Ashes 2017/18: England cricket fan travels all the way to Australia without flying
What's the story?
An ardent supporter of the England cricket team has done the unthinkable. From London to Brisbane, Ed Miller has travelled halfway across the globe without availing the option of flying. Veering away from taking any flight, he traversed through at least 20 different countries by various methods ranging from trains and trekking to sailing. After spending the better part of the last four months travelling, he arrived in Australia just in time to watch Joe Root's team battle it out at the Gabba in the opening Test of the 2017/18 Ashes series.
"It was really mixing my love of cricket and travel. I loved watching TV shows by people like Michael Palin and Charley Boorman and seeing their overland journeys, and always wanted to emulate them but in my own way. And knowing that I wanted to visit Australia for the Ashes series seemed to be a perfect way of mixing them", Miller told ICC.
He added, "I had planned to take a year off work, and as a teacher that meant leaving my job in July, giving me four months before the Ashes. It was then that I decided to come up with the inventive way of getting to Australia. It started as a bit of a dream in my head, but soon gained momentum as I started planning stages of the route and it built up quite quickly from then."
In association with OddBalls Foundation, a major part of Miller's inspiring journey is aimed at raising funds and awareness for dealing with testicular cancer. It is pertinent to note that he had a testicle removed in 2009 as a consequence of a tumorous lump.
The heart of the matter
On 27th July, Miller left England by utilising the Eurostar railway network from London to Brussels. After landing in Belgium, he travelled through Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland and Russia by various trains. In Austria, he was stranded up a mountain as a result of a flash storm and flood. Braving the mind-numbing snow and glaciers, he trekked at an altitude of 3000 metres without any adequate trekking gear.
Taking the Trans-Siberian railway, Miller moved from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar and then Beijing. He traversed across China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. From Bali, he hopped onto a cruise and reached the port city of Darwin in Australia. The fearless explorer took a rental car and finally arrived in Brisbane following a lengthy 3,500 kilometres road trip.
Contrary to public perception, the optimistic adventurer has predicted a 3-2 series triumph for England with wicket-keeper batsman Johnny Bairstow ostensibly playing a starring role in helping them retain the Ashes. If the first couple of days are anything to go by, the series could turn out to be a closely contested affair.
At the end of the second day's play in the opening Test at the Gabba, Australia are adrift of the visitors' total by 137 runs with six wickets at hand. Unbeaten on 64, Steven Smith will be eyeing a substantial knock on what is a considerably slower surface than usually seen in Brisbane.
With his lofty ambition now complete, Miller has revealed that he will indeed take a flight from Brisbane to Adelaide for the second Test. Aside from extending support to a noble cause, his gruelling but extremely rewarding journey is an indication of his unrelenting determination as well as fervent passion for cricket.