My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Passports, Carboots, Dresses and an End to the Drought?

What an emotional rollercoaster I am on! A wonderful farewell up at my lovely caravan on Saturday night around the fire. So many lovely people and such a special spot - oh how I will miss it, midges, mud and all. Thanks to Jessa who managed to arise from no sleep and hitched to the car boot slae with me to sell loads of stuff to fund the trip. Imogen came up trumps and finished the dress - it is great and I am really looking forward to wearing it. The downer at the moment is the lost passport....try Jessa's 'draw the passport arriving and it will' strategy - nothing yet but we will wait. I keep thinkiong that it will bring the whole trip down and then realise that it is just the start of many obstacles over the next 6 weeks and DO NOT GIVE UP! I was wondering today if I have any problems along the way whether it is morally ok to start crying and whether it would at all help? I may have no control over it....I know there will be lots of tears and laughter. I finally left my Welsh home in torrential rain which was mean after all the sun - trying to hitch in sheeting rain is not very successful - but maybe Machynlleth was crying ( I certainly was!). Onwards to say farewell to Devonshire.

34 Comments:

At 6:43 pm, August 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey I think that's pretty cool. You're about to embrace an amazing trip, best of luck, have fun, and enjoy it! :)

 
At 7:31 pm, August 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi barbara. read bout you in the observer today. think its really admirable. have recently sworn off flying myself but thing is I love India. So, my plan is the same as yours, to get the train via Russia and then, well then it gets a bit hazy... Still I would regard the trip thru Russia as a bonus, as I see you do. Will watch you all the way with interest. Good Luck.
regards
pete

 
At 8:36 pm, August 20, 2006, Anonymous suz said...

hi there - just read about your amazing trip on a german news magazine. wishing you all the best, good luck and safe travels. oh yes, just bookmarked your blog as well.
cheers

 
At 10:58 pm, August 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to tell you this, but taking a flight down to Australia would have been much friendlier to the environment than your trip. It is going to be a wonderful and unforgettable experience, but cleaner, no way. A modern airliner uses less gas than a car (per passenger), and you're going to find yourself on stinking russian trucks and busses and probably some oil leaking southern asian container ship. But othjer than that, great project! Good luck!

 
At 11:18 pm, August 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's oh-so convenient of you to forget what buses, cars and trains run on. I hope you are aware that while planes can be damaging to the environment, your proposed means of transit aren't exactly eco-friendly either. Do you really think buses in Siberia run on hybrid engines or that there's a TGV from Moscow to Vladivostok?

 
At 11:47 pm, August 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I bet she ends up on a plane, despite her hairy-legged sandal-wearing protests to the contrary."

LOL... Don't be so rude with her. Those flying in couch are grateful since her environmentally friendly ass won't be in the allready crowded planes.

 
At 12:02 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eco-friendly? Hardly. Now, had you walked/biked/ran/jumped to Australia, it'd be a good project. Other than that, unless your busses/trains/ships run on hydrogen or water, you're probably doing more damage now than you would taking the plane :P

 
At 12:29 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
I'm sorry to tell you this, but taking a flight down to Australia would have been much friendlier to the environment than your trip.
"

Oh really? and how is that then?

http://www.energybulletin.net/6372.html

The main thing is that this blog has got people thinking about how generally we all take the easiest option even when we know it is not the most ethical. Sadly the knee jerk anti-environmentalists who just want to try and take the piss and criticise someone for actually putting herself out in order to protect something she feels strongly about might never get it. But hey, at least you'll galvanise the opinion of those of us who aren't actually that selfish.
Best of luck!

 
At 1:42 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A.net fellas,

You all rule..

Word.

 
At 2:02 am, August 21, 2006, Blogger Darren said...

Just to let you know your web site got coverage on page 2 of The Borneo Post in Sabah, Malaysia today.

 
At 2:49 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the bride that she's coming to be bridesmaid for and I say Bloody Good Luck to her! She'll be the most interesting person at my wedding and obviously has a lot more going for her than any of you bad-mouthers out there. "Silly Cow" - I really don't think someone who is going to embark on a 7-week trip across the world can be branded as silly. Go get a life and do something more interesting than making ignorant comments about people that you don't know.

 
At 3:26 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im Going to Have To Agree With Some Of The Other Commenters. It Isn't As Enviromentally-Friendly As You May Think. Just Think Of The Idling Trains At The Station... Running Busses Stuck In Traffic... The Ships Polluting The Ocean.... Aswell That Energybulletin Is Rather Sketchy, Where Are They Getting Their Facts? It Quotes " Greenhouse gas emissions caused by UK air travel have doubled in the past 13 years, from 20.1m tons in 1990 to 39.5m tons in 2004." Well First Off It Hasn't Doubled Untill It Hits 40.2m tons. Anyone With Basic Math Skills Knows That. Also That Has Been 14 Years Change... This Site Lacks Credibility. Think Of The Increase Of Aircraft Flying, A Signnficant Increase. It's Really Not That Big Of An Increase Over That Long OF A Time Period With The Gain Of So Many Aircraft.
But Whatever... Do What you Want Even If You Believe It's More Enviromentally-Friendly.

 
At 3:33 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Barbara! Good on you! don't listen to these nasty, lazy, negative whingers! The most important thing in life is doing what you believe in. It's obvious some of these people are only interested in being annoying losers with nothing better to do than diss out someone that they don't even know or can meet with! You go grrrl! Happy to buy you a mega beer when you get to BrisVegas - Michelle

 
At 4:17 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those Russian busses/trains DO NOT run on Borscht or anything environmentally friendly! There would be less damage to the environment if you took a plane, honey.

Anyhow, Bon voyage!

 
At 4:22 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no interest in trying to "derail", "deflate" or "sink" your plans (sorry, couldn't resist the puns). I think this would be a really neat trip and a memorable life experience for you. Furthermore, I admire you for taking the path less travelled as most people wouldn't think of spending that kind of time between two points on the globe.

The only thing I want to point out here is that while you maintain that this is the more eco-friendly way of travel, the facts say otherwise.

Large trains, trucks, buses, ships, etc. all get under 20 miles to the gallon. In fact, many of them get significantly under that number.

When we're talking about large jetliners, it's more like gallons to the mile. When you factor in the number of passengers they carry though, you come up with around 90 miles to the gallon. I'm sorry love, no other mode of transportation in widespread use can claim that.

Where trains and buses have to zig-zag around the tracks and roads, planes can just fly directly to the destination.

Those fast trains like the TGV go very fast on the ground, but the air is very thick down here and that creates wind resistance that results in a very high consumption of energy. Planes can fly very high where the air is thin, so they can use much less fuel and go much faster.

And if you see an electric train, remember that that power had to come from somewhere. Statistically, the most likely source would be a power plant burning fossil fuels.

I'm not trying to be mean or negative here; I'm just trying to make it plain to you that flying is more eco-friendly than any other mode of transit in widespread use today. I apologize for the comments of some of my peers, and I do wish you all the best for your trip, no matter which way you choose to take it.

 
At 5:10 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous BAB said...

As others have stated, go for your trip. It will be unforgettable. As far as your concern of non-eco-friendly aviation, even the worst gas guzzling airplanes are exponentialy more fuel efficient than the buses, trains, and ships you'll be travelling on.

Keep an open mind to the facts of the matter.

 
At 6:00 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the best for this great trip - but it will have nothing to do with eco-friendlyness. While short-distance flights should really be forbidden, there is hardly any other transport to beat a long-distance flight. Instead of using a pretty clean plane for 20 hours, you will use all kind of pretty low developed, fossile fuel consumping means of transport. Plus, you will use up food resources for 6 weeks. For half the trip. And do you think all the computers u use - and you nowe attract with your publicity and your blog - are running on solar energy?

 
At 6:14 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alot of very good comments (other than scottys) have been made here. Some i did not even think of.
Going by tramp steamer/boat/cargo ship will do WAYYY more damage than a long haul flt. Oil spills, sewage, etc etc. Long haul is best done flying, it is faster, uses less fuel, saves money for one thing. It is the most econimcal option, for both money and the environment you say you are trying to save by going on old russian trains and buses, and old cargo ships that leak well, crap into the ocean.

 
At 6:37 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Flo said...

Hey Barbara, good luck on your trip. I study in Hong Kong and after that i will travel back home to Germany also without an Airplane....I will pay close attention to your blog.

best regards
Flo

http://myhongkong.wordpress.com

 
At 7:23 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Vicky said...

You should get yourself a copy of Peter Moore's book The Wrong Way Home - London to Sydney the hard way. It is about his travels overland to Australia from London - might give you some ideas!!

 
At 8:08 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Skid said...

Well, certainly a novel way to get to Australia, but I would query the environmental aspects. Modern aircraft are far more eco-friendly than their older counterparts.
But, going direct by air would take away the excitement of strange places, different peoples and countries.
What I will say is, that while your lifestyle, living in a wood in Wales with minimum modern conveniences and gadgets may suit you, many people would prefer to live in some comfort and have their gadgets.
But, I do agree the world needs to clean up. And the only people who can initiate that are the big corporations and those with money. Examples like yourself are cute but fairly powerless when it comes to the great god Money.
I do wish you the best of luck and would hope you indulge in a bit of luxury and buy a decent camera to record your journey. That, to me, would make more impact than all the talk.

 
At 8:31 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Dean said...

just a few thoghts for the nay sayers. Public transport in a lot of asia is now a lot cleaner and better than we have in the West, and more econmical fuel wise. Secondly there's the issue of Global Dimming. This has nothing to do some countries becomine more stupid;) Basicly the ultra fine particle emmisions of a jet black the energy form the sun effecting crops. It was discovered after '9-11' when the planes stopped flying over the USA and suddening solar recorders went insaine. look it up it's quite facinating.

 
At 8:57 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting indeed. Some proper research is needed into the environmental impact of bus-train-boat vs air travel on this type of journey, then we can make truly informed decisions. As a family we have decided to holiday in the UK only (and have not replaced our passports) so as to reduce our damaging impact on the environment.
FREDERICK JARLBAEK - you need to talk to someone - friend / realtive / police ... the problem isn't just going to go away.

 
At 9:27 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Babs,

this is a cool thing, so would I do! This sick world NEEDS extraordinarily acts and extraordinarily people. It`s so important in this times, TO STAY ON THE GROUND, not always to fly carelessly around the world...People, think about this symbol.

Love, Peace
and good luck!
Ela from Franconia/Germany

 
At 9:34 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, one thing this trip has done is open up the debate on how environmental different forms of transport are. Its got us thinking and thats definitely a good thing. Hope all goes well B!

 
At 9:52 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An environmental study comparing and contrasting modes of mass transportation has been suggested. Those studies are already in place, and easy to locate and comprehend. They all point towards air travel as the more environmentally friendly/conscious.

As far as global dimming is concerned, the phenomenon was seen over the Atlantic Ocean, not America. Imagine the impact if no automobiles were used for a week. All kinds of censors would be breaking their needles.

 
At 9:52 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous An objective voice said...

An environmental study comparing and contrasting modes of mass transportation has been suggested. Those studies are already in place, and easy to locate and comprehend. They all point towards air travel as the more environmentally friendly/conscious.

As far as global dimming is concerned, the phenomenon was seen over the Atlantic Ocean, not America. Imagine the impact if no automobiles were used for a week. All kinds of censors would be breaking their needles.

 
At 9:55 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Cindy Sheehan said...

You're exactly the kind of person I need to tour with me, and protest against Bush and his enviro-terrorist policies, and dubiously derived oil dependency.

My son, Casey, died because airplanes harm the environment. If Bush hadn't invaded Iraq, my son would still be alive, and planes wouldn't pollute, and I wouldn't be a vegetarian.

Peace,
Cindy

 
At 10:18 am, August 21, 2006, Blogger Tim said...

Hi Babs

Well done, and I really hope you enjoy your trip.
Regardless of weather the overland route is more eco friendly, you will have a lot more fun!

The person who posted a comment about the yachts from singapore is bang on, that would be the easiest way to get to oz. If you cant find one tiger airlines flys from singapore to darwin for cheap (i know you dont want to fly, but it may be your only option).
Then again, you might be able to find an Indonesian fishing boat, they regularly travel to oz ;)

Check out www.couchsurfing.com, its a way to meet and stay with locals all over the world. its free and they may well be able to offer you great advice in what ever town your in.

have fun,
Tim

www.flashpackers.blogspot.com

 
At 10:24 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Mike said...

Very cool

 
At 10:26 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Babs, good luck with your trip! Its a cool thing to do.Take care.

But I think you are naiv if you think that you'll save the world.... airplanes or busses - if you'd really be straight, you should not travel at all! So whats the point with all that? You are desparate to go down under and you needed a a story just to salve consciences???

Dont be so silly and join forces with ideologically tangled people who write things like:
"You're exactly the kind of person I need to tour with me, and protest against Bush and his enviro-terrorist policies, and dubiously derived oil dependency.

My son, Casey, died because airplanes harm the environment. If Bush hadn't invaded Iraq, my son would still be alive, and planes wouldn't pollute, and I wouldn't be a vegetarian."

Never had such a good laugh.

 
At 11:42 am, August 21, 2006, Anonymous Andreas said...

Hey Barbara,
First I whish you good luck on your trip!

And as a reply to those here that criticise that also rail, bus and train do damage to the environment. Well - that's certainly true. But it is also a fact that buses - if they are fully used - are the most energy efficient means of transport (apart from walking or cycling). The train uses a bit more energy - but not as much as some of these fancy high-speed ICE/TGV/Shinkansen trains. Ships are by far the most energy efficient means of transport. I know from canal ships used to transport goods that these are roughly by the factor four more efficient than road transport. So an alternative would have been for you to find a place on one of these big container ships connecting Europe and Asia. There are actually cabins rented to private passengers on these ships for reasonable prices. But these ships go rather slowly. A trip from Europe to the US takes about 2 or 3 weeks.

The other factor to consider is that you probably would not do such a big 6-week trip two or three times a year. But this is exactly what many people would do with long-distance flights. So even if modern planes technically merely use 3 or 4 litres per person and 100 km (fully seated), overall the impact is bigger, because it's easier and very convenient to do these long trips frequently.

Andreas

 
At 12:20 pm, August 21, 2006, Blogger Babs said...

Wow, Thanks everyone for all your comments, even the bad ones, even though I think it is pretty unkind to make pathetic and rude comments about my life, and whether I shave my legs or not. It is these kind of attitudes which just reflect how our world is going to pot. To those of you who think I haven't researched this then you are wrong, I have spent a lot of my own time and a lot of generous time from my friends to help me do this. I am not relying on any money from anyone to help me, I have earnt it all myself the good old fashioned way and worked. I worked at the Centre for Alternative Technology who have been working for a long time with other partners to calculate the carbon emissions and environmental damage of all different types of transport. The calculations we have made based on this rigourous scientific study show that my one way trip will create 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide as compared to 5.2 tonnes on a flight. This is still a lot I know and yes the best thing would be to stay at home, but this is a really special occasion, one of my best friend's wedding, and I haven't taken this decision lightly. I will still do what I can to offset these emissions and on the return hope to get more sailing in, which is very clean. I am not trying to preach to you about how you should live your lives so sdon't preach to me, this is what I believe in and I am going to follow it, so if you cvan't help or wish me luick then find somewhere else to look. Thanks
Babs

 
At 9:40 am, November 28, 2006, Blogger Paul Adams said...

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