Around the world by land & sea!

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that I would be embarking on a trip by land and sea around the world later this year. It will be my most challenging trip to date, and something I am very excited about. I have tried not to write much about it until now, as I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for such a venture, however after a few recent developments, I feel it is time to start putting my plans into place. It is for this reason that I thought I’d let you all know about my trip, how I am raising the funds for such a venture, and also a basic itinerary in case anyone would like to meet up with me along the way!

The Motivation

I love to travel, but I hate flying! Aside from an ever increasing fear of hurtling to the ground at high speeds however, over the last few years I have become particularly passionate about travelling green. I have been looking for a way to help promote green travel, and getting more people thinking outside the box when booking their mode of transport. I knew I had to do something ambitious if I wanted to achieve my goal, both to grab people’s attention, and also to show them that not only is travel without a flight possible, but it can also be the experience of a lifetime! Through all this though, I am not here to tell people they should never take a flight, as sometimes travel without a flight is just not practical. What I would like to achieve with this trip however, is simply to get more people thinking about the effects that their style of travel has, and also about the incredible benefits that come with travel over land & sea, especially for a traveller looking to get off the beaten track. Above and beyond any green or eco gestures or ambitions, I am simply just passionate about travel! Travelling long distances by land and sea can provide you with the opportunity to visit and experience communities, people, and places you never would have otherwise. First and foremost it’s my love for travelling that had prompted me to embark on this trip, and I hope that comes across most of all in my writing here on Runaway Jane.


As with all itinerary’s, they are subject to change. However, this will most likely be the route that I will be taking. I plan to leave sometime during the last week of October (providing I can raise the necessary funds in time to complete such a venture), and will most likely take about 12-18 months to complete. If you think you will be passing through the same area, or are thinking of doing something similar, feel free to get in touch. I’m always happy to meet up with other travellers, travel bloggers, writers, or anybody else who feels like coming along. I plan on travelling slow, and if I really like a place then I may end up staying a little longer, and so like the keep my time frames pretty flexible. The itinerary is as follows:

Part 1 – Europe
Starting off in Edinburgh, I will travel by train down to Newcastle. From Newcastle I will catch a ferry to Amsterdam, and from there a high speed train to Moscow, with one main stop off in Berlin, and possible stop off in Poland and Belarus. I estimate it will take me about 2 to 4 months to get from Edinburgh to Moscow as I will be spending some time exploring Amsterdam and Berlin along the way, as well as some time exploring Eastern Europe.
Part 2 – Trans-Siberian Express
I plan to spend a number of week exploring Moscow and the surrounding areas before departing on the Trans-Siberian Express to Beijing. The route I will be taking travels through most of Russia, before going through Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), and then onto Beijing. I hope to be travelling on an open ticket, and so plan to make some spur of the moment stop off in Central Russia, depending on how I am coping with such a long distance train journey, and would really love to experience Siberia. Overall I estimate this part of the journey could take up to 5 months as I will be spending a lot of time in Moscow, Central Russian, and Mongolia.
Part 3 – China
I intend to spend at least one month in Beijing and surrounding areas, as this will be my first experience of China. Depending on my finances I may also seek work teaching English here, which could extend my stay in the area for a number of months. After leaving Beijing I will depart on the sleeper train to Shanghai, and from there leave by Cargo Ship for the USA (most likely LA or San Diego).
Part 4 – North America
I plan to spend at least 2 months in California, making my way from Southern California up the West Coast to San Jose, and San Francisco by Greyhound bus. From San Francisco I will make my way to Vancouver in Canada, again by Greyhound bus, and then a cross country trip by rental car, or whatever means necessary to New York. This part of the trip in particular I expect to take at least 4 months.
Part 5 – Coming Home
I plan to spend up to 3 months experiencing New York, and preparing for the last part of my journey, as from New York I will depart by Cargo Ship again to Reykjavik. From there I will take a cruise ship to Thurso via the Faroe Islands, and by train and/or bus from Thurso back to Edinburgh! It may be that I can not go to Iceland from New York however. If this is the case I may need to get a Cargo Ship to Spain, and from there I will go by train back to Edinburgh via Paris and London.

How I will raise the funds for this trip, and how you can help!

All the proceeds generated from the sale of my new eBook “The Independent Travel Resources” will go towards funding this trip. You can purchase it for as little as £3 (GBP), or equivalent in dollars, euro’s etc, plus a small exchange fee. I will also be holding a small exhibition here in my hometown of Linlithgow (near Edinburgh), and so if you happen to be in Scotland in September then please come along! I am also in talks for various sponsorship deals, and will be taking part in various interviews online, in print, and via radio & podcast very shortly, which I will update people on via twitter as and when they are published. If you would like to interview me for you blog, website, or anything else, please feel free to get in touch via the Contacts page and I will be happy to take part.

I will be blogging about my travels here on Runaway Jane when I depart, as well as keeping up with my usual travel articles, and other activities I regularly post on here at the moment, so be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed if you haven’t already and follow me on my trip by land and sea around the world!

12 Responses to “Around the world by land & sea!”

  1. ayngelina says:

    Cargo ship, that is crazy! Awesome crazy though. I’m leaving on Thursday for a sailing trip from Panama to Colombia and already in high anxiety as I’m not sure if I’ll get seasick or not!

  2. Benny says:

    Love it. Travelling by land and sea – dominates!

    Oh and ayngelina – That trip is epic. I did it last year through the San Blas Islands – best ever. I hope you have Mike an aussie skipper and Maurizio the Italian chef. Take rum for coconuts.

  3. Tom McMillan says:

    Hi Jane,

    I did a lot of the journey (Scotland to China) you are planning in reverse in 2008 with my wife. We had a fantastic time and still reminisce about it on a regular basis. As you are probably aware visas and bureaucracy are probably going to be your biggest challenge but that’s half the fun. If you want to know more about our trip we have a website called which might be of interest.

    Have a great trip.

  4. Rhona says:

    wow, what a cool and exciting trip you have planned! i would love to be in your suitcase…only bypassing mongolia that is. 🙂 i look forward to your updates on this amazing journey.

  5. Gray says:

    That is a very cool itinerary. I’m fascinated by how you’re using old-fashioned transportation methods (long-distance train, cargo boat) to get places. That in itself should make for an interesting read.

  6. natalie says:

    How on earth did you get passage aboard a cargo ship and do you know how one could get work aboard a cargo ship, trans-atlantic or pacific, to pay for passage?

    • jane says:

      Hi natalie, I haven’t been aboard the Cargo Ship yet, that won’t be for some time on the trip. As far as I am aware however, you can’t work on Cargo Ships anymore in exchange for passage as rules of changed a lot in the last 10 years or so. You can pay to travel on many Cargo Ships, but it is expensive. Is usually around $80-$140 a day.

  7. rosanna says:

    Hi Jane,
    I am leaving for Cairo in 2 days (by air) but have begun to fantasize about traveling without flying the next time. I would love to go to Europe from San Francisco, via Greenland and Iceland. I see that you will try to sail to Scotland via Iceland from New York. I’m very interested in your route and your entire trip. When you get to California, please let me know and maybe we can meet up!

  8. aidar says:

    Try Mongolia next summer holiday

  9. Chuck says:

    Just came across your article. I had a wonderful experience. Just finished a cargo ship trip on Eiffel with Sea Travel Ltd – agents booking cargo ship travel. I went from Charleston to Egypt and had excellend service from them and the crew. Recommend it to all. You will love that type of travel.


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