Perhaps it's a good thing that some folks in England are pursuing greener flights, as the Guardian reported last week that Britons are the world's biggest emitters of CO2 from air travel. (Researchers blame both their island home and their propensity for low-cost carriers as two major causes.)
Fortunately there are a few Brits who are creative enough to forego air travel completely in their efforts to get off their isle (and no, we don't just mean the Chunnel). Let us first introduce Ed Gillespie, author of the "Slow Travel" blog and columnist for the Guardian. This past March, he and his girlfriend set off on an around-the-world journey that employs "every mode of transport available"—except planes. His point: "reveling in the
slow movement through landscape, culture, people, and language rather
than just passing over it all in an aluminium sausage!"
So far, Ed has made his way to Australia and is driving a camper van through the Outback, where he's apparently met up with some suicidal kangaroos and had to shower with a python in his bathroom. We wish him luck.
Next up, there's Jason Lewis, who just completed his own circumnavigation of the globe without using planes. The only thing is, he didn't use trains, cars, or any other transport that he couldn't power himself. So he essentially propelled himself around the planet, using a bike, kayak, in-line skates, and a pedal boat. It took him 13 years to make the 46,000-mile journey, during which he broke both his legs, was pursued by alligators, threatened by one fiendish gun-toting American, questioned for being a spy, and survived a shark attack.
In one of his last posts on his blog, Jason revisits the days when circumnavigation was still a novel idea:
Yesterday Nancy Sanford and I pedaled from Gravesend into the lower reaches of the Thames, signaling the start of the final furlong to Greenwich. The sun broke through after midday and it turned into a glorious autumn afternoon, perfect weather to be messing around in a boat on the water in England. There was more than just a hint of symbolism slipping up the river past the bustling activity of east London docklands in much the same way as ships returning from the far east laden with spices and other oriental treasures would have done back in the golden age of sail.
Congratulations, Jason! What an achievement!
And finally, there's Anita Sethi, who is traveling from London to Sydney in an Oz-bus. Run by a new adventure tour company that started up this year, the tour will take her through 20 countries in 12 weeks. She's writing a column about her trip, and we're looking forward to learning more about her adventures.
Photos: Ed Gillespie; Expedition 360