I value slow travel and find that not flying is less of a problem than those who are always stressed to arrive fast. As a Brit living in Vienna, it takes me about 22 hours to get back to London by bus, but I enjoy watching the accents and languages change, the scenery and weather slowly improving or getting worse, depending on the direction of travel, and going into the centre of each city on the way, to get a deeper impression.
I find that people’s reaction to me not flying for the last 13 years is something between shock and awe. It gives you an instant moral superiority at parties, and leads to lots of interesting conversations. I have a 6 year-old son, and we turn the coach journeys into adventures, telling stories about what we see out the window, eating the local food in each town, and chatting to other people on the trip and singing with them.
Few people love airports or flying – where you are basically treated like a child, with little control – but most people enjoy train journeys. I work on the longer train journeys, with good wifi signal and plenty of time to read books, not worrying about luggage allowances.
Air fares need to rise fast, to reflect the true cost of such extravagance on future generations. And of course, not flying is only part of the story – it’s also less meat, no cars and less consumption.