Ashley Hooper

Software Engineer - Hamilton, New Zealand
Hamilton, New Zealand

I have not flown since 2011, and the last flights I took were taken reluctantly. I had set off from London to travel back to NZ by surface transport only, but I ended up getting stuck in Iran and having to fly over Pakistan to India.

After 2 months of seeing India and Nepal by bicycle, I again found I was unable to make any onward progress by surface transport. Well, I could have spent one month twiddling my thumbs and hoping China would open the Tibetan border, and then paid a lot of money for a guided tour of Tibet before proceeding to China. I ended up flying to Thailand to continue my journey.

In the hills of Laos my bicycle frame suffered a catastrophic failure, necessitating a return to Bangkok (by bus). With a new bike, I set off again, taking the train to Chiang Mai, then in to China. After nearly 2 months of exploring Yunnan province of China, I fell from my bike and injured a rib, and after some time it did not heal and I finally booked a flight home from Hong Kong.

I travelled to Shenzhen by jeepney, bus, and train before catching my flight back to NZ.

I have not sworn off flying entirely, but I am sure I’ve spent more than my lifetime’s carbon budget on the 8 or so long-haul flights and 4-5 short haul flights I have taken. I would have to feel there was a very good justification for me to fly now.

I try to advocate flying less or not flying at all via social media, and to people I know. I also try to encourage people to use public transport and alternative transport.