Voyage home: boat-hitching to Oz

All journeys eventually end in the same place, home.”
– Chris Geiger

Fletcher ship

The bank balance was telling us what neither of us wanted to believe: the journey was coming to an end. Time to think about heading home…

It had been an expensive few months: purchasing visas, long distance travel, a parcel home, new DJ equipment and a visit to Angkor Wat. 50 and 100 baht notes coursing through our fingers, flowing out like folded paper boats on an outgoing tide. And not just baht: riel, US dollars, Lao kip and renminbi: tiny slips of colored paper with embossed kings’ heads and national monuments – bound for other places, other peoples’ pockets. It was as it should be. Flowing out, flowing in.

Despite the recent bout of spending we were still proudly more or less on budget: roughly 140 pounds (AUD$200) p/week for the two of us – gas, food and lodgings. In this way, we’d managed 14 months of travel in 15 countries: by our standards, it was a triumph!

With less than one thousand pounds remaining we decided to turn all our energy toward what really matters: completing the journey overland from England to Australia without flying, at the least cost, maximum fun and adventure.

Problem = solution!

The answer was simple: boat hitch-hiking.

A friend of Richie’s had made the reverse journey a few years ago, travelling from Hobart to Bangkok, via New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Soloman Islands: looking after children, scrubbing decks, cooking and keeping lookout. It was possible. It had been for her, and it would be for us.

We put out our feelers. Phuket and Langkawi sounded like the most probable destinations from which to hitch a ride. Our friend Bonnie, a seasoned sailor, recommended a number of crew-seeking websites, and Dad forwarded links to cargo ships plying the route from Singapore to Sydney. We ruled nothing out, piracy and people-smuggling included!

Today you can find us shacked up in old town Phuket, waiting for the tides to turn: haunting marinas, liaising with salty-dog sailers, eavesdropping on itinerant surfers, and taking advice from yacht-club veterans who have seen more than their fair share of vagrants and hopefuls board ship, bunker down, and sail home.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
– Ernest Hemingway



Filed under Culture, Earth Care, Travel

10 responses to “Voyage home: boat-hitching to Oz

  1. I shared this latest blog of yours on my Facebook page, Nina – you never know, someone may have a contact or good advice! x Denise

  2. Pingback: Buses, Beaches and Bangkok | Patchworks

  3. Holly

    Good luck loves xxxx

  4. I absolutely love your blog posts and think you’re doing a really amazing job!
    I am certain the tides will turn again for you at precisely the right time. When everything in the universe aligns just as it should it will be your turn to catch a ride again.
    I really look forward to hearing those sea-dog tales.

    Have you thought about writing a book? When is it due out?

  5. Gerd and Kamala

    We have been with you all the way and especially now as you home in on your bright future. Lots of luck for a perfect last leg and much love Namaste Kamala, Gerd and Lea

  6. Kay

    we wish you all the luck in the world, we so hope you are able to end your amazing adventure on a high, much love K and S xx

  7. Lyn Langbein

    How exciting a sea journey. Your writing is a joy to read as you transport us into your world. xxx

  8. Great way to cover some miles – good luck with your boat and captain search… I did the same from Galapagos to Tahiti and it was an amazing experience with some really good people. Some of the sailors I met whilst waiting for my boat to arrive (with no guarantee I’d actually get on board as crew) suggested that going to the marinas and hanging out in the cafes and bars that the other crews visit is the best way to get yourself a boat hitch. Who knows, you might get lucky and actually land a paid hitch! Good luck and enjoy!

    P.S. Just in case you’re interested, my blog boat adventure starts here:

  9. Paul

    I have been following your travels since Sue and I met you by the Viko river in Greece. Good luck on this next swim in your journey.

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