Travel around the world without flying – is it even possible?

Just as when I stopped eating meat and dairy products, stopped accepting plastic bags and stopped shopping at fast fashion stores and products that come from sweat shops, the time has come for me to stop surpressing my knowledge and bad conscience of the impact all my flying has on the world.

 

I am no longer gonna fly.

 

But how, you might ask. How would I be able to travel to other continents?

Well, Europe and Asia are connected by land so that can be done with bus, train, car, bike and walking. Need to cross an ocean? Boat, ferry or cruise ship.

But why? A lot of people defend their and others flying by “the plane will fly no matter in you get on it or not” but if everyone thinks like that, we never move forward and no changes will be made. I want to show myself and the world that it is possible to travel all around the world without flying. As someone who a lot of people get inspired by my traveling, I also feel responsible to do my part. I want my actions to match my values.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that I will never set my butt on a plane again. Firstly I have 2 trips booked these following 2 weeks that I booked before this decision where I will be flying – however I will be buying climate compensation for these.

But I can also not know what will happen in the future. Maybe me or someone I know gets sick, and I need to get somewhere far fast. I don’t know. But I will not make a promise I can’t keep, but I do promise that I will do my best never to fly via airplane until there are environmentally friendly options.

 

Traveling from Coron to El Nido by boat and sleeping in tents on beaches during the nights – a great example of the journey being an experience on its own

Will it be hard?

Probably.

It can often be more expensive to travel by train or bus than by flight. It will also take longer, a luxury I might not always have.

But I also think it will be very fun and a totally new way of traveling and experiencing the world. Having to get creative about my transportations is motivating and inspiring. I want to show not just the world, but myself that it is possible and that there are no excuses for me not to travel in a way that is more sustainable for the world. I travel full time so I have all the time I want to spend on the actual journey. And this will also give me the chance to see places I never would have if I were to fly. To be more flexible and to get to meet more people and explore more paths less travelled.

 

What’s next?

I was planning on going to Iran for Norouz in March, and when I decided not to fly anymore I was first thinking that it will take such a long time and maybe I won’t have the time to make it there before Norouz, but after a quick search on the internet I realised it’s possible to get all the way from Sweden to Tehran with only 3 different buses. This really opened my mind to how much easier this will be than I have imagined.

I also have some loose plans to do a road trip in the Dolomites with some travel friends and I’m thinking I should make the journey there a journey by itself. Maybe ride a bike, maybe change it up and mix car sharing, train rides, bus rides and walking?

Can you tell that I am excited about this?

Saving the world all of the sudden seem like less of an impossible task. And I want to be a part of trying to save it instead of simply sitting on the sidelines watching it happen without helping.

 

Hiking is one of my favourite things to do – why not do hiking as a way of getting between destinations and not just as an activity itself?!

 

What are your thoughts on the climate impact flying has? Do you think my actions will have no effect? Would you be willing to fly less too? Do you have any questions?

Let’s start a discussion, I want to hear your thoughts!

Author

Swedish female solo traveler. Been to 6 continents and 65+ countries. Nature, hiking, adrenaline, responsible travel and minimalistic packing.

13 Comments

  1. Du är svincool Evelina som gör detta. En dag kanske jag också kommer dit. jag älskar i grunden att åka tåg och jag hoppas jag lever det livet någon dag att tid inte är en grej. Jag vet att allt sitter i mitt huvud och är prioriteringar och jag beundrar dig för det beslut du tar och jag hoppas jag kan följa i dina fotspår och om jag gör det så ska jag vara dig evigt tacksam.

  2. In one way it’s really hard, but in one way it’s so easy. Fly less, that’s it. But it’s so much involved and for me it would mean a change in lifestyle, a change in job career and everything I know.

    Like you, I am vegan. It was not that hard, just a decision and to stay with it.

    The plane feels different. People saying ” the plane will fly no matter in you get on it or not” are just badly educated and don’t understand how a market economy works. I sometimes get the same argument thrown at me about eating-meat. The animal is already dead, it’s a waste not to eat it. Those people are just to ignore.

    For me a big problem is the lack of alternatives. Substituting meat for a vegetarian diet is easy, gasoline car for EV is easy, use bicycle in a city is easy. But how do we explore the world if we don’t fly? In this case I really think the technology must be a driving factor and the technique must develop. And I think the prices must get higher but it’s airlines are so much harder to control than other transportations so it won’t happen and nothing we can put our trust to.

    The idea of climate compensation is good but I don’t fully believe in it so I don’t do it. To compensate for emissions that happen today by planting a tree that needs to grow for long time might not work. What if someone cuts down the forest? Or if it burns down in a fire? Or is it the thought that counts? If we care about the climate, it’s all about action and doing.

  3. Hi! This is great!
    Cruise ships and other ships are also not so eco-friendly, have you found any particular cruise ships /brands that are working to be more sustainable? As far as I know all electricity on board comes from diesel generators that run 24/7!
    P.S. there are various companies working on electric planes, which is good news 🙂

  4. Hello Eve,

    I always enjoyed your sustainable topics and I am happy to hear this from you. With you as an role model it will open new perspectives to travel for me.
    But for me who worked full time and will be studying full time, I maybe don’t have the chance to take a longer transportation, so I will have to settle for the fastest/cheapest (if this would be a bus/train I would always take this one.)
    Although I try to live a sustainable life by trying to refuse plastic and (most) consumerism. Also trying to reduce food waste & to buy organical food, buying no meat/dairies when I am at home.
    I think we need more balance and I hope that flying doesn’t make me a bad person, when I try all of the mentioned things too.

  5. I totally agree with you! I was alo thinking how to get whwre I want to go without taking planes!

  6. I really appreciate the fact that you’re practicing what you preach. I have met some people who have ecotravel blogs, but in real life they aren’t environmentally conscious at all and the blog is simply because that’s a trendy topic these days.
    I look forward to hearing about your experiences not flying. Good luck and travel safe 😎 cheers!

  7. I really like your initiative. You mention that it’s fairly easy to get to Europe and Asia. But how about USA, Australia, Africa, South America? What’s the option for traveling there? I haven’t heard of taking a boat to USA (from Europe) or so. But I’m interested to know your thoughts! Thanks for a great blog and insta, for inspiring like you always do.

  8. Så fantastiskt bra beslut av dig Evelina! Jag har ofta tänkt på detta när det gäller heltidsresande människor. Att det verkar vara ett härligt sätt att leva livet, men mindre härligt för vår planet. Fler och fler verkar resa mer och det är en utveckling som oroar mig. Hur kommer det att påverka växthuseffekten på sikt? Jag ser fram emot att följa dina framtida resor på marknivå och hoppas även kunna få tips på bra förmedlare av buss och tågresor. Sen tror jag att upplevelsen av landet blir en annan när man färdas så och att man kommer lokalbefolkningen närmare. Enda nackdelen är väl kostnaden, men vad gör man inte för miljön!
    Lycka till!!

  9. I like you am vegan, don’t shop in any fast fashion shows (almost everything I buy is from thrift shops), and am trying to be as zero waste as I can. I never really stopped to think about the impact my flying has on the planet. Although I don’t fly as much as some, I do still fly more than a lot, and that means I am making a negative impact no matter what. You inspire me to think more consciously about my flying and overall travelling in general. Hopefully I can move on to a more sustainable way of travelling just like you! Good luck on your journey of no flying 🙂

  10. Astrid Maria Creutz

    Jag har fullt fokus på att jobba med flygrädslan istället, lite tvärt om hehe..
    Men men.
    Tänkte bara säga att jag tog en kryssning hem från USA för några år sedan istället för att flyga. Det går att åka mellan kontinenterna när skeppen åker för att byta säsong. Då brukar det vara väldigt billigt, bara pensionärer som passagerare, och väldigt många dagar till sjöss.
    Den vändan kostade mindre än motsvarande flygbiljett, och utöver det ingick mat och såklart boende under två veckor. Definitivt en upplevelse!
    ( Vet inte vad miljö-nettot blir dock, de där skeppen är ju inte direkt byggda med miljön i åtanke)

  11. You are such an inspiration! I’ve been thinking about doing the same and this makes me even more convinced. Speaking of what, I’ve been planning a trip to Iran as well and checking out some alternatives. Which land route did you pick in the end and how was it? Thank you for your interesting and inspiring blog!

  12. Hi can totally relate to this post. I feel like a big hypocrite. Talking so much about the environment, living ‘green’, but those few far away flights leave me with a massive carbon footprint (the same for other ‘eco-conscious’ travellers), maybe bigger than ppl who don’t live conscious but never fly. I am searching for ways to travel more over land and see, but cannot afford this much time off yet. I am torn apart, even if I travel by plane for volunteer work or studies. Friends don’t understand it or want to defend their own behaviour. Flights are make cheaper and cheaper, cheaper than trains even, which is not a good development imo. I just keep hoping naively that there will be a fuel or technology for flying that’s not too polluting!

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