How committed are you to travelling green?
It’s the question that will confront anyone who starts reading Babs2Brisbane, a book about a woman who decided to take the most eco-friendly route possible from Wales to Australia.
It was definitely the question haunting me when I started reading this book while sitting at 36,000 feet on a plane heading for Sydney for a four day holiday. I had done all the usual green things – offsetting the carbon credits, picked green accommodation – and knew that when I was in Sydney, I would be relying on foot and pedal power to get me around. Still, compared to Barbara Haddrill, I wasn’t even a light shade of green.
Barbara also needed to get to Australia, in her case for a her best friend’s wedding. But Barbara is also a confirmed greenie who works for the Center for Alternative Technology in Wales. Living ‘totally off the grid’ in a caravan, Barbara uses the nearby river to generate hydro-electricity, collects wood lying on the forest floor for heating, grows her own vegetables and fruits and raises chooks for eggs.
So for Barbara, flying on a plane to Australia was simply not an option. It was too counterproductive to the way she lived her life. No way did she want to be on a plane that was emitting damaging carbon emissions into the environment. But not going to her best friends wedding was also not an option.
Luckily, with a lot of brainstorming and research, Barbara devised a plan – by bus, boat, train, bike, and even horse drawn cart – to get from Wales to Brisbane, Australia just in time for the wedding. The only catch – the 12,000 kilometer trip took 50 days instead of the usual 18 to 24 hours.
It is definitely the road less travelled.
Babs2Brisbane documents her travels through 18 countries, highlighting adventures (arriving in Bangkok in the aftermath of a coup) and misadventures (being bitten by a dog, which, thankfully, was not rapid) along the way.
Total CO2 emissions from the round trip from Machynlleth to Brisbane and back was 1.8 tonnes compared to the 11.2 tonnes that would have resulted from flying.
A greener trip you might never find.