Across the Globe by Train

Sitting on a train on my way back from London where I collected our passports from the Vietnamese Embassy, I have a little moment of peace to write this blog entry. The past three weeks have been a little hectic especially because of our visas, but we have finally managed to get all the necessary paperwork done and now have our passports all stamped and ready to start our journey across the globe by rail.

It has been thirteen years since I was last in an airplane – not because I am frightened of flying but because of climate change and a desire to do something about it. Although most of the greenhouse gas emissions are produced by large players, it is clear that we all contribute to the problem and that reducing our own carbon footprint is the most logical place to start. So when we decided that we would spend a year at the Green School in Bali, we started to look at the environmental implications of the trip and after studying various options, came to the conclusion that going by rail and boat would be a good compromise. Walking, cycling and sailing were beyond our current capabilities, and road transport was rather uncertain and less desirable. The discovery that one could go from London to Singapore mostly by train via the Trans-Mongolian really got us excited and once we calculated that it would reduce our carbon footprint by around 60% (as compared to flying) we decided to take on the challenge. And now with our train tickets all the way to Hanoi in our pockets, it looks like we are going to be able to reach Bali without flying.

Many people have asked us what our itinerary was and although it is bound to change a little, here is our ‘at-a-glance’ schedule:


We are not sure how to communicate our progress visually – ideally we would like to have an interactive map on this blog but have not yet discovered an easy way of doing it. If anyone knows how we can customise a Google Map or can point us to an easy online app that works with WordPress, we would be grateful to hear from you.

Petersfield, my home station, is approaching and a long list of tasks awaits me. So for now, I will post this picture of our dream-board  map and let your imagination do the rest.

Dreamboard map

Five more days and we should be on track!



One Comment on “Across the Globe by Train

  1. This is a remarkable saga and your planning has been amazing. But what happens to the whole schedule if a train is late?! Train travel is wonderful and I hope you cannot have too much of a good thing. I envy you much of it but not all at once. In particular you should enjoy Hanoi to Vientiane which is a long but fascinating bus journey. And Vientiane by rail to Singapore should be magic. I have done all of it but in bits spread out over three decades. The Thai railways are in a wonderful state of decay and the station master stops tending his flowers and grabs his cap and uniform and his green flag as a train approaches. If you need somewhere to relax, Singapore would be great but then a ship from Batam onwards to Jakarta should be magical too. If you need any suggestions for Bangkok do let me know. The big question is… assuming you actually want to come home, do you intend to do the same journey in reverse or are you taking a tramp steamer across the Pacific?

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