The Art of Free Travel: A frugal family adventure

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       October 28, 2015


Author  Patrick Jones, Meg Ulman

ISBN:                 9781742234434
Publisher:         New South Publishers
Release Date:    


For a family who love adventure, the outdoors and travel, this is a great read. Because the book is co-written by Patrick and Meg, you get both perspectives on the journey they undertook. And what a journey it was!

To begin with, both authors led rather alternative lifestyles. They shared artistic careers, as well as a need for freedom and adventure.Patrick’s first relationship with Mel ended because of his inability to pursue an ordinary life. He wanted to get rid of his car and walk to work, saving money and working less. He broke up with Mel, met Meg, and they teamed up as kindred souls. The two families blended well, and when Patrick said that he wanted to travel around Australia, he was able to take both of his sons.

The planning was not as well thought out as it could have been. When they were lost in a forest on the first day and found the compass was from a Christmas cracker, they went home to re plan their journey. This time they planned a longer trip, from Daylesford to Cooktown, and they needed to select the best transport.

This turned out to be an e bike, or electrical bike, for each person, which they could charge at many locations along the way. This form of transport would allow them to travel as far as they wanted, they could catch a train if need be, and go off road. There were also many concerns the family had. Sharing the road with trucks, careless drivers, along with bad patches of road, sunburn and thirst were a few things to worry about.

Once on the road, Patrick and Meg began to relax and develop a routine. They were enjoying the scenery and the people they met. They discovered groups that assist cyclists, and gave them a hot shower along the way. At one stage they joined a protest group against fracking, and were ecstatic when the gas company backed off. There were tough times too. When travelling through inland Queensland, they were running low on water, and Meg fell off her bike several times because of the rough road.

One of the ideas Patrick and Meg had, was to collate a list of free food (bush tucker) found along the way. Included in this were medicinal plants. This list is at the end of the book with common and botanical names given .There is also a comprehensive list of what equipment they took on the journey, from bikes to electrical tape.

It was an epic journey and an unforgettable adventure. One feels it would take a large adjustment to return to their former lives, and wonder if the urge to travel would see them doing something similar again.