Leading article: Trip of a lifetime

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The Independent Online

It might be good for your carbon footprint but what it will do for the size and shape of your bottom is another matter. The first OzBus left London yesterday on a 12-week itinerary that ends at the Sydney Opera House. It will be the world's longest bus journey, something that makes the legendary three-day Greyhound bus journey from New York to Los Angeles look like a positive sprint.

And so it is intended to. Just as the fast food revolution produced – as Newton's third law of motion might have predicted – the equal and opposite reaction of slow food, so international jet travel has produced the OzBus.

The vehicle will trundle its way, averaging a mere 180 miles a day, through three continents. The passengers, who have paid £3,750 each for the journey, will be expected to assist with shopping for food, setting up camp and various other chores. This is not cheap, and it certainly counts as singing for your supper, but the trip does offer, en route, visits to Transylvania, the Taj Mahal, Kathmandu and Everest Base Camp (it is to be hoped that the bus has four-wheel drive) and thence Ayers Rock before arriving in Sydney at 5pm on 9 December.

The thing to ensure on departure (the next bus leaves next Sunday) is that your fellow passengers don't constitute a representative cross-section of society. That might tempt an Agatha Christie-style murder. Or, worse still, a comedy of modern manners along the lines of Big Brother, minus the cameras.

The journey of a lifetime, the bus's admen called it yesterday. By the end of the trip, numb bums all round, it might just feel like it lasted that long.

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