Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay

Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay. Photo © We Heart

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Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay

Hitting pause on daily life and leaping into the unknown, a six-month Iberian adventure is now an indispensable visual travel guide...

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” André Gide. From the quote that lies on the front inside of the book’s partial dust jacket, you know that this is a project about pushing yourself.

Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide

Connor the Camper, Praia da Bordeira, Algarve, Portugal © Veerle Helsen

Inspirational in content and alluring in aesthetic, Surf & Stay is a handsome, 304-page tome born from—and documenting in excellent detail—author Veerle Helsen’s desire to press pause on the daily grind and take a leap into the unknown. “It hit me like a train one day, soon after I’d turned 35,” admits the Belgian architecture journalist. “Sitting in motorway traffic on the way to work, I realised there was something missing from my life: I’d stopped trying to live my dreams and challenge myself—I was stuck on autopilot.”

Fuelled by a five year itch to travel, learn photography, and improve her surfing skills, surfing enthusiast Veerle stepped out of the hamster wheel to traverse the coastlines of Portugal and northern Spain with Connor the 19-year-old camper-van; searching for secret beaches, salty air and spirituality, making lasting bonds with various surfing communities along the way.

Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide

Veerle in San Sebastian, Spain

With a motto to “surf, see, sleep and eat”, Helsen chronicles in words and extensive photography how her days were spent riding waves and eating fresh catch with evenings spent on the edge of the world; Connor her home, the ocean her backyard. Penetrating the nooks and crannies of the western Algarve—”exploring like a maniac without a goal or compass. Watching, driving, hiking, searching and chatting”—it wasn’t long before this stretch of Portugal got under her skin, breaking down the stresses of ‘real life’ bit by bit.

“I slowly adapted to the rhythm of the sea,” she continues. “I learned to rearrange my thoughts in the evening light and stop attaching so much importance to time—the sea has no idea it’s Tuesday morning.”

From here up to the northern Spanish coast, Helsen’s epic journey is dictated by the rhythm of nature—life’s treadmill a fading memory. Accompanied by beautiful surf photography—from the likes of João Bracourt; Bruno Baleixo; Jaider Lozano; and Karo Krassel—the Lannoo-published hardback is a visual travel guide of where to surf, sleep and eat; dismissing the classic tourist image of Spain and Portugal and introducing readers to authentic beach restaurants, hidden hotels (like Lagos’s Casa Mãe), architectural gems (including one of Oscar Niemeyer‘s rare works outside Brazil), and the secret camper sites travellers need to recreate their own idyllic surf odyssey.

A tale of travel and disconnection, life on the road and realigning your psyche to what makes your heart burn, Veerle Helsen’s Surf & Stay is a vital body of work; a unique and personal travel guide that should not be missed.

@veerlehelsen
@lannoopublishers

Salinas, Asturias, Spain © Thomas Lodin

Salinas, Asturias, Spain © Thomas Lodin

Algarve, Portugal ©  João Bracourt

Algarve, Portugal © João Bracourt

Magic Quiver, Ericeira, Portugal

Magic Quiver, Ericeira, Portugal

O Lugar, Alentejo, Portugal

O Lugar, Alentejo, Portugal

Peniche, Portugal © Daniel Espírito Santo

Peniche, Portugal © Daniel Espírito Santo

Algarve, Portugal © Jõao Bracourt

Algarve, Portugal © Jõao Bracourt

Cantabria, Spain © Thomas Lodin

Cantabria, Spain © Thomas Lodin

Praia de Patos, Galicia, Spain © Veerle Helsen

Praia de Patos, Galicia, Spain © Veerle Helsen

Yoni, wooden boards, Peniche, Portugal ©  Kyle Rodriguez

Yoni, wooden boards, Peniche, Portugal © Kyle Rodriguez

Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide
Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide
Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide
Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide
Casas na Areia

Casas na Areia, architect Aires Mateus, Alentejo, Portugal © Nelson Garrido

Centro Niemeyer, architect Oscar Niemeyer, Asturias, Spain

Centro Niemeyer, architect Oscar Niemeyer, Asturias, Spain

Praia de São Pedro de Moel © Carlos Nuno Faria

Praia de São Pedro de Moel © Carlos Nuno Faria

Mar Dentro, Porto, Portugal

Mar Dentro, Porto, Portugal

Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide
Veerle Helsen, Surf & Stay: Where to surf, sleep and eat. A visual travel guide
Rio Prado, Northern Portugal

Rio Prado, Northern Portugal

Gliding Barnacles, Portugal © Thomas Lodin

Gliding Barnacles, Portugal © Thomas Lodin

Costa da Caparica, Lisbon, Portugal ©  João Bracourt

Costa da Caparica, Lisbon, Portugal © João Bracourt

Telheiro, Algarve, Portugal © João Bracourt

Telheiro, Algarve, Portugal
© João Bracourt

Praia do Zavial, Algarve, Portugal ©  João Bracourt

Praia do Zavial, Algarve, Portugal
© João Bracourt

Ribeira d'Ilhas, Ericeira, Portugal © João Bracourt

Ribeira d’Ilhas, Ericeira, Portugal
© João Bracourt

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