My love affair with public transport ( and bus maps and timetables ) started when I was about 8. I spent many days wandering around London with a Red Rover ticket in my hand ( no mobile phones in those days so no way your parents could contact you! ) Not that many households had landlines either. A pack of sandwiches in the bag, a kiss, and ‘be back by teatime’ was the order of the day. Of course in those days there were conductors on buses and they undoubtedly kept an eye on kids with Red Rovers.
There are of course disadvantages of moving around by bus and train. Planning is often necessary, you don’t have much flexibilty, you need to travel light and should you miss a connection in a remote spot…..but isn’t that part of the fun? Undoubtedly the internet has made exploring this way much easier. Most timetables are on line. This website tells you Everything you ever needed to know about exploring by train I remember going all the way round Lake Garda by bus ( 3 of them if memory serves, or was one a ferry ?) in an afternoon having flown out from Stansted at breakfast time the same day #hittingthegroundrunning.
But look at the advantages. On public transport you get to meet local people of all ages. REAL people, and you can talk to them ! They will tell you where the local market is and where you can sample local delicacies. And if that wasn’t enough it is the best way to develop your language skills. Have a go in the local language! Older people in particular love a natter at the bus stop.
I’ve been amused at the response i’ve got to ‘where’s the bus stop?’ around the world. In Auckland I was told there ‘aren’t any’ ( same for trains into the city centre ) but of course there were loads. Everyone I knew there was just joined at the hip to their car. Again in Los Angeles I got the same response. Yet LA has loads of buses…….but it’s the poor Hispanics ( and tourists ) who travel on them. I also know quite a few Brits who use public transport all the time on their travels, but in their home town it’s a case of ‘well, we’d love to use it, of course, but……’
So I’ve decided to create this travelogue to show you how to do it. You’ve heard of glamping ? Well the best way to explore the world by public transport is flashpacking. Keep it simple but keep your options open. Flashpackers mostly use a rucksack ( I recommend a Caribee ) but have bigger budgets and credit cards to bring to the party. You want to camp ? Fine. You want to spend a night in a 5* spa? Why not! You get stranded somewhere remote ? Well, you don’t have to worry about paying for a taxi to get you to the nearest town. Mix ‘n match. Move over Portillo, this is how you do it when the BBC isn’t footing the bill and supplying you with a retinue of gofers.
So there we are. That’s what this website is all about. Thanks for rocking up and please get all your friends to ‘Follow’ and join in the fun. There will be plenty of photos.
Here’s a view from a train from today to whet your appetite.
I just ask you to be a patient as I am a WordPress newbie.
Comments and feedback are very much appreciated.
Let’s travel and share ideas together!