Friday, 9 February 2018

Babs 2 Brisbane by Barbara Haddrill


Babs 2 Brisbane by Barbara Haddrill
Published in the UK by the Centre for Alternative Technology Publications in February 2009.

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Bought during my visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once in a while fate sets you off in a direction you never expected. When Barbara Haddrill was asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend's wedding in Australia she decided to take the most eco-friendly route possible. Giving up on the easy option - a long haul flight that would have got her to Brisbane in 24 hours - she set off on what was to become an incredible nine-month overland journey. This journey changed her life and let to a worldwide debate about air travel. Feted and attacked by journalists and internet bloggers she became the centre of a media storm that threatened to overshadow the whole trip. Half way through her epic adventure, stranded in the Australian outbreak, reliant on the good will of truckers to get her past a dangerous cyanide spill, she fell to a low point of emotional exhaustion, leading her to question the whole point of her journey. Can one person really make a difference?

The Centre for Alternative Technology has the best niche bookshop I have ever seen. I think they must have copies of pretty much every green living book there is so it was tough to make a decision as to which one to buy. As a wanderer myself, albeit on a much smaller scale, Barbara Haddrill's memoir of her overland journey from Wales to Australia instantly appealed. I don't remember the media frenzy at the time of the journey itself - nearly a decade ago now - but it is interesting to think about how much has and hasn't changed in the intervening years.

Haddrill has a very engaging writing style which kept me glued to this book almost from the moment I started reading until I turned to the last page. It's 400 pages, but with a scattering of quirky hand-drawn illustrations and a good sized font! I admit to being overwhelmed simply at the thought of such an ambitious undertaking for myself. Haddrill herself gets by with a mix of good research, good fortune, and the kindness of strangers. Babs 2 Brisbane is a memoir that rekindled my faith in people! I loved reading about aspects of her journey such as the Trans-Siberian railway which I would love to travel on myself. I'm not so sure about the lengthy sea crossings though.

I would recommend Babs 2 Brisbane as essential reading for anyone considering their own travelling experience. Haddrill includes lots of practical information as well as inspiring her readers to reconsider assumptions we have about getting from place to place and our interactions with people through whose countries we pass. Even as individuals, our choices add up to a significant impact on many aspects of the world around us and we might often deprive ourselves of great experiences by (metaphorically or literally) flying straight past.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Barbara Haddrill / Biography and memoir / Books from Wales

4 comments:

  1. I like travel memoirs, this sounds great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's quite different and I found it very interesting

      Delete
  2. I hope one day I get to visit The Centre for Alternative Technology! A bookworm dream huh?! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one so much. Uplifting memoirs are the best! Soul Balms :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CAT is an amazing place - outside of their bookshop too!

      Delete