First of all, James is planning on going to Egypt to meet friends. To do this without flying he intends to get a Ro Ro ferry (really a small cargo ship) from Mersin in Southern Turkey, to Port Said in Egypt.
To get to Mersin, he is largely intent on exploring what is involved in hitch-hiking, and couch surfing to find places to stay.
UPDATE: To start the trip, James is now planning on getting on the Eurostar to Brussels – amazingly only £5 more than a ferry only to Calais, and much quicker and environmentally sound. Plus, it makes his first day nice and easy and means he can get stuck into the hitch-hiking once firmly on the continent! After getting to Brussels, he is planning (if all goes well) to hitch-hike through Nuremberg (Germany), Maribor (Slovenia), Belgrade (Serbia), Sofia (Bulgaria) and then Istanbul, Ankara and Mersin in Turkey.
Hitch-hiking, though widely considered dead in the UK, is still fairly common on the continent, or so James has been told. As you are filling an empty seat in someone’s car, it is certainly an environmentally-conscious way to travel, sharing their emissions between more people.
Couch surfing is based on the couchsurfing.org website and involves people advertising their spare couch or beds for travellers to sleep in, in return for being able to find couches to stay elsewhere. It is certainly a great way to meet people and gain insights into a place and its people that you never would from a hotel. By making spare couches a common and shared resource it also cuts down significantly on the costs required of someone travelling overland city to city. More on the need for cutting costs below…
After Egypt, James has to Ro Ro ferry, hitch-hike and couch surf back Northwards again, this time to Le Havre in the North of France. Le Havre is a port town, and there he is planning on getting on a container ship that will take him across the Atlantic to Latin America. To get to Guatemala where he disembarks will take 17 days, and that duration is reflected in the substantial cost of the ship – some £1500 one way – around 4 times what a plane ticket might cost.
Once in Guatemala, James will swiftly go by bus to Nicaragua, where he intends to volunteer until around February at Clinica Xochil, a women’s health clinic that is a partner of ENCA, and that has been important to local banana worker’s legal battles against pesticide companies, helping present clinical evidence for the health problems they’ve suffered.
That is the plan so far – after that James hopes to continue travelling the region, including making other contact with ENCA partners and moving further afield than Central America, while avoiding air transport. Please keep looking for more updates!
More will follow – once he is in Egypt James is planning on providing a little bit more info on what carbon is saved/ used by all these difrferent means of travel (and not to mention some stories about hitch-hiking)