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Babs to Brisbane
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Babs 2 Brisbane by Barbara Haddrill

Ed Hamer

19th June, 2009

Travelling from the UK to the Australia by land and sea is a mission - but it is possible. Ed Hamer is impressed by this travelogue which describes one woman's journey

In the summer of 2005 Barbara Haddrill, who works at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, was asked to be a bridesmaid at her best-friend's wedding in Brisbane Australia. Compelled to go, but as a committed environmentalist - determined not to fly, Babs was not about to take her principles lightly.

So began Babs' quest to find the most eco-friendly route to the other side of the planet and back. After researching the comparative carbon footprint of every conceivable mode of transport and the numerous overland options Babs finally set off in September 2006 armed with a rucksack, an accordion and a fine selection of transit-visas.

Overwhelmed by the interest she received from friends, family and strangers during the planning of her trip she set up the blog ‘Babs2Brisbane' which was followed by thousands, criticised by a few, and admired by many more. Throughout the course of her adventure, Babs' blog became a forum for people around the world to debate the moral justifications for air travel and to ask the question: Can one person really make a difference?

Her subsequent book details her experience of organising her epic voyage, from thorough preparations, to quirky travel anecdotes and the practicalities of getting from Machyncleth to Brisbane and back without flying. Each chapter contains an index of factual and practical information including the costs, visa requirements and CO2 emissions for each leg of the journey, as well as information on food, waste and energy used.

While Babs' book could easily leave you feeling guilty about not doing your bit for the planet, her personal and honest account of her journey reminds us that we are, after all, only human. Babs 2 Brisbane is a well-paced travelogue with a strong conviction that will leave you both informed and inspired.

Babs 2 Brisbane by Barbara Haddrill (Centre for Alternative Technology Publications, £10.99)



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