Simon Calder: An extreme answer to the problem of jet lag

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The Independent Online

The joke about asking for directions and being told: "Well, I wouldn't start from here," certainly applies to Barbara Haddrill. If cash is no object, you can travel by land and sea from mid-Wales to much of the world with relative ease - but not, sadly, to Australia.

The trickiest part could be leaving Machynlleth. The Centre for Alternative Technology, where Ms Haddrill works, is on the mid-Wales railway line, but should she arrive at 4.10pm or later on Sunday she could spend the first night of her journey on the platform at Wolverhampton; the National Rail Enquiries website shows a five-hour gap between the bus from Shrewsbury and the train to London.

After that, it is straightforward to Hong Kong: a combination of buses (to Moscow) and the Trans-Mongolian train via Ulan Bator to Beijing should see her to the former Crown Colony within a couple of weeks.

Ms Haddrill's library of guidebooks will come into its own for the journey south-west to the Vietnamese border, and across the Mekong to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The trail then passes to Bangkok (Khmer Rouge minefields permitting), where expresses can whisk her to Singapore before some island-hopping across Indonesia to Bali.

In the early 1970s, when Tony and Maureen Wheeler - Lonely Planet founders - first went Across Asia on the Cheap, there were plenty of slow boats between Bali and Australia. These are now few and far between, so finding a place on a private yacht may be the best bet. Darwin is the most likely landfall in Australia, where the alternatives are the long bus journey or the train.

The Ghan leaves twice a week for Tarcoola Junction, where the Indian Pacific from Perth joins. The connection may be a couple of days, though, so Adelaide may be a better place to change. From Sydney a high-speed train connects to the Queensland capital.

Total time? Six weeks should do it. Cost? £2,000, far more than the lowest air fare. But it's one way to avoid jet lag.