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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Decisions Decisions

There are many rational and irrational ways to look at my decision and I can tell you I have been through them all. I am sure any of you who are bothered enough to read this will have your own opinion on my decision and also know what you would have done yourself. There is so much to say regarding this decision and for those who want to know, this is how I decided.
I really have looked into all the options for non-plane transport and I think it makes for interesting questions regarding the lack of infrastructure. There are no ferries, no cruise ships (until maybe July), no cargo ships will take me (insurance issues mainly), the yachties don't start again until April, I didn't even approach the fishermen I was too scared! I can't swim that far (not without getting eaten by a shark) and the canoe is still not an option. After freaking out a bit more, I had to look at the options rationally (thanks Paunch and Jaded!)
I whittled them down to five which were; 1) Wait until April for a yacht; 2) Go back down south and wait for a cargo boat, probably June; 3) Go east and join the Greenpeace ship and work for them till I reached another country (May) 4) Fly to Kupang, West Timor and 5) Fly to Bali. I decided on a system which took in the following factors (in this order of importance). Environment, Safety, Sanity (v. important at the moment!) Adventure, Time and Money. I gave each option a value (skewed for the level of importance i.e more for bad environment than bad money. The worst offender in each section got a bad bonus bad score too. I don't know if this makes sense, not a lot does this week. I have been literally tearing my hair out (well actually I just chopped off a few inches in a moment of hot frustration! Anyway it looks pretty cool and curly and funky Bali surf chick! - (joke) Anyway, I just gave the game away. The result were....1) Fly to Bali, 2) Fly to Kupang, 3) Join Greenpeace, 4) Wait for a yacht and 5) Go for the cargo ship. Considering 3, 4 and 5 are still only possibilities and I don't really want to wait another 6 months to get home, it was only 1 or 2 really.
There are no ways to justify my decision so I won't try but I am only human and unfortunately have had to break my own commitment (no one else placed it on me) and take a small flight.
This flight will produce 0.4 tonnes of CO2 ( which I take full responsibility for - and still keeps me below my limit of 2.5 tonnes a year (now 2007) and less than the 4.43 tonnes if I flew home (Darwin to Cardiff via Singapore). Obviously there is the issue of encouraging the industry and also there is still more travel to come as well as the fact I will produce/contribute to the production of CO2 in many other ways, but as I have said before I am trying to minimise these all the time. This brings me once more to the issue of offsetting.
For those of you who are interested in the issues check out this new website set up by some friends of mine I know that once the CO2 is in the atmosphere it cannot be taken away. All I can do is hope to make a true reduction in the equal amount of CO2 being produced elsewhere. This is something I had always planned to do for this trip anyway when I returned. Does anyone want to buy some low energy lightbulbs to get me started? One other small way I hope to compensate for this flight is to cycle at least the same distance in the final stage of my journey home. This means cycling from the south of France to Wales. If anyone has any advice or tips, lives along the way or would like to join me/put me up along the way then please let me know.
I am gutted it has come to this and that I haven't got the energy to see this challenge through any longer.
On a more positive note I have met some lovely people in Darwin, Julie from the 5W - Women Welcome Women Worldwide (!) network, Michael my angel who scooped me out of the yacht club trauma and all the lovely folk at the Banyan View Lodge, if you want to stay in Darwin, stay there, it is chilled and friendly and lovely.


At 10:16 pm, February 22, 2007, Blogger Sarah Brush said...

Hey Barbara!

I think it's a fair decision. SO many people would give in completely at thsi point and you're still sticking to your vision. You should be proud of that. Well done! Looking forward to hearing how the next stage goes.

God bless


At 10:43 pm, February 22, 2007, Blogger Marie said...

You gave it a really good shot! Having made it from Darwin to Dili by ship and then having had to fly out to Bali (then backtrack all the way to Flores) because the militias were on the border, I know the feeling of disappointment. But that is a logical decision.

At 11:29 pm, February 22, 2007, Blogger Paunch and Jaded said...

Well done - for deciding! I like the categories, although I still think personal safety is most important.

If you also took account of the CO2 from the months travelling Australia untl you could get out it eases the pain. We are busy turning off lights and adding even more low energy bulbs. I've just told my office to replace the 32 40w chandalier bulbs in the Training Room with 7W low energy bulbs so that must help - I can do the calculation later. And we'll stop being polite to friends who illuminate their homes excessively with ordinary bulbs and tell them.

Says something that you have found so many people to help you along the way - like in Darwin. Frances will be pleased about 5W. I'll tell her. Good luck with the next stage. Keep in touch.

At 3:13 pm, February 25, 2007, Blogger David said...

Perhaps another way of looking at many other people have been inspired, like me, to make better decisions about their own travelling after reading your blog? I suspect a great many. Don't underestimate the impact you are making.
Best wishes

At 10:24 pm, March 03, 2007, Blogger David said...

Hey Babs,

I've been reading your blog ever since you left Wales. And I've kept on sqeezing my thumbs, and crossing my fingers for you. Up to this last delima - decision about planes or boats. And although I must tell you: I really love your convictions and how you believe in yourself and the ecological value of your decisions... I still don't know why you didn't join greenpeace while you were waiting for the sailing season to start? That would have been perfect...

Okay, sorry for sounding so patronizing. But I just feel like watching my favorite team (YOU) failing to score where I was SO SURE they'd have an easy chance.

Anyhow, I wish you best of luck for the future, get home safely, and for real... I will keep on reading your bolg. It is an awesome source of motivation.


At 10:27 am, March 04, 2007, Blogger Babs said...

Thanks for all your comments and support. It is funny I am still torn and in some ways wish I had waited. It is a decision I will always wonder about and I will never know what was right. Working on a Greenpeace boat is something I have always wanted to do too. Nothing was certain though, I may not have got the gig and I am running out of money fast and my visa would have run out before time too (pesky practicalities!) I also need to get home soon or my friends will forget what I look like and my caravan will get overtaken by rogue hedghogs or something!


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