Emily Turner, 35, set off on the cross-country trip she’d wanted to do for ‘years’ in the early hours of Friday morning.
The writer and self-confessed bus lover, who hosts the Roundel Round We Go podcast about the London underground, kept followers updated along her journey, which she finished two days later.
She only used buses that are part of the £2 local government bus programme, and got a train back home to London on Sunday afternoon.
Her solo trip, which coincided with her 35th birthday, took her through the likes of Northampton, Leicester, Derby, Newcastle, Whitby, and Berwick before arriving in Edinburgh.
What she didn’t expect was the incredible amount of support and intrigue her journey received, gaining her over 20,000 new Twitter followers in the process.
One Twitter user said: ‘Looks like you passed my house on the Stagecoach 59 from Barnsley this morning. Wish I’d known, I’d have got you a coffee and a sandwich from Noble’s at Busy Corner.’
Now back home, she spoke to Metro.co.uk about her surprise at the idea gaining so much attention, and how achievable it is to plan a similar trip for yourself.
Emily relied on Google Maps for most of her journey planning, and started by routing herself backward from Edinburgh.
She said: ‘I figured it was easy to get a bus to anywhere in north London if I needed to do that, so wherever I got, if I happened to come into Cockfosters or come into Watford or wherever I came into north of London would be fine.
‘I went to the bus station in Berwick [on Google Maps], clicked on this and was like, “Okay, what’s the furthest bus you can get from here? Okay, I can get to Newcastle,” Clicked on the bus station in Newcastle, “where’s the furthest bus I can get from here?” and also just looking at the map.’
Emily put together a route plan after Googling timetables for buses she’d found, opting out of the services not included in the £2 deal.
She added: ‘It was actually fairly straightforward to do, I didn’t need any fancy tools.
‘It was mostly just Google and what the bus companies put online but when I got there, some of those timetables didn’t seem to be right at all.’
Emily’s tactic was to get as far away as possible on Friday when buses were more regular, making it to Pontefract, before staying in Alnwick on Saturday night.
Her favourite of the 20 buses in terms of ‘actual quality’ were the Trent Barton services in the Midlands, and the Dragonfly bus that took her from Potter’s Bar to Luton.
‘The ones in the Scottish Borders were good, but they were a lot more expensive,’ she added.
View-wise, she gave a shout-out to the 840 Coastliner from Leeds to Whitby via York, regarded as the most scenic bus in Britain
She said: ‘It was incredibly beautiful. There was a lot of the route that wasn’t that interesting but it was pretty scenic and also the Scottish Borders one and along the X18 which goes from Newcastle to Berwick along the Northumberland coast, which is one of my favourite parts of the country.’
The transport fan nearly didn’t take the trip in the first place, telling Metro.co.uk: ‘I wasn’t even sure about going because my partner was going to come but he couldn’t because his pet is sick.
‘I was like, “Oh, I don’t know if I should still go,” and he said, “But you really, really want to do this!”
‘I said, “Okay, I will but then I also have so much on,” so I was a bit worried but actually, I’m so glad I did it, and people seemed to enjoy it.’
Emily’s next trip involves transport a little further afield as she plans to interrail to Istanbul and back next month.
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