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, January 26, 2007

Bees, Bushfires, a Baby and Beautiful People

(and also more information about my journey, the why's, hows etc. for those who have asked)

The highlights from a few days in Adelaide were sleeping a lot and playing the accordion I spotted on the shelf in Wilsons organic food shop! What a treat, but I had forgotten a few tunes already! I couldn't get a bus to Alice Springs until 27th January so it was more WWOOFing for me. I was so lucky to find Ben and Lena (and little Elwin) and go and help at 'The Meeting of the Waters'. Here I spent just over two weeks living the life I love at home. A simple life, good food, low impact, beautiful nature (a super fast flowing but slightly fake river included was a good massage!) and beautiful people. Ben and Lena welcomed me into their lovely cob and strawbale home with so much warmth and happiness I felt very relaxed and at home (which is a real treat 16,000km from home!) I spent a day helping their neighbour Don with his bee hives - an adrenaline filled day of learning - the bees were not happy that we were taking their honey! I also experienced my first aussie bush fire which was pretty bad (but could have been worse) and at least they saved the vineyards! It was wierd as we went to have a look to see pure black next to juicy green vines and the odd tree still smouldering, the heat was amazing. Then ensued 4 days of rain and flooding! I am beginning to think I am either a Welsh rain fairy or climate change is really happening!??? So many lovely people came through, mainly to see 5 week old Elwin, but also Ben, Lena and this place's charm. It was a pleasure to meet them all and all are welcome if they are ever in Wales. I don't feel like I did much work but I hope I helped out before my back went OW which is not good as I am spending 2 days on a bus to Alice Springs tomorrow.... We managed to finish the solar oven and start melting the beeswax but didn't get to bake a cake, boo.....So what is next....? I am really excited about seeing the desert and Coober Pedy and the caves! and hanging out in Alice Springs, 40 degrees here we come!

I also wanted to take the time to provide some more information about how I took this trip and also to quash a few silly statements I have read recently about my trip. I don't normally bother but they have been niggling me. Firstly the idea that my trip and others like it was a waste of time because of all the extra energy used travelling to and working harder at 'the office' to pay for it. As anyone who knows me knows, I cycle or walk to work at CAT, which is all powered by renewable energy. I rarely use a computer when operating the water balanced cliff railway or digging out a compost toilet! Secondly, that along the way I will have sudddenly turned into a polluting, non-caring citizen and cause lots of wasted energy everywhere I go. Along the way I have spent at least 6 weeks staying in places using renewable energy and compost toilets and over 4 weeks camping (no electricity). I save water travelling just as much as when at home and a lot of Australia does have low flush toilets. I have used the same environmentally friendly washing products and toiletries. I have been reducing my waste and recycling and composting where possible. I have used public transport and walked and cycled loads. It has been a fun challenge but I think I have been as green as I could. This trip is not just about air travel but about us all taking personal responsibility for reducing all excessive, wasteful and polluting uses of resources.
About COSTS. Overall my trip cost more than flying but as I have said before should we just judge everything on monetary value? The figures people have quoted I think give an unfair impression. Rarely is an airflight actually what is quoted on the web or in the newspaper, but more. From the other bridesmaids I think about 700 pounds return is fair. Some parts of my journey were CHEAPER than the flight, it was really just the cargo ship part which 'upset the balance sheet.' It cost me 2000 pounds to get from Wales to Australia in 7 weeks, that amount includes all my travel, food, accommodation, touristy stuff, everything! The cargo ship cost 1000 of that and was booked through Strand Travel a travel agency in London.
Some examples..... London to Moscow by plane (single) with Aeroflot in September costs 1075 dollars (US)(about 550 pounds - not including any taxes or other hidden things) my bus took 3 days and cost 130 pounds!!! ( and for the buses)
Moscow to Beijing by plane (single) with Sibir or Aeroflot is 600 dollars (US) which is 300 pounds (not including taxes etc.). My journey on the trans-siberian took 6 days and cost 190 pounds. (flight info. on I booked the Trans- Siberian through a travel agency in Russia, Svehzy Veter and I would highly recommend them.
Beijing to Hanoi by plane would cost 416 euros (286 pounds not including taxes) according to but my train cost a whopping 70 pounds! I booked it from the hostel in Beijing.
Finally to answer another comment from before about me spilling oil all over the sea !? I came to Australia on a cargo ship not an oil tank and there was no spillage!! Anyway only 5% of the oil in the sea comes from oil spills. The rest comes from what we wash down our drains from our houses, cars and industry.
Anyway, all I am trying to say is I am trying and I truly believe we all need to take a closer look at everything we do and try and do better for the environment, sooner rather than later!
Sorry this is so long, I hope it is useful and if it sounds like a rant then sorry too, I have been bottling it up for ages!
(photos, me as a beekeeper! and the bush fire and the vines!)
p.s it is so annoying not having a pound sign on the keyboard away from the UK and trying to write all these pounds signs!!!


At 1:38 pm, January 26, 2007, Blogger Jenny Stafford said...

Dear Babs

I was delighted to stumble across your blog after hearing about your trip a few months ago. I think your trip is a wonderful awareness raising activity (as well as fun to read) and am sorry to hear that you have been receiving a bit of negative questioning! As you’ll know so well, it’s really important to focus on what we can and are achieving and for people to be able to relate to it. In our highly materialistic world, any examples of the opposite and, importantly, publicity for these HAVE to be good :-). Actually, make that FANTASTIC :-).

If I mention a petition I have - Asking the Prime Minister to Fly Less - I know it will simply look like a plug! But a commitment from him would be an excellent example and so I would of course love this to get off the ground! I’ve just set it up this week. The petition is at:

It reads:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to severely reduce the number of flights taken by the Prime Minister and his government and offset those flights considered necessary.*

It only takes a minute to complete –very easy.

I have also made an airport pledge and if you happened to be interested, then this is at:

I think a big thing is to encourage people to think about whether/ why they think they need to take a plane to go on holiday to have the experience they do. Can they have the benefit of that holiday by travelling slowly or holidaying closer to home? Even if only a few of the ‘RyanAir’ and now the potential future ‘Silverjet’ masses start to think about this it’s a start :-).

I could go on all day but will leave it at that for now!

Hope you enjoy Alice and it’s don’t burn in the 50 degree heat!

Best wishes

P.S. Understand if you need to/ wish to edit some of this email!

* Below is some additional blurb I’ve been sending out when notifying people about the petition.

The Government's new official guide to greener living, published last week, says people should try to reduce flights, take fewer holidays and travel by rail or sea. The Prime Minister hasn't yet indicated that he himself will do this though!

At the moment, the Prime Minister personally emits more than 700 times as much of the pollution that causes global warming as the average Briton. The Prime Minister and his family have a footprint of at least 8,127 tons of carbon dioxide a year, whereas the average Briton emits about 11 tons. Most of the emissions arise from Mr Blair's practice of chartering planes for overseas trips. This was reported by the The Independent and the figures have been calculated by Oxford based Best Foot Forward.

The petition follows the criticism by environmental groups over the Prime Minister's refusal to curb foreign family holidays and, in particular, his recent New Year family holiday to Miami.,,1986689,00.html

Dave Hampton, (Cambridge engineer, environmental coach and regularly featured in the press) has already signed the petition.

For clarification, the government does offset its flights but MPs don't necessarily offset their personal flights. As we know, offsetting should be done as a last resort. The focus of the petition is on asking the Government to cut down.

At 2:47 pm, January 26, 2007, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

You where in the Radio Times this week (22 Jan) and on the BBC web site

your under the "Gone to Ground" link

The program went out Wednesday night on BBC2, I mate of mine video it so will try and get a copy of it as I wasn't able to see it Wednesday.

Hope the bee's don't hold a grudge or tell all the mossies to attack you even more when you get back, those bee's have a lot of friends, yes even more friends then you have, and thats loads..

Have a great time in Alice Springs

Love the Photo's

Loads of Love & Luck

Steve XX

At 2:53 pm, January 26, 2007, Blogger LimePulp said...

PS just noticed there is a link on that page

that lets you watch the program "Should I Really Give Up Flying?" online, if you or anybody around the world wants to watch it.

Take loads of Care

Steve XX

At 11:13 pm, January 26, 2007, Blogger aurob said...

I've been following your blog since the beginning, as well as the occasional newpaper articles that report it. No matter what the couch (or office chair) patotoes say, getting out there and doing the travelling in an environmentally aware, proactive manner, and indeed inspiring others that can be done would be one of the most positive outcomes. On another point, the £ sign can be obtained on any keyboard in the world by using the numeric keypad on the right side of the keyboard, but using the combination Alt-0163 (hold down alt, then press 0163 in succession). On a laptop it's a bit more difficult, but can be done. Take care,and enjoy meeting and inspiring people on your return!

At 7:28 pm, January 30, 2007, Blogger Jenny Martin said...

You've DONE IT! Me and my partner Tam are moving to Australia (we have a house and 5 acres just inland from Byron Bay) later this year and I've started researching travelling overland along similar lines to you wishing to reduce CO2 impact - thank you for the wealth of information - you've done more to make the overland trip possible than anything or anyone - you are an inspiration! Particularly as a woman travelling on her own.

Am very interested to see how your return journey goes. Are you travelling the same way back? We are looking into crossing from southern China (Jinghong) into Northern Thailand via a boat along the Mekong river, to save the long and complicatged bit through Vietnam/Cambodia.

Another question: was it cheaper to stay on the boat to Melbourne, than getting off at Freemantle and travelling through Australia?

Anyway - go girl, you are pioneering and trail blazing. Thank you!

At 8:55 pm, January 30, 2007, Blogger Paunch and Jaded said...

Except for your love of your caravan it's difficult to see why you would want to come home! Fantastic stuff. Hope Alice Springs is not too hot and Uluru is worth the sweat. Here it's just about freezing at night as it should be.

Suggest osteopath best bet for bad back as here. We have discovered a TENS machine which helps mask really bad pain - C hopes. Means 'stuck' here in The Rock for the week but shape of things to come so .....!

If we all lived simpler lives we could solve the first step of the climate problem overnight. Looking forward to that if only the government will also realise and lead those who need leading.

Crow Point very beautiful on Saturday morning with no-one about except two made white dogs. Article in WMN about you last week after seeing Ro's in NDJ. How is camera position?

All our love from N Devon and Yorkshire and Bucks. Take care!

At 2:26 am, February 03, 2007, Blogger Babs said...

I don't think the cost of getting out in Fremantle and travelling by train over to Melbourne or Sydney was not going to be any cheaper than staying on the boat. If you are going to do more train travel in Oz it may be cheaper to get a rail pass and do this trip. Not sure of the deals myself but the information is available on the web. That train trip is supposed to be pretty amazing though, the second longest railway after the Trans-Siberian (I am turning into a train geek!). My friend Dav (another bridesmaid) did it and had a great time, lightening storms and lots of emptyness. Good on ya Jenny Martin as they say in Oz for doing your trip and I hope you have fun.


Post a Comment

<< Home