Escape and evade challenge completed: Part 1

To raise money for Tearfund, I set the challenge of trying to get as far away as possible and back in 3 days without spending any money on food, accommodation or transport.

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Monday morning, three of us departed for our excited but difficult adventure. As there had been a thunderstorm a few hours earlier, there were no trains from Portslade train station, so we decided to try to get a bus.

With it chucking it down, we explained to the bus driver what we were doing and he let us travel with him into Brighton station. Once we got off, we persuaded a man at the barriers to let us through but told us to speak to the train conductor before jumping on a train.

Walking down the platform, we could see that there was no conductor on the First Capital Connect train so I banged on the front window to talk to the driver, who told us that there are not always conductors on the train but we were welcome to get on. As we had two boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the fundraising event, we staggered up the narrow aisle, shouting out to conservative passengers about them. Some of them, gave us some change and took a doughnut. There was one older man with a beer can in his hand, who heard us and just came over to give us some money to put in our charity tin. Throughout the rest of the journey he kept wanting to talk to us, and was creepily waving and winking at my friend. Another lady we encountered was someone who wanted to chatted to everyone about the disasters of her journey and her granddaughter’s life. After quite a long smooth journey, we got to Bedford.

At this point, we were hungry. Where were we going to get food without spending any money? Nervously, we strolled into Pumpkin Food cafe and managed to twist the lady at the counters arm. She felt sorry for us so gave us seven fresh pastries. Win!

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After waiting for a while, the next train arrived for Nottingham. Running up to the conductor, he told us that it was illegal and that we should stop straight away. We were not discouraged. As the next train north was in an hour, we followed some directions to the bus station. Bedford only had a small bus station so most of the coaches were quite local.

Once we had spoken to a coach driver, he directed us to the Stagecoach office. Explaining to a manger, he told us to hang on five minutes to see what he could do. Crossing our fingers, he returned to tell us we could get on the next coach to Cambridge. Sorted.

After a long, windy journey, discussing what to do next, we thought we would head to the train station when we got there. However, as we started walking, a man from Stagecoach caught up with us to explain that he was told to collect us and take us to the coach station. “Get on the 6.15 bus, it’s all sorted for you.” Wow! We felt overwhelmed. The previous manager must have planned the next part for us.

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While waiting, we needed something hot to quench our thirst. We set off on a mission to find tea. After a rejection from Starbucks, we finally got a lovely, hot cuppa from Pret a Manger, who were impressed with what we were doing. From wandering around Cambridge, I just had a great feel and it had some beautiful building so I would like to visit it properly one day.

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On the bus, travelling through bus tracks, seeing a man on a lie down bike, we relaxed for a couple of hours, before arriving in Peterborough. We thought it might be best to find a place to stay for the night and get some food. We went to several big chain fast good restaurants that declined us but found a smaller cafe that had just closed us. The lovely man inside warmed up some cheese croissants and also gave us some cinnamon swirl pastries, which he would have thrown away. This filled a whole.

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Entering several hotels and ringing them up manically in a five mile radius, we discovered that no where had any rooms to available. Big disappointment!

What were we going to do next?

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