Bees, Bushfires, a Baby and Beautiful People
(and also more information about my journey, the why's, hows etc. for those who have asked)
The highlights from a few days in Adelaide were sleeping a lot and playing the accordion I spotted on the shelf in Wilsons organic food shop! What a treat, but I had forgotten a few tunes already! I couldn't get a bus to Alice Springs until 27th January so it was more WWOOFing for me. I was so lucky to find Ben and Lena (and little Elwin) and go and help at 'The Meeting of the Waters'. Here I spent just over two weeks living the life I love at home. A simple life, good food, low impact, beautiful nature (a super fast flowing but slightly fake river included was a good massage!) and beautiful people. Ben and Lena welcomed me into their lovely cob and strawbale home with so much warmth and happiness I felt very relaxed and at home (which is a real treat 16,000km from home!) I spent a day helping their neighbour Don with his bee hives - an adrenaline filled day of learning - the bees were not happy that we were taking their honey! I also experienced my first aussie bush fire which was pretty bad (but could have been worse) and at least they saved the vineyards! It was wierd as we went to have a look to see pure black next to juicy green vines and the odd tree still smouldering, the heat was amazing. Then ensued 4 days of rain and flooding! I am beginning to think I am either a Welsh rain fairy or climate change is really happening!??? So many lovely people came through, mainly to see 5 week old Elwin, but also Ben, Lena and this place's charm. It was a pleasure to meet them all and all are welcome if they are ever in Wales. I don't feel like I did much work but I hope I helped out before my back went OW which is not good as I am spending 2 days on a bus to Alice Springs tomorrow.... We managed to finish the solar oven and start melting the beeswax but didn't get to bake a cake, boo.....So what is next....? I am really excited about seeing the desert and Coober Pedy and the caves! and hanging out in Alice Springs, 40 degrees here we come!
I also wanted to take the time to provide some more information about how I took this trip and also to quash a few silly statements I have read recently about my trip. I don't normally bother but they have been niggling me. Firstly the idea that my trip and others like it was a waste of time because of all the extra energy used travelling to and working harder at 'the office' to pay for it. As anyone who knows me knows, I cycle or walk to work at CAT, which is all powered by renewable energy. I rarely use a computer when operating the water balanced cliff railway or digging out a compost toilet! Secondly, that along the way I will have sudddenly turned into a polluting, non-caring citizen and cause lots of wasted energy everywhere I go. Along the way I have spent at least 6 weeks staying in places using renewable energy and compost toilets and over 4 weeks camping (no electricity). I save water travelling just as much as when at home and a lot of Australia does have low flush toilets. I have used the same environmentally friendly washing products and toiletries. I have been reducing my waste and recycling and composting where possible. I have used public transport and walked and cycled loads. It has been a fun challenge but I think I have been as green as I could. This trip is not just about air travel but about us all taking personal responsibility for reducing all excessive, wasteful and polluting uses of resources.
About COSTS. Overall my trip cost more than flying but as I have said before should we just judge everything on monetary value? The figures people have quoted I think give an unfair impression. Rarely is an airflight actually what is quoted on the web or in the newspaper, but more. From the other bridesmaids I think about 700 pounds return is fair. Some parts of my journey were CHEAPER than the flight, it was really just the cargo ship part which 'upset the balance sheet.' It cost me 2000 pounds to get from Wales to Australia in 7 weeks, that amount includes all my travel, food, accommodation, touristy stuff, everything! The cargo ship cost 1000 of that and was booked through Strand Travel a travel agency in London. www.strandtravel.co.uk
Some examples..... London to Moscow by plane (single) with Aeroflot in September costs 1075 dollars (US)(about 550 pounds - not including any taxes or other hidden things) my bus took 3 days and cost 130 pounds!!! (www.kayak.com and www.eurolines.com for the buses)
Moscow to Beijing by plane (single) with Sibir or Aeroflot is 600 dollars (US) which is 300 pounds (not including taxes etc.). My journey on the trans-siberian took 6 days and cost 190 pounds. (flight info. on www.waytorussia.net) I booked the Trans- Siberian through a travel agency in Russia, Svehzy Veter www.sv-agency.udm.ru and I would highly recommend them.
Beijing to Hanoi by plane would cost 416 euros (286 pounds not including taxes) according to www.e-flights.com but my train cost a whopping 70 pounds! I booked it from the hostel in Beijing.
Finally to answer another comment from before about me spilling oil all over the sea !? I came to Australia on a cargo ship not an oil tank and there was no spillage!! Anyway only 5% of the oil in the sea comes from oil spills. The rest comes from what we wash down our drains from our houses, cars and industry.
Anyway, all I am trying to say is I am trying and I truly believe we all need to take a closer look at everything we do and try and do better for the environment, sooner rather than later!
Sorry this is so long, I hope it is useful and if it sounds like a rant then sorry too, I have been bottling it up for ages!
(photos, me as a beekeeper! and the bush fire and the vines!)
p.s it is so annoying not having a pound sign on the keyboard away from the UK and trying to write all these pounds signs!!!