I better leave for Sydney today

Now I'm trying hard to stay positive and not let the thought of 22 hours in the company of my own thoughts bother me.

The end of this next month should see me taking the longest flight of my life; from London to Sydney for Web Directions, then on to Spain for Fundamentos Web. Two conferences, a world apart. But after this week's alleged terrorist plot and the resulting clamp down on hand-luggage, I'm thinking of leaving right away and travelling by ship.

Packing advice for UK passengers

According to BBC News and the UK Department for Transport, my MacBook Pro and iPod are banned from hand-luggage.

Thinking of ways to stay entertained for the 22 hour flight, I first thought of taking some travel games, like Battleships or Scrabble; not much fun to play on my own but I'm sure I might find someome to play with.

But no, entertainment of this kind is also banned. A good time to read a long book, I thought. Maybe Doctor Zhivago or Gone With The Wind? Sorry, books are out too. Well, if I can't read, I'll write, the old fashioned way with pen and notebook. Err, no, sorry.

Now I'm trying hard to stay positive and not let the thought of 22 hours in the company of my own thoughts bother me. So I have found an alternative way to get to Australia. One that will let me take my Mac, iPod, even my damn scooter if I want to (Ed says: Malarkey, you don't own a scooter!).

It's looking such an attractive option, I might just do it.

To Australia by sea (via Suez)

After a quick Google, I found a company called Strand Travel who offer passenger voyages on cargo ships to all kinds of destinations. One such trip (A-AUS02) will take me from Tilbury in Essex all the way to Sydney.

Australia (via Suez)

Company: CMA CGM France
Nationality of Officers and Crew: French and international
Age Limit: 75

Itinerary: Tilbury (UK), Hamburg (Germany), Rotterdam (Netherlands), La Spezia (Italy), Damietta (Egypt), Suez Canal, Melbourne (Australia), Sydney (Australia) [...]


The cost of this little trip (one way) will be £3,960.00 and will take me 36 days, so I should just about get to Web Directions in time. The round trip will take 84 days and cost £7,395.00.

Trying out my sea legs

So I guess if I'm going to get there by ship in time, I better start packing. Anyone fancy coming along?


  1. #1 On August 11, 2006 06:24 PM Matt Robin said:

    'A slow boat to China'....err....Sydney?

    Sure - why the hell not! :D

  2. #2 On August 11, 2006 06:30 PM Ben Kannenberg said:

    I went home to Adelaide for christmas, and the flight was bad enough with mp3 player etc. I couldn't imagine doing it without anything to keep you occupied. The worst is singapore airport on your own for 5 hours. Hope you dont have to do that either, Maybe post yourself via air mail in a big box? Good luck getting through aussie customs though.

  3. #3 On August 11, 2006 06:32 PM Andrew Disley said:

    Just a thought but could you not get the channel tunnel to Europe, grab a flight from there that allows you to take your hand luggage or are all the airports / airlines doing the same?

    I personally couldn't stand a flight for 22 hours without a book / laptop / ipod and the thought of not even being able to scribble is painful to think about.

  4. #4 On August 11, 2006 06:33 PM Tom said:

    You could have fun on the plane organizing everyone into running from one side of the plane to the other!

  5. #5 On August 11, 2006 06:37 PM Malarkey said:

    @ Andrew Disley: That is a great idea! I'm looking into that!

  6. #6 On August 11, 2006 07:14 PM paul haine said:

    Just spend 22 hours kicking the seat in front of you.

  7. #7 On August 11, 2006 08:36 PM Analgesia said:

    Just fly to Amsterdam first. Take your Mac out of your suitecase and into your hand baggage and fly to Syndey from there.

    Or just put yourself inside the suitecase your mac is going into. A bit crammed and you probably have to pay extra for going over your weight limit though.

  8. #8 On August 11, 2006 08:39 PM Jan Bra�na said:

    Okay, yesterday I changed my BA flight from d.construct (i.e. Gatwick) from 11.9. to 10.9. (the next time I should think about picking the dates...) but today I'm not even sure if I should really confirm it instead of let's say getting back to an original plan of making a road trip there. Additionally trains from Prague (to Brussels to Victoria) suck badly pretty much the same as buses. Is car the only choice?

  9. #9 On August 11, 2006 09:00 PM Alex Clarke ( Haga ) said:

    I got bored after 3 hours on a flight to Florida, and thats with all-manner of gadgits and gizmos to keep me ocupied. I wouldn't be suprised if some one blows up a few planes for some excitement

  10. #10 On August 11, 2006 09:59 PM Ian Lloyd said:

    Erm, Andy .... I think your son is a terrorist in the making. :-D

  11. #11 On August 11, 2006 10:05 PM Malarkey said:

    @ Ian Lloyd: I'm sure he meant to be funny.

  12. #12 On August 11, 2006 11:05 PM Ian Lloyd said:

    Ar, indeed he be.

  13. #13 On August 11, 2006 11:17 PM Small Paul said:

    Y'know, I think 15 years ago, I might have felt differently about the idea of 22 hours with nothing to do. It would have still been a pretty nasty prospect, but with the advent of the internet and iPods and PSPs, the idea of actuallly being without information for 22 hours seems like torture.

  14. #14 On August 12, 2006 01:48 AM nortypig said:

    Yes stick to the sea malarkey - a fine pirate name you have going there too i might add...

    planes scare the jelly beans out of me and i use them under protest. its highly unnatural to sit on that much aviation fuel and hurtle down a runway at that speed.

    i have to say the terrorists might strike occasionally but it does their cause no real good in the big picture. hows it working for the middle east at the moment? mmm. I saw on the tv too where these liquid bombs have been around for at least 10 years - shite!!!

    my step son is an architect and in London and variously travelling Europe at the moment - its a worry.

    good luck.

  15. #15 On August 12, 2006 09:40 AM Nick Roper said:

    Ben Kannenberg : Re Aussie customs / immigration; I heard a story about a Brit who, on entering Australia, was asked whether he had a criminal record? He replied - 'No, sorry, I didn't realise it was still a requirement!'

    He got to sit in a room on his own for 3 or 4 hours and then they let him through...

    Might be urban legend, but I'd like to think it was true.

  16. #16 On August 12, 2006 11:07 AM Pete said:

    You could always pack yourself into a suitcase and go in the cargo hold too. Then you'd have access to all manner of gizmos to play with.

  17. #17 On August 12, 2006 12:16 PM Espen liland said:

    22hrs on a plane = boring
    36 days on a cargo ship = �ber-boring

    Driving however, is fun and exciting. Plus, you get to see about the entire world: London -> France -> Belgium -> Germany -> Austria -> a couple of those Eastern Europe type countries -> Ankara, Turkey. That's as far as the RAC Route Planner would take me, but from there to Indonesia, and a ferry across to Australia, should be easy. Just follow the signs.

  18. #18 On August 12, 2006 01:13 PM Jan Bra�na said:

    Ok, now more seriously... I remember myself not taking care about MP3s or iBook on the last long-haul flight - I was watching Friends, Joey, Sex and the City and similar TV series all the time (10hrs+, instead of sleeping) so you may survive that too.

    @Nick: LOL