Author Topic: Southend to Melbourne without flying...  (Read 3715 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« on: August 20, 2019, 04:00:49 pm »
Now that Aunt Phyllis has shuffled off this mortal coil, the subject of visiting our daughter in Melbourne has cropped up. We will probably make the trip next year, and I don't think it is something that we will repeat.

As some may be aware, we have done (probably) quite a lot more than the vast majority of people in the last 20 years or so to reduce our carbon footprints. So getting on some bloody great plane in order to travel half way round the globe does tend to stick in the craw rather. I am exploring the possibilities of doing as much of the journey as possible without recourse to flying.

At the moment, booking train tickets from London to Moscow, followed by Moscow to Beijing, and flying from there, looks like a pretty decent way. But it would appear that it is extremely difficult to do the last bit of the trip from Indonesia to Australia without the use of air travel. I understand that it is possible to travel further south by train, to Singapore, with a bit of bus travel in Cambodia or Vietnam. But it would appear that that carries with it some rather greater risk of buses falling into ravines and that sort of thing. This could, of course, be utter bolleaux, but the experiences of people I know who have been to Vietnam tell me that road travel there is pretty scary.

I wondered if anyone else had done this trip, or anything similar, without flying, or at least keeping the flights to the bare minimum? I have been reading the pages of The Man in Seat 61...
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

sib

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2019, 04:22:41 pm »
Can't answer your question directly but if Race Around the World is still on iplayer it's worth watching.
They travelled London to Singapore without flying and use a fair amount of rail (and not too many scary bus/boat/car trips).
Quite entertaining and might give some ideas. (just watch the last two episodes for the far east section -  Huangyao, Koh Rong, Singapore.


Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2019, 04:26:52 pm »
I remember talking to someone who'd travelled round Indonesia hitching on trucks. I'm not suggesting that's suitable for you but clearly it is possible to travel around there by bus, if not train. That still leaves you with the problem of a boat to Australia and I guess that might even be easier from Singapore. Or you could get some sort of antipodean cruise? But I dare say the GHG emissions and other pollution from that are actually worse than flying.

Meanwhile, here's an article about a bloke who travelled to Shanghai by train: https://theconversation.com/southampton-to-shanghai-by-train-one-climate-change-researchers-quest-to-avoid-flying-120015 He says the trains in China were the most comfortable of the lot.
The unwilling rider and the one who leaves each control in turn without reluctance, with no desire to come back, obviously cannot be making the same journey, even though their brevets are identical.

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2019, 04:32:17 pm »
1) Melbourne (in fact, all of the Australian capitals) are a f*ck of a long way from anywhere else. Unless you are going to spend weeks on a sailing ship you will be flying thousands of miles. Just the length of the WA coast is half the width of the Atlantic, and that doesn't even get you to the adjacent country.

2) Add up the carbon cost. Planes are terrible, yes, and also surprisingly efficient per passenger. Better than buses. Not as good as a good train. Spending weeks on a train might be worse than taking two flights.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2019, 04:39:15 pm »
You could just plant a load of trees, it's what I do. Lots of little flights will add to the carbon cost, they burn a lot more fuel getting up in the sky (and they're also heavier).

It's pretty difficult to get from SE Asia/Indonesia to Australia (and a long way not to mention wet) and then, as said, Australia is big and Melbourne about a far as you can get without tumbling into Tasmania.
!nataS pihsroW

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2019, 05:05:08 pm »
Vietnam: if you stick to the main road down the cost, you won't see any ravines and tbh it's fairly lightly used for its size.  I had zero concerns doing it on a bike so you should have no problem in a bus.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2019, 05:09:14 pm »
Vietnam: if you stick to the main road down the cost, you won't see any ravines and tbh it's fairly lightly used for its size.  I had zero concerns doing it on a bike so you should have no problem in a bus.

There’s also a railway that runs most of the length of the country

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2019, 05:14:58 pm »
Do it in your Leaf. Write a travel book - you're a learned chap with some skills with words; I'd read it!

I haven't researched it, but how about trans-continental to Hong Kong, then containerised transport to Darwin, and a nice drive from there? Charging points might be an issue in some places, but there aren't many without ANY electricity these days, so the limiting factor is time. Or I'm talking bollocks - like I said, I haven't researched it.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2019, 05:46:42 pm »
Do it in your Leaf. Write a travel book - you're a learned chap with some skills with words; I'd read it!

I haven't researched it, but how about trans-continental to Hong Kong, then containerised transport to Darwin, and a nice drive from there? Charging points might be an issue in some places, but there aren't many without ANY electricity these days, so the limiting factor is time. Or I'm talking bollocks - like I said, I haven't researched it.

This guy has: https://plugmeinproject.com/

I reckon he'd have done better in a modern designed-as-an-EV car with better ground clearance / waterproofing, some electro-fu to reduce the car's fussiness about supply quality (he was stranded for days in an Australian truck stop because their generator's frequency was way out of spec, eventually he managed to get it going because the kitchen was running flat out and dragged the frequency down a bit), and there's a strong argument for lugging a few square metres of photovoltaics around a la The Martian if you're trying to cross the Outback.  A bag with an assortment of Socket'n'See products would also be on my list - once you get away from first-world electrical regulations, the locals can do creatively unhelpful things with three-phase wiring.

Many of his challenges were zero-budget and just-in-time planning related, rather than a result of using an EV, thobut.

The videos are well worth watching, if you can get over the bit of crud on his camera's sensor for most of the trip.  Some of the early ones are in Dutch, but they switch to English after a while.  :)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Dormant but requires tea
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 05:50:24 pm »
containerised transport to Darwin,
Are you suggesting Wow hides in a shipping container? Do you want to get him sent to Nauru as an undocumented immigrant?  ;)
The unwilling rider and the one who leaves each control in turn without reluctance, with no desire to come back, obviously cannot be making the same journey, even though their brevets are identical.

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2019, 05:55:51 pm »
containerised transport to Darwin,
Are you suggesting Wow hides in a shipping container? Do you want to get him sent to Nauru as an undocumented immigrant?  ;)

Or go in a cardboard box lie Waldo Jeffers in The Gift.

On second thoughts perhaps not.... ;D

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2019, 05:56:53 pm »
... there's a strong argument for lugging a few square metres of photovoltaics around a la The Martian if you're trying to cross the Outback.

That would be frickin' AWESOME!

I imagine a website with a sandy red picture of Mars Australia entitled "Where's Watney Wowbagger"?


bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2019, 07:01:19 pm »
There's an account in the Rough Stuff Archive book of UK to Australia, done via bikes and boats. I will take a look when I get home.

see: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jun/13/break-the-cycle-britains-oldest-off-road-club

Quote
The Fellowship is being celebrated in a hardback book curated from the club’s extensive archives. The photographs mark historic firsts, such as when Phill Hargreaves and David Clarke set off in 1984 to cycle from Derby in the UK to Derby in western Australia. They completed the first trip fully by bicycle to Everest’s south base camp along the way. Other pictures showed a group completing the first traverse by bicycle of Iceland’s mountainous desert interior in 1984 (club records record that the group rationed themselves to half a bar of Kendal Mint Cake per man every second day, as well as an ounce of margarine daily)

YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Pedal Castro

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Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2019, 07:23:50 pm »
High speed train Beijing to HK then fly the last bit maybe?

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2019, 07:50:17 pm »
P and O cruise part of the way. Round the world tend to be a bit spendy.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2019, 07:50:31 pm »
Josie Dew has form for long distance travel by freighter, but probably more polluting than a flight.


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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2019, 07:57:35 pm »

Freighter? These can be a cost effective way to get across oceans, if you're not in a hurry.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2019, 08:06:47 pm »
To be fair, Wowbagger is after keeping his carbon footprint to a minimum, and freighters are about the dirtiest diesel things known to man.

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2019, 08:07:53 pm »
^
This.

ETA - But if it is sailing anyway........ ?

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2019, 08:12:18 pm »
To be fair, Wowbagger is after keeping his carbon footprint to a minimum, and freighters are about the dirtiest diesel things known to man.

Yes, but as it's going anyway, adding a passenger, isn't making it any worse...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2019, 08:15:57 pm »
To be fair, Wowbagger is after keeping his carbon footprint to a minimum, and freighters are about the dirtiest diesel things known to man.

Yes, but as it's going anyway, adding a passenger, isn't making it any worse...

J

That's always been my self-justification for using any carbon-based transport; "It's going anyway, whether I'm on it or not".

AvGas is just kerosine, so in terms of particulates per passenger, flying is not that bad at all, probably even compared to (diesel) trains or oil-derived electricity, and certainly compared to diesel-powered ships, provided you fly on recent hardware.

A modern airliner is much more efficient than its forebears. Trouble is, you don't get to choose when you book a flight. I guess you can choose an airline who is more likely to use a modern plane, like Emirates for example. Of course, Wow being a politcally thinking chap might have other reasons for not flying with Emirates.

Travel is so ethically complex!

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2019, 08:17:54 pm »
Yes, but as it's going anyway, adding a passenger, isn't making it any worse...

It will make it slightly worse. The question is by how much. This is the same with most travel. An aeroplane is already going from A to B, but getting on it makes it slightly worse compared to an empty seat and none of your luggage.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2019, 08:19:35 pm »
Yes, but as it's going anyway, adding a passenger, isn't making it any worse...

It will make it slightly worse. The question is by how much. This is the same with most travel. An aeroplane is already going from A to B, but getting on it makes it slightly worse compared to an empty seat and none of your luggage.
Succinct and (I suspect) accurate.

Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2019, 08:27:45 pm »
a) One person alone is not going to affect anything really.
b) But if everyone has that attitude then nothing changes.
c) You can't use that as justification for not changing your behaviour.

If enough people stop wanting to fly from A to B then instead of 10 flights per day it might only be profitable for the airlines to put on 8 flights per day from A to B and the environmental impact of those changes is much more considerable.

(I say this as someone who took 8-16 hours of flights per WEEK for close to two years. I now take 8-16 hours of flights per YEAR [and I'm still trying to reduce that.])
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Southend to Melbourne without flying...
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2019, 08:28:25 pm »
The most significant part is the encouragement it gives the polluters. Once enough people start to boycott the worst-polluting forms of transport then they will stop happening... if that ever does happen.

This is where I really struggle. How can I contribute so massively to climate change and still look my grandchildren in the eye? They are both in such terrible danger as a result of what my generation has done.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.