, TV show etc)?

Adela: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Cole: A little inappropriate and not strictly a travel quote but it is searching which I relate to travel. “Surfing is like a pair of tits, you are always searching for the perfect set.” –  Anonymous

If you have one flight ticket to go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where will you go?

Adela: Keeping the time of year in mind, I would probably jump on a plane to Vietnam to cycle the Mekong Delta River. I have always dreamed of cycling through a country and it seems like an awesome way to see the land and reach some destinations modern transport cannot.

What is the strangest thing you have eaten, drank or experienced on your travels?

Adela: Snails in Paris – cliché I know. But still!!!

Cole: Not a meal or a drink but an experience. We were parked at a truck stop in Las Vegas when driving across USA and a crazy guy on some sort of drugs kept banging on the car and singing. Pretty damn scary and had to drive off in the middle of the night.

Advice to fellow newbie travel bloggers.

Just write consistently for yourself and the success will come. It is more important that you are happy with what you are writing than anyone else.


“Four Jandals is a travel blog that focuses largely on our adventure travel activities and gives other travellers the opportunity to obtain travel tips tips. It provides an insight into our feelings and individual experiences as we make our way around the world in our trusty jandals (flip flops).”


All photos in this post are Adela and Cole’s property but are hosted on this blog’s flickr count. All rights remain with Adela & Cole.

Do you want to be interviewed on our next session of Talk with a Travel Newcomer? The only requirement of course is that you have to be a newbie travel blogger.  Contact me  if you’d like to be featured!

Newcomer Interviews, Travel Blog

Travel Blogger Feature: Neil – Backpacks and Bunkbeds

November 28, 2011
Neil - Backpacks and Bunkbeds

Welcome to a new series in my blog!

After writing about my thoughts on being a new travel blogger, I decided to start a new series on my blog that features travel bloggers who are newcomers like me. I think that it will be nice to offer a bit of space to introduce newbie bloggers to the big travel blogging industry. This interview will run weekly every Monday.

To start things off, my first interview will be with Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds.

I remember meeting Neil through #TTOT and have started my travel blogging journeys with him. He’s been a good mate and had been helpful enough when it comes to giving some external advice to some of my blogging questions. He has travelled a great deal as well in Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia!

Here goes my short interview with Neil:

Name: Neil
Age: 27
Current location:  London
Home town:  London
Twitter: @packsandbunks

1.       Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your travel blog?

Hi, I’m Neil.  27 and from London.  I currently work the 9-5, dreaming of escape to glorious, distant lands where it doesn’t rain 95% of the time.  I am the creator and editor of the travel blog which is my online travel diary, full of stories, images, tips etc.

As blogs go it’s pretty casual, and written as a traveller rather than as a travel professional in the hope that other travellers can relate to what I’m writing about.    The site’s still pretty new, so hopefully it’ll start to look a bit more polished in time.  I’m pretty happy with it at the moment though.

2. Why did you decide to start a travel blog?

After getting back from my RTW trip in 2007 and splitting from the girlfriend I’d met on said trip, I needed something to focus my thought around.  I ended up going to night school to learn web design.  I’ll miss out the gory details, but was born out of a passion for web design and diarising my travel stories.

3. Can you tell us about your first travel experience?

South Africa 2005.  Five weeks volunteering as a football and rugby coach in Port Elizabeth, followed by two extra weeks travelling the Garden Route to Cape Town.

It was a total blast spending five weeks in a volunteer house, playing sport every day and going out ‘socialising’ most nights.  It was a bit like university, just in warmer climates.  Each weekend we would have the chance to travel, a favourite destination amongst the group was Coffee Bay.  Our weekend travels also led a number of our group to jump off of bridges and out of planes.  South Africa was a seriously fun time in my life!  It was so good I actually had quite a hard time getting over it once I landed back home.

4.  What’s your favourite destination?

Sri Lanka – It’s got everything I want and all within a relatively small space.  No long journeys and no worries.  The people, food, weather etc are all amazing.

Neil - 25Travels interview

I believe the country is totally under-rated in travelling circles, but in a selfish way that’s good as it means it’s not overrun with tourist and I can still consider it my little paradise.

5. What’s your most memorable travel moment?

Wow, now that’s a toughie!  I’ve been very very lucky with my travels.  They’ve taken me all over the place and I’ve seen some amazing things. Picking out a single favourite is just a wee bit too tough.  My highlights would include diving on the Great Barrier Reef, living with a native Fijian tribe, watching the sunrise at Uluru, Climbing Adams Peak in time for sunrise in Sri Lanka, doing the world’s highest bungee jump (at the time) in South Africa … the list goes on.  Sorry, but I’ll have to pass on picking just one.

Neil - 25Travels interview

 6. If you can travel with anyone famous, who will you travel with and why?

Definitely Bear Gyrlls if it was out in the wilderness, as he would probably save me from some form of gruesome death at the hands (or feet) of giant killer ants.

If I was in somewhat more comfortable surroundings I’d probably like to travel with a band i.e. on a tour.  Not quite backpacking, but its travelling none the less.  My favourite act at the moment is Chase & Status, so I’ll go with those chaps.

 7. Your ultimate travel dream

Being a bit out there, I’d like to say my ultimate dream would be to travel to another planet.  I have trouble grasping that this is the only inhabitable planet out there.

Closer to home it would have to be South America, for six months at the very least,  ideally during a year when the FIFA world cup was taking place.  I imagine the celebrations would be rather extravagant and I’d love to be able to join in.  I’d also like to teach English out there and try learn some Spanish myself.

 8.    What’s the best advice you can give to your travel readers?

When travelling – Take chances and make mistakes, it’s the best way to learn and find things you’d have otherwise missed.

When blogging – SEO is important, but content is king.  I’m sure you’re heard that 100 times over, but its true.  Write content that is engaging and ask questions.  Include your audience, and when they respond to your writing, you should respond to them.

Visit his blog –

Neil - 25Travels interview

Do you want to be interviewed on our next session of Talk with a Travel Newcomer? The only requirement of course is that you have to be a newbie travel blogger.  Contact me  if you’d like to be featured!

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