jeff harrison

Around the World in 349 Days – A Diary 1975

A book transcribing a Western Australian youth’s 1975 pocket diary tracking his around the world journey as he circumnavigates the globe over 349 consecutive days.

His international journey begins with a ship’s passage from Melbourne, through the Panama Canal, to England, then hitchhiking and local public transport through Europe and North Africa. He returns home via the Hippie Trail, rambling overland across South and Southeast Asia.
Included are letters sent home, with annotated tourist brochure snippets, and contemporary explanations, expansions, and reflections.

A travel adventure from a recent but bygone era; it charts the development of a young man from sheltered suburban naiveté to a nascent worldliness.

Format 156 x 240 cm

ISBN 978-0645715316

Format 178 x 254 cm

(Colour Edition)

ISBN 978-0645715309


Early in the second half of 1974, my friend John – at twenty-two, a year older than me – asked me to go with him to check out the Greek passenger ship S.S. Patris while it was berthed at Fremantle, Western Australia. It was en route to Melbourne and then across the Pacific and North Atlantic, via the Panama Canal, to Southampton in the UK.
In those days it was a rite of passage for young adult Australians to ‘do the overland’. That usually meant a ticket to Europe, hitchhiking around for a few months, perhaps crossing into North Africa, and then return to Australia along a trans-Asian route from Turkey, through South Asia and Southeast Asia.

John’s and my home city of Perth is the world’s most isolated capital. We keenly felt that isolation as young men whose teenage years were on the periphery of the wakening ‘Flower Power’ hippie counterculture of the 1960s. Except for a few hundred kilometres due south, we could travel three thousand kilometres along the other points of the compass before we’d find anything more than seawater, desert, or despair.

As products of the Australian education system and cultural mores of the 1950s through to the early 1970s we were primarily children of the old British Empire. The world maps on our classroom walls were dominated by pink coloured countries representing the Commonwealth of Nations. We were taught a history that was more British than Australian and, consequently, many of us were keen to journey to Europe and see our ‘history’ for ourselves.

So, John easily persuaded me to join him on an overseas trip. By December I had left my public service office job, sold my car and stereo, collected my passport, booked my passage Perth to Melbourne on the Trans-Australian Railway, and bought a one-way ticket on the S.S. Patris’s sister ship S.S. Ellinis, departing from Port Melbourne on 25th January for Southampton UK. In 1975 it was less expensive to travel to Europe by ship than to fly.

I was off to see the world. I had a small suitcase and about fifteen hundred Australian dollars’ worth of Thomas Cook traveller’s cheques. German deutschmarks were the favoured travel currency then and I had two booklets of them – a few fifty DM cheques, but mostly one hundred DM. I calculated, if I cashed a hundred DM (around thirty Australian dollars) a week, I could travel for about a year.