Enrichment Reading 4 > Unit 3 > Supplementary Reading

Several interesting and topic-related articles are provided for those students who would like to do more reading. These reading materials are totally optional. The final exam will not cover these materials.

A World of Difference

Eleven weeks into their six-month round-the-world trips, the Netjetters have already covered thousands of miles and three continents. There are almost 150 photos and weekly diary reports from each of them on the website. You can also log on and watch a video of Sam doing a bungee jump in New Zealand, or see Sue dancing with a yeti in Nepal.

Sadly we don't have aural evidence of Milly's karaoke version of Kylie and Jason's Especially for You, but you can read about it, as well as about her learning to snowboard, discovering peanut butter and banana sandwiches, meeting her first marsupial, or surviving an unpleasant night in Hawaii. You can also listen to her talking to us live from Sydney on New Year's Eve.

Only five years ago, such a travelling experience would have been inconceivable. Today, not only can you read about the Netjetters' adventures and look at their pictures only a matter of hours after they hit the send button, but you can influence their journeys by sending them advice on what to see and what to do, and then read next week what they made of your tips.

"Before I won this trip I was unaware of the possibilities of the Internet and only used e-mail for work. Travelling like this has literally opened up a whole new world for me, and I am loving it," says Sue, who has just arrived in Bali after three weeks in Malaysia. She left her job as an education officer for Cambridge County Council to fulfil a lifetime's dream and travel round the world. "The e-mails have been great, not only the ones full of useful tips, but the ones offering support and encouragement. I really do feel as if I am not travelling alone. Sometimes, if I am a bit lonely or tired from walking round some strange city I will pop into a net cafe and read my latest mail and I will feel refreshed and invigorated. It is almost becoming addictive."

Sam, at 29, has found himself reappraising his former life as a civil servant. "In London, I'd had a pretty good life with great friends, a well paid, interesting job and I had been saving to buy a flat. I had done all the things you were supposed to do: school, university, proper grown-up job. I've ticked all the boxes, but like many people of my age, all I'm left with is a feeling of 'is this it?'. It may well be that I decide the civil service is for me after all, but I have definitely decided that I don't want to live in London any longer. I'm fed up with urban life. I want to live by the sea or up in the mountains with clear air and beautiful views."

He's even had time to dispense a few traveller's tips himself in response to readers' questions--who better to offer guidance on where to stay in San Francisco than someone who spent Christmas there? And if you're planning a trip to New Zealand, look no further--Sam's four-week stay on the other side of the world has seen him glacier trekking, kayaking, solo camping, cave tubing, bungee jumping and swimming with dolphins, and he's sent us photos of everything he's been up to. He's just arrived in Australia, and will be meeting up with fellow Netjetter Milly.

Milly meanwhile has settled for a few weeks in Coogee, just outside Sydney. One unpleasant encounter aside, the first few weeks of her trip left her exhilarated and delighted that her fears about travelling alone were proved groundless. To save money for the second leg of her trip, she's got a temporary job as a waitress in a large hotel, and although she's enjoying exploring Sydney and its environs, she's getting itchy feet. "I've just read through Sue and Sam's reports," she writes in week 8's diary, "and somehow I don't think mine are quite as exciting as theirs--but hey do, I guess the reality of an 19-year-old travelling is that they run out of money pretty quickly. This means that for me, cliff-jumping and the like is temporarily suspended, which frustrates me a little but makes me even more eager to work like crazy for a couple of months so I can spend the rest of the time racing round jungles with total abandon."

The feedback and advice that Guardian Unlimited users all over the world are sending to each Netjetter is proving fascinating reading whoever and wherever you are, and invaluable for the Netjetters. "The responses from others always make me happy. Especially when people write just to say it sounds like I'm having a great time and they wish it were them... well then go! you won't regret it!" promises Milly. "I write down every place that is suggested to me in my diary and one by one I hope to get to them all." Sam agrees. "As well as the specific pieces of advice, the general e-mails such as 'good for you--what a great thing you're doing' have been fantastic."

Sue has set herself the mammoth task of responding to everyone who sends her advice, but it's proved well worth it. "Some people have sent several messages and have become e-mail friends--Shena in Australia has travelled extensively on her own and has sent me lots of invaluable advice. I have now met three lots of people, in Bombay, Miri, and Kuala Lumpur, who contacted me through the website, and there are several more lined up as I work my way round the world. I can't say I have had a single piece of duff advice. I would like to go everywhere that people suggest, but it's impossible to do it all."

With only four weeks between winning the ticket and his departure date, Sam found the advice he's being sent particularly useful. "I've been amazed at how helpful everyone has been and how keen people are to pass on really valuable information on places they have visited. Some of the most useful e-mails I've had have been on Africa. I know nothing about the region, and I didn't have time to do any research before I left England. I've had lots of excellent advice which is now helping me to plan a route. You'll have to wait and see how well this turns out..."

Sam is the only Netjetter who will be exploring Africa: on leaving Sydney he flies to Johannesburg, and then on to Namibia, Victoria Falls, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Nairobi. Sue's route will take her from Bali to Australia, then New Zealand, before crossing the Pacific to visit Buenos Aires, Santiago and Lima. Milly will be retracing Sue's footsteps--but in reverse. After Australia, she'll be travelling up through southeast Asia, visiting Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

(1196 words)

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