Travel far away without a plane

Opener NoMoreFlights

A guest contribution by Luise Müller, co-founder of NoMoreFlights

There hasn't been a lot of good news in the past 17 months. But one of the few glimpses of light for me definitely included pictures of big cities that were smog-free for the first time in decades; amazing NASA data historical air quality with a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. Also the News, which reported a 39 percent increase in the nest building of the endangered hawksbill turtle on Florida's beaches, was one of them. Finally, a Corona-related paralyzed air traffic and a lack of mass tourism, which let nature breathe again.

The corona crisis has given nature a sigh of relief for a long time

This is all so good news that it would be pretty heavy to undo these advances. In any case, the pure guilty conscience creeps up on me and I wonder if it wouldn't be better to stay at home instead of traveling again.

So “stay at home” instead of traveling?

But no, of course this is not an anti-travel article. Travel is fundamentally important. Not only for personal relaxation and inspiration, but also for global togetherness. Traveling brings us closer to other cultures, ways of life and perspectives. It blurs lines and mixes views. And it washes our heads and shows us how narrow-minded nationalism is.

“Travel makes us humble. You can tell what small place you occupy in the world. ”- Gustave Flaubert

Arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos

Conscious travel pumps us full of unique memories

Conscious, real travel does all of this, pumping us full of unique memories. It releases us back into our everyday lives, a little more relaxed, tanned and more knowing. Sustainable travel is a form of travel that unites our explorer: the urge to explore and experience with the awareness that we have a responsibility for our environment. This responsibility also and especially remains in our free time. “A New Normal” of travel.

The long journey to Lesbos by land and sea

My friend and colleague Hannes decided on exactly this type of travel last year. Instead of clicking a quick flight ticket, he set off on the long land and sea route to the Greek island of Lesbos on his sabbatical in January 2020.

When Hannes arrives on Lesbos to start his work at the Refugee Camp, he and his girlfriend have had a long, exciting journey: 14 hours on the ICE and night train from Berlin via Munich to Venice; one and a half day crossing by ship from Venice to the Greek port city of Pakra; three hours drive to the Greek capital; a short metro ride from Athens to the port city of Piraeus and a night ferry ride to Mytilene on Lesbos. Just the listing of the numerous stops makes me very tired. But when Hannes talks about the trip, he doesn't talk about exhaustion or exertion.

The many stopovers invite you to slow down

Instead, he talks about cozy night trains of the Austrian Federal Railways, which are actually the old outsourced night trains of Deutsche Bahn. He raves about the forced deceleration on the boat trip to Greece, during which he could sleep wonderfully in the bunk. Other than that, there was so little to do here that he could finish a book with nothing but the sea in sight. He remembers the picturesque view on the train ride to Athens along the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Megara. And speaks of playing cards at night on the deck during the ferry crossing to the last island that separates the EU from Turkey - and also of the queasy feeling of being in those waters where so many asylum seekers risk their lives. After all, he talks about how important it was to him not to start his volunteer work on Lesbos with a flight that was heavy with greenhouse gases.

Run over by ferry to Greece
Watch the sun go down over the sea

Hannes did not want to start his voluntary work with a flight that was heavy with greenhouse gases

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) According to the limitation of the global heating to 1,5 ° C can hardly be adhered to. Accordingly, the minimum target is that each of us only causes one tonne of CO2 emissions per year in order to prevent the triggering of irreversible climate tipping points. A average: r Germans: r currently carries 10 times that amount at. Flying is by no means the only cause of greenhouse gas emissions, but it has enormous savings potential for the individual "CO2 consumption" of a human. A return flight from Berlin to Lesbos alone emits 990 kilograms of CO2 per passenger and thus takes up a large part of the fictitious annual budget (source: atmosfair.de). It is therefore not surprising that Air travel increasingly critical be questioned, especially on short journeys for which there are simple land routes. Hannes does not look back on a strenuous long-distance journey, but on a tiring research that lasted longer than the 3-day trip itself.

Inspiration with a beer after work

At that time, over a beer after work, he told Dom and me how long he and his girlfriend tossed about various options, compared prices, and laboriously clicked from one booking portal to the next - and wondered several times whether they really liked the environment so is important (of course she was and they didn't give up).

We were impressed by their stamina and thanked them with a beer. Finally, we wondered what we could do to stop planning sustainable travel from being an ordeal. And that's how the idea for NoMoreFlights.com, a travel platform that inspires land travel, was born that evening.

Luise, co-founder of NoMoreFlights, on the train
Dom is the other co-founder of the new travel platform

NoMoreFlights would like to encourage land travel based on the slow travel principle

At NoMoreFlights With just a few clicks, travelers can publish their vacation experiences, share pictures and give tips on prices and routes and thus inspire others to try a vacation without a flight. The platform exists for Hannes and like-minded people who want to share their travel experiences with a small footprint and for those who are curious to explore this kind of "slow travel".

A community-based platform that contributes to the New Normal of travel

In this way, everyone can contribute to a new normal in travel and consciously save CO2. Next Hannes' travel entry There are now many other vacation ideas, for example one cycling tours to Copenhagen, one Train journey to the Scottish Highlands or a trip on the night train to the Croatian beach.

We know that avoiding air travel is not enough. To save our world as we know and love it, a fundamental change in the system of industry and politics is necessary. Nevertheless, through more awareness when traveling, we can all make a small contribution, which can also result in a more intense, more beautiful travel experience. We believe in them slowing and the fact that we sometimes need a little longer to consciously arrive in a new reality. This also applies to traveling from one part of the world to another.

You can find more information about the project and all other land trips at NoMoreFlights.com

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