I saw this fascinating story on the BBC site: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190909-why-flight-shame-is-making-people-swap-planes-for-trains Essential the story is about our growing awareness of the carbon impact of travel, it struck a chord with me. Check out the article and let me know what you think.
If you have stumbled across this blog before you might be aware that we started the blog in part to record our local Australian travels which were bought about by a conscious decision to reduce our environmental impact. We acquired a teardrop camper, an escape pod, in order to facilitate local travel, with comfort but minimum impact and the pod has been an epic success. We now get away a lot more frequently, although mostly we don’t travel far. One big advantage to life in Australia is ready access to beautiful country and beaches, getting away from it all, is not hard to do here. I will be the first to acknowledge that we are very privileged in our ability to do that.
The pod is small, basic and comfortable, essentially it is just a double bed on wheels with a galley kitchen in the back, it is towed by out small four cylinder car, the battery can be charged from mains power before each trip and our power usage is fed by a solar panel, while we are away. (Laptops do present a slight power challenge, I must confess). Aside from the reduced energy consumption of life in the pod, there have been other positive impacts; an awareness of our water usage, which is less when camping. Awareness of waste and rubbish, which is also enhanced by the camping lifestyle. The leave no trace ethic, means we are more aware and careful in regards to food and waste. Physically there are some obvious benefits as well, we eat better and we get more exercise. Just the simple act of getting up and going to the bathroom at night means we are walking extra steps each day. There are definite mental health benefits as well, I get to spend more time in nature, and I can honestly say that has a profound positive impact on my mental health.
I am someone who loves travel, I especially love Europe. I live in Australia, “the arse end of the world”, as a former prime minister bluntly observed. It means to travel for an Australian, does largely involve being willing to fly but the growing impact of climate change has put a stop to my willingness to fly to a location, the carbon guilt is simply too much for me and I can no longer fly in good conscience. That does not mean I have given up the plan to travel widely and outside my own country, but it has meant that I have ceased to make regular overseas trips. The annual holiday outside of Australia is something I can no longer allow myself to do. Instead, I am planning for the time when G and I can leave work full time and give ourselves the opportunity to stay in a place like Europe for an extended period, at least a year. We might still have to begin the journey with a flight, although I am investigating slow travel options to minimise flying, even from a starting point as isolated as Australia. Once in a continent like Europe, trains are the viable and I have to say my preferred option for travel. The big advantage of slow travel has to be the sheer adventure of it. I have always found the journey to be as important as the destination, just not sure G shares my enthusiasm.
I really don’t want this post to sound self-righteous, it is not meant to be, I just kind of wanted to share our experience and the journey, there is obviously so much more we could do for the environment. Maybe, all any of us can do, is be aware and make what change we can, while supporting each other in a growing sense of awareness, stewardship and responsibility.