Stoke Travel – Story


Everything needs to be born, including your parents and even travel companies. Stoke was conceived in a dungeon, on a hill, in a house, in San Sebastian. It was the year 2006, as our lord’s crow falls, and one Stuey Jones and Toby Paramor sat on the floor, for lack of furniture, among the mould, for lack of ventilation, and conceived of a better way to spend summer than sitting on mouldy unventilated dungeon-floors drinking cheap cask wine, albeit in a stunning city.

They dreamed of Basque beaches across Spain and France, of camp grounds and cliff-top sunsets, and sunset cocktails, and sunset sessions, of pine forests and the open air – in short, of a better locale to drink cheap cask wine.

Alas this was the first board meeting, in the first boardroom, and with it Smashed Travel was born, and out of this messy birth breached a Surfari covering Spain and France, and an excuse for Stu and Toby to continue surfing and partying up and down the coast.

Our two pioneers printed black and white, hand-drawn flyers and handed them out on pub crawls, and then convinced backpackers to join them in their crudely spray painted VW van, loaded to the high heavens with surfboards, up and down the coast, in and out of all kinds of mischief.

Boy oh boy, didn’t the various law authorities delight in pulling us over whenever they could.




From these humble beginnings the brand grew, changing from Smashed to Stoke (try convincing your parents to fork out for a Smashed Travel tour), and we expanded rapidly. Our marketing plan was to simply Do whatever we feel like doing, go wherever we want to go, tell as many people as we can about it and hope that they turn up. The more that turn up, the bigger the party.

From this stroke of marketing genius the prospectus grew. First it was the Running of the Bulls, which was run out of a van parked on the side of the road (ask a Stokie about the Finnish hitchhiker and the 100gms of hash we didn’t know he was carrying until it was too late). Then the Rolling Circus, also run out of the van, from San Sebastian to Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich, aka the European guide on how to almost starve to death but still look cool. After the circus we set up at Oktoberfest, with a grand total of 100 Stokies (we now get well into the thousands), attracting the heckles of all the other, at that time more established, travel mobs, and the list just kept (keeps!) on growing.




The realisation that four months of summer a year aren’t enough to keep us fed for 12, we moved to Morocco for the winter months, partly to surf, somewhat to “dry out” (booze is hard to come by down there), totally to be immersed in a different culture. The Moroccan Surf House in Taghazout was born and continues to service winter refugees to this day. P.s. we totally found a beer source.




Needing a more permanent base we move to the funnest city in the known universe, Barcelona. From there we eked out an existence when we weren’t running amok in summer, or surfing in Morocco. Times were tough in parts, Stokies were known to live off donated kebab bottoms and perform bar tricks for half-drunk beers, but we survived.

From there Barcelona has become our base. We now donate the half-eaten kebabs to more needy travellers and fully drink our own beers, but the spirit of survival that helped us get through those long European winters haven’t been forgotten. In fact, just ask us about them, we’ll be happy to regale you in fine detail about just how tough we did it while we were getting set up.




After a while more and more backpackers and students were joining in on our madness, and things got a little serious. We consulted lawyers and other people with shoes and determined it was time to get legal. Offices were sought, staff hired who actually knew things, and Stoke Travel became an official, although oftentimes not for profit (unintentionally), business.




Realising that he’s not going away anytime soon, Toby and Stu take on long-time Surfari manager, Wade Gravy, on as a partner. The plan is to create media the likes of which backpacker travel has never seen. Advertisements are created, and banned; provocation ensues with gratuitous honesty. At that time we figured that backpackers just wanted to have fun, to party and make out with each other, and see sights but not as a part of a checklist. Nothing’s really changed….




A chance meeting with Denis Geary, the dreadlocked CEO of Wicked Campers Europe, results in a diabolical partnership that sees Wicked use Stoke for their festival needs and Stoke using Wicked for their notoriety and professionalism. The garish and provocative Wicked fleet joins Stoke and the party doubles, as does our pulling power at Europe’s festivals. This partnership really gets things cranking.




It seemed like a no-brainer – get a bar, thereby fulfilling our fantasies, and using it to make big bucks, and act as a HQ for our travel operations. Turns out it was a bit of a no-brainer, as Stoke’s productivity hit an all-time low during this époque – who would have thought that we’d drink our own bar dry?




Since those halcyon days Stoke has only gone from strength to strength, achieving annual growth of over 50% between 2011-2014. We’ve now expanded to some 24 destinations and counting Europe wide, as well as forays into Morocco, as mentioned, and Brazil.

Canadian mega-travel-group, I Love Travel, join with Stoke and with them bring much needed experience and professionalism, blowing Stoke’s latest yearly numbers to over 16,500 guests, who between them put away some 90,000L of beer. And we’re only just beginning.

Next year Stoke will be moving into media, with the Stoke Media Co. producing its first multi-media travel documentary experience, 50 Fiestas, a madcap trip through the insanities of Spain’s festival circuit. The Running Of The Bulls is tame compared to some of the spectacles we’ve dug up.

We’re also looking closely at Virgin’s forays into outer space, I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a bit of a Buzz Aldrin on and make out with beautiful strangers in outer space…

The next step in Stoke’s history involves you, so come along and etch your name into our epic, ever evolving life story. Come on, it’s about time you became a Stokie.



To be continued...


36 hours in Rome: Selfie Sticks, Piss Puddles and Free Fiestas

5 Fiestas You Didn’t Know In Spain

5 Internet Faux Pas You Should Know Better Than

5 Reasons Drinking Beer In Spring Is A Great Idea

5 Reasons Las Fallas in Valencia beats St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

5 Songs That Every Buttlicker With an Acoustic Guitar Will Play in the Hostel Common Room

50 Fiestas Episode Six: The Tall Story Of Saint James

6 Unexpected Delights of Stoketoberfest

7 Amazing Places You Should Visit In Europe This Spring

7 Reasons You Should Take a Stoke Sleeper Bus to Oktoberfest

7 Things To Avoid For The Nouveau Backpacker

7 Ways To Prepare For Your Andorra Trip

8 Easy Steps To Fuck Up International Travel…

8 Kinds of People You’ll Find in Beer Halls

A Bender To End All Benders

A Kook’s Guide To Learning How Not To Surf

A letter to my future travel partner

A Little Gossip And A Bottle Of Booze On The Boat

Andorra Destination Guide

April 2016

Australia Day In Spain

Bar Crawling through Joaquín Costa, Barcelona

Barcelona – Eat – Drink – Do

Barcelona baby, you have my heart

Barcelona is the Spookiest Place to Spend Halloween

Barcelona: A Newbie’s First Impressions

Barcelona: Day Zero Impressions

Barcelona’s Best Bars

Barcelona’s Best Sandwiches

Big* Swellings And Strange Rumblings In Stokelandia

Blackmail & Bumming Around The World

Boat Parties: Budapest and Barcelona

Boozed And Bruised

Boozeletter: Five Things About Oktoberfest Beer

Boozeletter: King’s Day in Amsterdam

Boozeletter: Spring Has Sprung

Breaking News: Catalan Independence To Be Decided By El Clasico

Breaking News: It’s Not Millennials Fault They Suck At Life

BREAKING: Barcelona To Receive Artificial Wave Pool

BREAKING: Cloud Cover Ruins Super Moon

BREAKING: Stoke Travel Bans Donald Trump From All Future Events

Carnival In Spain

Chicken or beef?

Clowns of The Rolling Circus: Part I

Clowns of the Rolling Circus: Part II

Confessions Of A Tasmanian Intern

Donald Trump Issues Stoke Travel Ban

East Coast Spirit Fairy Has Faith In Universe Restored

Eight Summer Travel Insties That You’re Sick Of Seeing and the Truth Behind Them

Eight things that WILL happen to you at Oktoberfest.

February 2016

First Days In Barcelona

First Impressions: Barcelona

Five Reasons Andalucia Is The “Real” Spain

Five Reasons Why Winter in Barcelona is Hotter Than a Sunday Afternoon Pornhub Marathon

Five Reasons Why You Should Live In Spain With Us

Five Silver Linings to Going Home

Five Tinder Travel Pics You’re Sick of Seeing and Why They Are Red Flags

Five Ways To Prepare For Ibiza NOW

Forget the new car, get your ass on a plane

Four Reasons Las Fallas Is The Hottest Festival In Spain

Four Reasons You Should Never Travel With Friends

From Fiery Beginnings: The History of Las Fallas

Getting Shitfaced At San Fermin

Girl Gone International – The Worst Thing on the Internet?

Guiris Guide to Jerez and Cadizfornia

Happy New Year Boozeletter

How to get tomato seeds out of every orifice

How to Keep Yourself Clothed And On the Road

How to pick up a Spaniard.

How To Spring Break, European Style

How to survive Running with the Bulls

How to tell when you’re more ‘Wandercrust’ than Wanderlust

How To Travel For Free: Stoke’s Seven Tips To Get Started

Hunt For The #UltimateFestHacks

Ibiza Opening Parties 2017

Ibiza: So Much More Than A Party Destination

If Pillows Could Talk

Interview with Kelly Slater

January 2016: Christmas

June 2016: Stoketoberfest

Just Some Gossip For Shits And Giggles

La Mercè: Barcelona’s Biggest Fiesta

La Tomatina in 24 hours

La Tomatina: So Much More Than A Tomato Fight

Letter to the President

March 2016: Flexibility Poses

May 2016: Grannies

Messy On The First Day

Mighty Kastle City Break

Needed: Lord Of The Food

New World Record For Biggest Nude Run

Nine Things That Hobart and Barcelona Have in Common (Besides Latitude)

Oktoberfest in Spring?

Oktoberfest need-to-knows.

Petrified at Pamplona Bull Run

Prague: Police And Justice In One Night

Pre-Apocalypse Party

Press Release: Stoke to Move All Beach Camps to Tasmania in 2017


Pros And Cons Of Travelling Solo

Pros And Cons Of Travelling With Bae

Revelations Of An Intern: Barcelona

Seasons Beatings

Seven Photos That Sum Up Springfest 2017

Seven Places To Visit In 2017

Seven Tips for Your First Time Snowboarding with Stoke

Sitges Carnival From Barcelona

Six ‘Easy’ Ways To Save Money For Europe 2017

Spanish Music To Get You Psyched For A Night Out

Springfest Set To Upstage Better Known Cousin


Stoke Boozeletter 16/12/16

Stoke CEO and Chairman of the Board Under Fire Over Leaked Emails

Stoke Chairman Wade Gravy Announces New Side Project

Stoke History of Running of the Bulls and San Fermín

Stoke Travel Announces Equally Shitty 2017

Stoke Travel Boozeletter: The Resolutions Are All Broken

Stoke Travel Is For Lovers

Stoke Travel Leadership See Dollar Signs at the Possibility of a Trump Victory

Stoke Travel Wrap – Up Special San Vino

Stoke’s Brief Guide To The Basque Country

Stoke’s Guide to Lining the Gut

Stoke’s guide to Oktoberfest tent-a-sutra

Stoke’s Spanish Phrasebook

Stoke’s Spring Schedule 2017

Stoke’s Favorite #kookslams (And How To Avoid Them)

Stoke’s No Ragrets #bucketlist

Stokies In Extremadura: Notes From The Countryside

Studying Abroad? 7 tips on how to find the perfect apartment for you!

Surfing And Road Tripping

Ten Realisations For The Recently Returned Traveller

The 5 types of pub crawlers you’ll meet

The ABCs of Oktoberfest

The Art Of The Hunt

The Best Barcelona Boat Party

The Best Of Ibiza

The Best Passport In The World

The Best Surf Spots in Spain and France

The Best Things To Do In Munich (Aside From Oktoberfest)

The Biggest Off-Oktoberfest Party

The Five Senses of the Rolling Circus

The Five Stages of Your European Summer Comedown

The Horrible History Of Barcelona’s Saint Eulalia

The Hottest DJs In Ibiza This Summer

The New And Improved Stoke Travel Passport

The Nude Run In San Fermin

The Rickshaw Run

The Shit List: Ten Things to Do On Las Ramblas on a Saturday Night Before You Die

The Silver Lining: Mo’ Trump Mo’ Travels

The Stages Of Being A Surf Newbie

The stages of being Oktoberfest drunk.

The View of a Lonely Traveler Visiting Barcelona

The Wheels On The Bus

The Wonderful World Of Stoke Add-Ons

They Say Travelling Will Change You… For The Worse, You Chubby Funster. Five Ways To Piss Off The Pudge

Things To Do Next Week

Three Fiery Spanish Fiestas

Three Girls, One Castle

Three Guiri Mistakes Not To Make

Three Reasons Why Morocco is Safer and Better than Europe

Three Stories You’re Guaranteed To Hear In Every Hostel Common Room

Time to Euroventure out of mundanity and into the world

Too many options

Travel Jobs In Europe

Travelling to Find Yourself – Fully Feasible or Full of Shit?

Trouble In Paradise

Trump Goes On Surfari With Stoke Travel

UN Urges Global Move Towards Stoke Travel

VIDEO: Barcelona Study Abroad With Stoke Travel

Weird European Christmas Traditions

Welcome To Tentertainment

What is Springfest in Munich?

What Living In Europe Teaches You As An Australian

What Uni Teaches You vs What Travelling Teaches You

When It’s Not Ya Christmas, But It’s Not Ya New Year’s Either

Where to stay for your Study Abroad – in between partying with Stoke Travel

Who Is Spring Break Ibiza For

Why 24 Hours Of Las Fallas Is Nowhere Near Enough

Why Stoketoberfest Is Better Than A Hostel

Why travelling turns perfectly balanced humans into raging nymphomaniacs.

Working Out On The Road

World’s Best Beer Festivals

Currency: Stoke Travel - Currency euros