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New Bus Line, London to Sydney (US$7500)

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  • New Bus Line, London to Sydney (US$7500)

    LONDON, England (CNN) -- If you think traveling overland on a bus from London to Sydney sounds like something exclusively for 20-something backpackers, think again.

    In September, 38 people will embark on a trip that does just that, and one in four passengers onboard will be aged over 50.

    The group -- one-third Irish, one-third English and one-third Australian -- will be the first to do the trip covering 20 countries and organized by London-based company Ozbus.

    The idea is the brainchild of Mark Creasey, an Englishman who backpacked around the world a few times in his 20s, including one trip from Sydney that was largely overland.

    "Back then you couldn't go any further than Thailand because all the borders were closed," he told CNN.

    A few years back Creasey, 37, began hearing about people who were traveling independently on overland routes from Australia to the United Kingdom.

    "I got the atlas out and looked at it. Apart from Burma (Myanmar), all the other countries that were once closed can now be traveled through."

    Two years ago, Creasey started researching whether he could make a business out of the idea.

    "When you think about the amount of backpackers who travel between the UK and Down Under it's vast," he says.

    The company launched on January 2 this year, and within three and a half months, the first trip was fully booked.

    Creasey and his team have done reconnaissance missions of the entire trip, in two parts, building relations with local agents in each country. There will be three crew members on the trips.

    "There's been an awful lot of planning because of the magnitude of the trip. There's an awful lot that can -- and probably will -- go wrong," he says.

    "There's been no framework of reference to compare it to. There's another company that does it on a one-off basis and goes only as far as Singapore."

    The group taking part in the inaugural 12-week trip in September is made up of a mixture of people, with three aged between 18 and 20, and a quarter aged over 50.

    "There aren't too many students. I think it's probably too expensive for them," says Creasey.

    "A lot of people over 50 have expressed interest in it. I think that's because it's novel. It would appeal to people who have paid off their house, their kids have left home and they're looking for an adventure that's a little bit different."

    The group leaves from London. They then take a ferry across the English Channel and travel across Europe through France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

    From there, they head to Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and East Timor.

    They will travel on the same bus the whole way. Once they get to East Timor, group members fly to Darwin, but the bus goes on a boat. From Darwin they get back on the bus and drive down to Sydney, the final destination.

    Creasey says he has some concerns about traveling through Iran because of sensitive relations between it and a lot of western countries who are worried about Iran's nuclear program.

    "We're monitoring the situation. We're a bit worried about Iran but hopefully we won't have to change the route," he says.

    "Luckily there are alternative routes the whole way through. Whilst it's a bit of a headache, we won't be putting people at risk."

    Trips cost 3,750 ($7,500). From January, Ozbus will offer a Sydney to London trip.

    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    -Benjamin Franklin



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