Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
124Trip End Ongoing
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-- The Usual Suspects
Pete Moore is a travel writer. He has written several books on his travels throughout the world, including Swahili For The Broken Hearted and No Shitting In The Toilet. He also wrote The Wrong Way Home, a tale of his overland journey from London to Sydney, and it is this that I want to mention.
You see, our dear Travelpod few, Mr Moore was unsuccesful in his bid to get to Australia without flying. He kind of moped to Indonesia, wandered around looking for a boat for a while and then caught a flight... and published a book about it.
So, it is with great pleasure that I say.... In your face Pete Moore.
Vinny and I have, six hours ago, achieved the slightly difficult and traversed the globe from Nottingham to Australia without flying. We feel warm inside. Warm and bubbly.
So in your face Pete Moore. And, while we're at it, in your face STA Travel, who also said it couldn't be done. And that Australian we met in Xi'an who laughed at us - in your face too. And some other people as well, who've we forgotten about.
That's out of my system now. I won't mention it again.
Back to the story...
For the last seven days we have been aboard the Theodor Storm - a three hundred metre, 13,000 horsepower cargo ship. It is a German ship, flying a Cypriate flag and crewed by Ukranian officers and Philipino lackeys.
And it all started back in China. You see, back in China we thought it was probably about time we thought about how to get to Australia without flying, as this was going to be the hardest part of the journey. Australia's position in the world and immigration policy, combined with our own lack of ability in crewing on sailing boats (I think they're called yachts) meant that we were going to have to come up with something pretty special of forfeit our goal.
So we e-mailed the Shanghai shipping office, the Singapore shiping office and the British Merchant Navy. At first we pretended to be raising money for charity, but it soon appeared that this wasn't going to get us anything for free (had it worked we would of course had made a sizeable donation to charity). Then we thought about impersonating Michael Palin, but decided neither of us had that 'wholesome' look he delivers so well.
Anyway, the Shanghai shipping office and the Merchant Navy told us to stick it up our ass, but the Singapore office but us onto a Shipping Agent in Switzerland (landlocked country - genius) who made us an offer we couldn't refuse.
So for the last six weeks we were on a deadline, as our boat was set to leave at "approximately 31/10/06" which is very specific.
Because we only got our tickets two days before the boat left, and because we didn't have anything confirmed until then, we left all the info off Travelpod. We didn't want to show off about getting to Oz by boat only for it to go tits up and we had to fly (hence the distracting 'career break' misdirection).
Anyway... there's lots to be said about the last week or two, but for now I just wanted to say In Your Face Pete Moore. In a nice way, obviously. We have pictures, we have anecdotes, we have a review of the 26 films we have seen on the ship DVD player (there's not a LOT to do on a cargo ship)... but it'll have to wait for now - Fremantle beckons.
And we've been in Fremantle for six hours, and have somewhere to live, a bank account and a job.... land of opportunity.
Although, when we bumped into the friendly customs officer in the street half an hour ago, Vinny did drop the career-defining clanger of telling her we both had jobs... despite the fact she had checked his passport a few hours before and knew he didn't have a working visa.... we await deportation with bated breath.