Travel without flying – and meet fascinating people along the way
Many people are now looking at alternative ways to travel that don’t involve flying.
I’ve travelled a lot by plane during my life, and I’m very conscious that I’ve contributed to the current climate crisis. Now I’m looking at alternatives…
Travelling by plane is tempting for reasons of cost and also speed: for the distance you can cover in one go, it’s relatively cheap. At least, it is for our wallet but not for the planet.
Conversely, train travel is kinder to the environment but can be relatively expensive. There are however often ways to find cheaper train tickets if you book in advance and/or you choose a ticket that restricts you to one specific train at a specific time of day.
But how do you cross an ocean by train?
Well, boats come in all shapes and sizes, and some global shipping companies have a few cabins aboard for travellers, so it’s worth checking out that option. You can travel between all continents by container/cargo ship.
‘Slow travel’ – travel without flying – over land and water means you meet many more people, see so much more of the world near and far, and you can have fabulous experiences and wonderful conversations en route with people you would never otherwise have met. It’s unique and something you’ll never forget.
There are of course many other forms of transport you could use to get from A to B: buses (of all shapes and sizes), tuk tuks, trams, cars, motorbikes, mopeds, hydrofoils/hovercrafts, cable cars, bicycles… and of course your own two feet (and maybe even a skateboard).
Piece it together, and you can make the journey an amazing trip in itself.
For example, when I was in my 20s, my then boyfriend and I travelled 900km (560 miles) from the south coast of England to the Highlands of Scotland using only local buses. When I say local buses, that’s exactly what I mean: we pieced together a route using dozens of local bus services across about 18 different counties south to north through the UK.
There were some areas where we could buy a ticket that covered all buses in a certain region, whereas in other places we needed individual tickets each time.
We met some really interesting people, including a German backpacker who was lost and a Scottish truck driver who helped us out with a lift on a rainy day after we’d missed our bus connection.
Here’s another example of how to travel without flying…
I live in Europe, but I love spending time in Canada. From where I live in Denmark that requires at least two flights each way (depending on my specific destination). So I’m now looking at the options for booking a cabin on a container ship across the Atlantic next time.
This seems to be an increasingly popular option, and this article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper is worth a read: I didn’t want to fly – so I took a cargo ship from Germany to Canada
It will take a LOT longer to get there, but what an adventure it will be!
As long as I have an internet connection of some kind, I can work from anywhere, so I’ll be able to use the time well – not to mention meet some really interesting people along the way.
You don’t have to travel right across the world to do this though. You can adapt it to suit wherever you are. Whether you’re going near or far, why not piece together a journey involving transport you wouldn’t normally use on a route you wouldn’t normally take?
This BBC article outlines how to travel by train – and ditch the plane
When you travel without flying, it’s an adventure in itself – and the people you meet and the conversations you have can change how you see yourself and the wider world.
And if you can’t think of where to go, close your eyes and stick a pin in a map!
Do you have some interesting experiences to share about ‘slow travel’? Leave a comment below – or share your story here.
Photo: Waiting for the Skytrain in Vancouver, Canada