Imagine travelling home from work and telling the stressed-out inspector who is demanding to see your ticket that you are without one -and any money to pay for it.
That was one of the more mild encounters a group of Burges Salmon trainees experienced on 16 July, when they took part in a challenge to get as far away from their Bristol-based firm as possible in just 24 hours. To make things more complicated, they had to do it without a penny to their names.
One group made it as far as Spain, although their flights to Girona were donated before the challenge kicked off. Despite the easy start, team member Emma White insists that the tricky part began when the team was sitting comfortably in the aeroplane thinking about how to get further than Girona airport.
“The airport was tiny and we tried every avenue such as hire cars and local buses,” she recalls. “Our Spanish-speaking bus driver kept repeating the same phrase, ’no money, no bus’, so we decided to invest our time working our charm on an English holiday rep instead to see if he’d let us take a ride on one of his buses for free. Thankfully our persistence paid off.”
White was part of an all-female team of trainees who took part in the ’I’m a Trainee Get Me Out of Here!’ challenge earlier this month to help raise money for military charity Help For Heroes.
Thankfully for the team, when they did manage to find free seats on a bus, they ended up sitting next to the same man they had been chatting to on the plane. “He was a teacher from Wales and managed to contact his school to see if they’d support our challenge and buy us a coach ticket to Barcelona when the bus we were on finally stopped at Tossa Del Mar,” says White.
So, thanks to Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive School in Pontypridd, the trainees managed to continue on the final leg of their 1,177km journey to Barcelona, arriving at 1pm on 17 July.
Meanwhile, other teams from Burges Salmon also came up with innovative ways to try to travel the furthest distance.
Trainees Douglas Scott and Daniel Summers cycled 229km from Bristol to Liskeard in Cornwall, while Louise Brown and Bonnie Coggon managed to get as far as Le Havre in France after blagging a ferry and train ride.
“The whole thing really pushed you outside your comfort zone, whether it was pushing your body to cycle for hundreds of miles or asking a complete stranger to help you with free travel,” insists first-year trainee Jacob Scott, who navigated the Bristol Channel in an inflatable dinghy alongside fellow would-be lawyer Ian Taylor.
The duo, who called themselves the ’Green Dinghy Drifters’, managed to travel 10km along the waterway.
“We braved the protuberances of the sunken fleet of Asda shopping trolleys, contact with any one of which could have led to instant dinghy disaster, or at least Weil’s disease,” Scott says.
Meanwhile, Natalie Jeffries and Hannah Miller managed to get as far as Loch Ness in Scotland after securing a free Tube, train and taxi ride.
“Not only did we manage to travel for free all the way to Scotland, but a taxi man waived his normal £45 fee to take us from the train station to Loch Ness.
The challenge was not only great fun, but also highlighted the kindness of human nature,” smiles Jeffries.
The 15-strong cohort from Burges Salmon who took part in the challenge raised more than £13,000 for Help For Heroes.