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Around the World in 80 Ways

Conference Bike, Berlin

A circumnavigation of the globe using as many different methods of transport as possible.

Synopsis

In the summer of 2005, my friend Thom and I completed a journey around the world using eighty modes of transport.

The result of a brain storming session in a remote wooden hut in Bolivia, high on expedition-related endorphines and low on blood sugar, this was my third and final consecutive “summer holiday” at university.

Thom and I set ourselves the goal of getting all the way around the world without using the same method of transport more than once. That didn’t include buses around town and that sort of thing. We did stretch the rules a bit though by including an electric train, a steam train and diesel train…

Nonetheless, in time for the very definite deadline of my brother’s wedding, the two of us stormed our away across the globe at speed, racked up our “80 ways” and had some wonderfully odd encounters en route.

We raised a few thousand pounds for the TreeHouse School on our way and, as a result, I was given a Year of the Volunteer Innovation Award.

Diaries from the Road

During the trip I was sponsored by the travel website Igo Ugo to maintain a diary. Several of the pieces were voted for ‘Best of Igo Ugo’ awards. Here are some of the entries:

  1. An Idea Is Born – How the plan was first formulated
  2. The Embassy Run – Dashing around London trying to obtain the necessary visas
  3. Telegraph Photo Shoot – An entertaining day spent blagging photo opportunities for a newspaper
  4. The Launch – The expedition begins with a pedal-powered hovercraft on Gower Street

View the rest of the diary entries

This project also features in the following posts:

  1. Matt Baker Rickshaw Challenge (and other celebrity expeditions)
  2. Top 10 Expedition Dramas
  3. Some Touching Expedition Memories
  4. Freedom (Or: Why cycling to work is the answer to all of your worries)
  5. Top 10 Expedition Highs (and Lows)
  6. 5 Tips on Fundraising (RGS Explore Conference Special)

Off-Beat Slideshow

A wonderful slideshow put together by Offbeat London. The facts are a little fuzzy but that shouldn’t get in the way of a good story.

[Video above not displaying? Watch here instead]

You can also read my Off-Beat interview here.

Expedition Report

Below original is the report I wrote after the trip.

Mongolia

 

Abstract

In the summer of 2005, two University College London (UCL) students, Tim Moss and Thom Allen, attempted to circumnavigate the globe using eighty different methods of transport. They gave themselves seven weeks to do it in and were restricted to using each mode of transport only once. They were funded primarily by a UCL Expedition and Travel Committee grant of £3000 and were raising money for the TreeHouse, an educational charity for children with autism.

Preparations

TreeHouse

Since we were aiming to attract attention for the trip, we decided to raise some money for charity while we were going. Tim was working as a tutor for a boy with autism and through his family we were put in contact with TreeHouse – a specialist school for children with autism that’s based in North London.

Getting Sponsors

From the offset to our departure and even during the trip, we were relentlessly pursuing help from various different sources. We wanted free rides and free gear. We received rejection after rejection but we eventually made some progress. We didn’t get Richard Branson to pay for everything but we did get a lot of help on our way – see the full list in the ‘Supporters’ section below.

Are there eighty different methods of transport?

One of the first things we did was to confirm that there were in fact eighty different methods of transport but we didn’t stop there. We encouraged people to look at the list on our website and contribute ideas. At the last check we had about 300!

T-Shirts, Badges and a Top Hat

It was always our plan to wear home-made 80 Ways t-shirts around the world but when people kept asking if they could get one, we went public and sold our t-shirts for charity. We also ran off a batch of 80 Ways badges to give to everyone that helped us out on the way. Robin Dunseath, who led a far more impressive team than ours around the world in a similar ilk, also challenged us to wear a Phileas Fogg style top hat wherever we went (as if we didn’t stand out enough already).

The Route

Our route was only half planned when we left London. We had a train booked from Moscow to Beijing and a flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. Other than that, we had a map of the world and a compass.

We ended up hitch-hiking from UCL Quad in London to Southampton where we took a catamaran to the Isle of Wight (to stay with Thom’s dad). A hovercraft took us to Portsmouth and a ferry took us across the Channel where we hitched in a van and a lorry to Paris. An electric train took us up to Berlin and a bus took us to Moscow. The Trans-Siberian took us to Beijing, via Ulan-Bator. With boats unavailable, we took a first-class train to Shanghai, a domestic flight to Guangzhou and a hydrofoil to Hong Kong. Our international flight took us to San Francisco (via Manila) and then we drove to Montreal. A freight ship sailed us to Antwerp and the EuroStar brought us home.

The Story

My account of the journey is in the full report below. You can also read the sponsored diaries I wrote for IgoUgo as we travelled.

To read the rest of this report…

You can read the whole report by clicking the display above or you can download the PDF.

80 Ways?

  1. Steam Boat Willy, human-powered hovercraft
  2. Mobility Scooter
  3. Red London Bus
  4. Pogo Sticks
  5. Shoe Skates
  6. Toy Car
  7. London Underground
  8. Car Hitchhike
  9. Catamaran Ferry
  10. 4×4 Jeep
  11. Catamaran Sailing Boat
  12. Jet-Ski
  13. Cessna Light Aircraft
  14. Sinclair C5
  15. Tractor
  16. Fire Truck
  17. Dumper Truck
  18. Hovercraft
  19. Unicycle
  20. Ferry-port Shuttle Bus
  21. Cross-Channel Ferry
  22. Big Green Hippy Van
  23. Lorry
  24. Human Wheelbarrow (in the Louvre)
  25. Novelty Bike
  26. Watering Machine
  27. Dotto Train
  28. Diesel Train
  29. Conference Bike
  30. Free Running
  31. Velo Taxi
  32. Forward Rolls (in front of the Reichstag)
  33. S-Bahn
  34. Tram
  35. Coach
  36. Digger
  37. Trolley Bus
  38. Piggy Back
  39. Trans-Mongolian Railway
  40. Horse
  41. Camel
  42. Climbing
  43. Hopping (past a Ger hut)
  44. Steam Train
  45. 3-Wheeled Pickup Truck
  46. Cable Car
  47. Pigeon Steps (inside the Forbidden City)
  48. Rickshaw
  49. Tuk-Tuk
  50. Battery-Powered Bus
  51. 1st Class Train
  52. Evil Henchmen Shuttle Pod
  53. Elevator (to Cloud 9, Shanghai)
  54. Domestic Flight
  55. Minivan
  56. Hydrofoil
  57. Funicular Railway
  58. Pedestrian-Powered Rickshaw
  59. Escalator (World’s Longest)
  60. Double Decker Tram
  61. Leap Frog (in front of the Hong Kong skyline)
  62. Swimming
  63. Coast-Guard Caterpillar Rescue Vehicle
  64. Star Ferry
  65. Airport Golf Buggy
  66. Mobile Floor Polisher
  67. Boeing 747
  68. Bicycle Sidecar
  69. Jeepney
  70. Horse & Cart
  71. Cartwheels (in Paco Park, Manila)
  72. Airbus
  73. Hire Car
  74. Freight Ship
  75. Moon Walking
  76. Channel Tunnel Train
  77. Army Crawling (past the House of Parliament)
  78. Black Cab
  79. Mobile Dustbin
  80. Walking (back into the Quad)

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