Sustainable Travelling: How To Travel the World Without Flying

Last month, Anne wrote in her blog that educating yourself about your environmental footprint is a first step in contributing to a more sustainable world. There are several websites that can help you with this, for example this footprint calculator, or this website that visualises the impact of flying.

What stands out in our environmental footprint, is the impact of flying. I had always known flying was not good for the environment, but justified it for myself by knowing I eat little meat and rarely travel by car. However, when I read this article a few years ago, I was really shocked. It shows how a round trip to New York has the same impact on the environment as eating one thousand Big Macs!

In short, not flying is a very effective way to spare the environment. At the same time, I love travelling and would find it difficult to give up. And with me many of us who love our wonderful planet and care for it, also dream to see as much as possible of the world.

Luckily, there are ways and you can reach almost every corner of the world without having to step into one airplane. Admitted, they may be a little impractical and time-consuming,  but it will surely be an experience. Therefore, while we are waiting for the lockdown to lift and the world to open, dream away with these adventurous ways of seeing the world without having to fly!

Public transport within Europe

Travelling by land through modern, nearby and connected Europe is really easy. Although cheap and fast flying options are tempting, other ways of public transport are also increasingly affordable, easy and comfortable to use. I personally love to travel by train or bus as you see a lot of the landscape and if you travel by night, it can even save you time. Take a look at the websites of Flixbus or Interrail for example to plan your next trip!

Travelling to Asia by train

When going outside of Europe, we get to the more adventurous part of travelling by alternatives to flying. East Asia, for example, lies very far away from us. Still, we are connected to it by land. Therefore, you can reach it by railway. The longest uninterrupted train journey stretches from Portugal to Vietnam and spans 17000 km. Part of it is the Trans-Siberian Express, which is on the bucket list of many travellers. It takes you from Moscow to Beijng in six days. This sure is a long ride, but if you are travelling for weeks or even months anyway, it might be worth it!

Crossing the Atlantic

A few decades ago, it used to be common to go to the Americas by boat. Still, it is possible to cross the Atlantic with a ship as you can lift on a cargo ship. It will take you around a week to get to New York from le Havre in France. In this Dutch travel show, you get an impression of how that looks.

Sailing around the world

As you might have heard, climate activist Greta Thunberg uses sailing boats to travel between continents. Even if you are not a famous environmental activist or own a boat yourself, it is also possible to travel this way. There are platforms  that match people who are looking for free crew on their sailing boats with travellers. I once met British people who had travelled all the way to Peru this way, and were planning to continue to Australia!

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