During the last week or so, we have, once again, been shown that nature’s the one who’s in charge. The volcano eruption on Iceland has made us here in Sweden, in northern Europe, as well as other parts of the world, realize how dependent we are on the flight industry. Sure, if you want to travel around the world it’s obvious that you need to do some extra thinking if the possibility of flying isn’t there. But not only if you want to travel far away for that matter. Our daughter Aurora was supposed to fly to the UK today to visit her sister who’s spending some time there. To their great disappointment, they both had to adjust to the reality that there are no planes neither leaving Sweden nor landing in the UK at the moment.
But the traveling is of course just a small part of it. We were talking about what would happen if this ash cloud (or some other reason for that matter) would be of a more permanent nature. What if there wouldn’t be any jet flights available in northern Europe for the whole of next year? Just asked around in our local shop yesterday if they were affected in any way and of course, already there were fruits and vegetables they didn’t have because of this. Interesting! Not that I think it’s essential, or even recommendable, to fly all kinds of food around the world (besides our Swedish strawberries are by far the tastiest and best ones! They’re of course only available during the summer, and the local ones are of course the very best whereas those from the Canary Island or Israel I could certainly do without).
So this is a big catastrophe, not only for the flight industry but for people in many different areas that are affected. Maybe not that bad for buses, boats and trains though. As always, with the bad comes also something good. And one of the good things is that we now get a chance to see how vulnerable we really are and how important it is to look into flight alternatives as well as alternatives to how we live our lives in general.
Regarding traveling, we ourselves have traveled a lot without flying throughout the years. The reasons were many and my fear of flying was one of them. We’ve traveled many times through Europe with car, campervan and car with a trailer. We’ve used boats and ferries to take us to different places and we’ve traveled by train. Especially in the US we love going with their (slow) trains which take days and where you meet all kinds of interesting people.
You can read more about different ways to take yourself around the world, as well as a bit about our personal experiences here.
So the situation being as it is at the moment, I thought I’d share a few links where you can find more information about how to travel around the world without flying. The first one is www.lowcarbontravel.com a blog crated by Ed who traveled around the world a whole year 2007-2008, using all kinds of transportations, except flying. A while ago we did an interview with Ed that we will put up here soon for you to listen to.
Then there’s “The man in seat 61”: www.seat61.comprobably the no 1 site for people interested in traveling around the world without using a plane. As they say themselves “The man in seat 61 will tell you how to travel comfortably & affordably overland where you think air was now the only option”.
I also found this short informative and interesting article from www.worldinslowmotion.com who traveled the world for 10 months without flying. Here they share some great ideas you can have use for if you consider traveling in this way.
And finally, I just have to share this imagination stimulating article by Alain de Botton philosopher and author of many books, “The Art of Travel” being one of them (which I really can recommend). I just can’t resist quoting from this article because this part so very much resonates with what we often talk about here at Extended World Travel:
“If one of our key motives for traveling is to try to put the past behind us, then we often need something very large and time-consuming, like the experience of a month long journey across an ocean or a hike over a mountain range, to establish a sufficient sense of distance”.
Couldn’t have said it better myself
So, you see, if you want to travel around the world without flying, either by your own free choice or if forced by Mother Nature, there’s always a way to go!
Happy Slow Travels!