Escape and Evade challenge poem

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One of the challenges set was to write a poem about our experiences:

There once was some crazy lasses,
Who set an impossible challenge,
They had to get far without any dosh,
And this was what the adventure entailed:

Generous, drunk men,
Short airport sleeps,
London chatty skateboarder,
Filled out days.

Yummy McDonald brekkie,
Much-needed, hot tea,
Fresh pastries galore,
Filled our tummies.

Stagecoach, Megabus, National-Express,
Trains, tubes, cars,
Peterborough, Exeter, Bristol,
Filled travelling hours.

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Escape and Evade challenge completed: part 4

This is the final part of the Escape and Evade challenge, where we had to get as far as possible in 55 hours without spending any money on transport, food or accommodation.

We were in Bristol. Contacting my cousin was a great idea, we were definitely in need of some rest and food. When they picked us up from the busy train station, we drove, to our delight, through a McDonalds drive through. We hadn’t eaten since 9 in the morning. Full of appreciation, we scoffed the food down as quick as a flash.

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About an hour later, displayed on the dining room table, was an array of delicious, healthy buffet food. After tasting a bit of everything, I was completely full. And that was before the dessert came out – cheesecake and chocolate ice-cream. I thought it would be too rude to decline so I munched slowly through some. I was well and truly stuffed.

That evening, I curled up in bed pretty early due to the lack of sleep and the feeling of being exhausted.

The next day, I was so thankful to my cousins for sleep and food. When we got dropped off at the train station, we spoke to the lady at the barrier, who wouldn’t let us on so we headed for the coach station. On the way, we got given some Ritz biscuit, which we gave to a homeless person (one of our challenges). Once we had stepped through to the coach station, we found a coach to London that we wanted to get on. The driver was happy to have us on his bus, however, we had to speak to the managers and with pleading and persuading, he would not let us on. We got suggested to try Megabus. Our last hope.

When we arrived at the stop, we found that the only buses in the next hour were going to Plymouth or Birmingham: not where we wanted yo go. The next bus to London was in two hours time. Was it worth waiting two hours to get rejected. Maybe not but we had no other choice.

Walking around town, we got some free sample of food from Marks and Spencer’s. Then we decided to enjoyed our packed lunch that we were given. While eating, a man carrying a large, wooden cross was staggering around, telling people that ‘Jesus loved them’. Amazing.

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We also saw a bus that looked like it had been stolen from Brighton.

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Eventually, the Megabus came to a halt at the bus stop. There was a large queue and I was slightly worried that there wasn’t going to be any room, even if the driver did let us on. We spoke to one bus driver, who told us that he wasn’t the one who was going to drive to London so we had to wait for the actual driver. Departure time had passed, the driver still wasn’t there. Five minutes late, the driver turned up and was happy to have us on the bus. Great news.

The journey was uneventful and smooth. When we got into London Victoria coach station, we walked around the corner to the train station.

The last leg home. At the barrier, we spoke to several train workers. As the guy was shaking his head, he put his card down on the card reader and let us through. Finally we got a train to Brighton then onto Portslade. One the way back, we wrote a poem about our adventures (another one of our challenges). I will post it on my next post but I have to say I’m no poet. There was also a man, who kept leaning and falling on me. I was getting closer and closer to the window as he was having a nap.

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After three days, on an adventure, we got back to where we started.

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Final count: 737 miles, 55 hours, no money for transport, food or accommodation.

The reason for this challenge was to raise money for an amazing charity called Tearfund, who transform lives and poverty around the world. I am doing this, as I’m going to volunteer with them and lead a team in South Africa for three months.

I would love if you could sponsor me, anything small or big would be greatly appreciated. I also want to say a massive thank you to all those who have already donated and those people who were generous on our Escape and Evade challenge.

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Escape and Evade challenge completed: part 3

Feeling excited about the prospect of the day ahead, we walked in the early morning sun along the Thames, London. We thought about completing our challenges. Get a photo of a famous landmark, easy. In one glance across the river, we could see the London eye, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament. Tick.

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As we were dawdling, just at the side, we saw a skate park. Brilliant, we might be able to complete the next challenge – get a skateboarder to teach us a trick. Luckily and weirdly, there was a guy on his own skating in the early hours. He was happy to help us. My sister is a skateboarder so she found it easy to learn a new trick – the ragdoll. I, however, found it a little tricky. I didn’t fall off the board so that was a success. It was pretty fun and i definitely improved. The trick was basically jumping onto the board with two feet making sure it was going to continue to glide forward. Challenge 2 completed.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo – just videos.

While we were walking along, the love festival was going on so there was some pretty bright displays and buses.

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By this time, with our tummies rumbling, we were getting pretty pecking. Miraculously, a McDonald appeared. Inside, it was quite with no customers. I was worried that they were going to reject us but the lovely manager provided us both with a breakfast meal. Score.

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We carried on with our quest to complete challenge. Next on the list – ask as many people from different countries to write ‘How are you?’ In their language. The first girls we spoke to were from Korea, which was an amusing conversation as they didn’t really understand us. They thought we were saying ‘How old are you?’ but we did eventually get them to write it down. After that we asked several other people, which felt random more than anything.

It was starting to get past rush hour. We managed to get on the underground from Westminister to Paddington, we no success from the train managers (even though they were lovely). He advised us to go to Waterloo to try there, and to our amazement, we hopped on a train to Exeter. The journey was quite long and no very eventful. Met a young lady, who was very chatty and gave us some change. When the conductor came down the train to check ticket, he just pointed and said ‘You’re sorted’, which made some of the passengers look up with confusion.

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Thinking about the night before with no sleep, we were determined to get a place to rest our heads so we decided to head to Bristol to see if we could stay with family. After arriving in Exeter, we got rejected from one train but managed to get on the next to Taunton. These trains had a cool train tracking device to see where we were in the country. I felt just like an excited kid going on a long journey to a holiday destination.

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Standing at the platform, we had a feeling that we wouldn’t be able to get the next train. Carefully, on our phone, we scrolled through the options. Direct train, takes an hour. Bus to Weston-Super-Mere, two hours onto Bristol another two hours. We didn’t really want the long journey but thought we had no choice. However, when talking to a train person on the platform, he informed us that the train was easier and that we would be able to take the train. Sigh of relieve. The first train got cancelled, which meant there were lots of annoyed, frustrated passenger about to board the train with us. Eventually, the delayed, two carriage train took its place at the side of the platform. On the train, the conductor seemed to mumble words but only check certain passengers ticket – strange. When we got to Bristol, the bustling of people meant that it was easy to get through the barriers.

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Still one day left – hopefully we will get back home on time!

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Escape and Evade challenge completed: Part 2

Realising that we had no-where to stay, may have made us a little anxious or even worried. However, we were excited about the next part of the journey and we knew this was part of the challenge. We still had options.

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Finding the train station was the easy part. Late at night, looking at the train timetable, we could see that there were several trains heading north. Even though the ladies at the train station were discouraging, we still thought there was no lost to ask the conductor. Trains came and went. After pleading we them, they all refused ( which, at the back of our mind, could happen). One particular train company were extremely rude to us as well as paying customers: one conductor completely ignored me and wouldn’t look or talk to me.

After several failures, we knew we weren’t going to have any luck with the trains. Wandering back to the coach station, like we were going round in circles, we discovered there was a National Express coach leaving at 2 in the morning. Perfect. We would try this.

Putting on extra clothes to accommodate with the slightly cold weather, we rested our eyes in the coach station. Unfortunately, we got kicked out as they close once all the local buses had finished their routes.

Feeling a little weary but mostly cold, we decided to go back to Travelodge to see if we hang out in their reception as the receptionist we spoken to earlier was extremely friendly. Walking around the peaceful, quiet town of Peterborough, I felt safe.

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Nervously, we pressed the buzzer for the entrance of Travelodge and the kind women let us in. Climbing to the top of the stairs, we were welcomed by a different receptionist from earlier, who offered us a cup of tea. You don’t get that sort of service anywhere.

As we slouched in the comfy chairs, a man came over to talk to us. We explained what we were doing and he generously gave us his pizza he had just brought and a little money to go towards the charity. After realising that we had no-where to stay he offered up his bed, while he would sleep in the reception area. Guilt ran across our faces. We couldn’t accepted this kind mans offer: he had work in the morning. Refusing his generous gesture, he adamantly asked us to find out the cost of the coach for all three of us on the internet. Shockingly, he gave us money to cover the cost before leaving us to go to his room. We were in complete amazement: what a generous man!

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When the coach arrived, we pleaded with the coach driver and he kindly let us on his bus. Finally, we were getting out of Peterborough. After a couple of hours of rest and shut eye, we arrived at Stansted Airport.

Pacing around the airport, we asked several coach companies but we had no luck so we looked at the train times. There was a two hour wait for the next train. Therefore, we got comfy on some airport seat and had a little nap.

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At this point, unfortunately one of my friends decided to leave whereas the two of us carried on the journey. Next, we managed to get a train full of quiet commuters into London Liverpool Street at 6 o’clock, where we were starting to fill the effects of no proper sleep. It was time for a hot cup of tea. Yes we managed to persuade a manager of a cafe to give us one.

Knowing that public transport was going to be busy due to rush hour, we relaxed on the steps outside the station, drinking and eating a pastry from the night before. Contemplating, we decide we would try and complete some of our challenges in the centre of London.

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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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