I cycled from the UK to Bangkok before starting my job at the University of Hong Kong, and I loved the fact that my carbon footprint was so low. Traveling by bicycle was the best way to experience the countries I passed through.
But since starting my job at HKU, I have flown on numerous long haul flights, to spend a few days at a conference. I can no longer justify doing this when I know that climate breakdown is occurring. I have decided not to attend a summer school in the US this year because it would mean another flight. I am also committed to traveling to any conferences I do attend by train if at all possible.
This summer, I will return to the UK to visit my family which means a long-haul flight cannot be avoided. However, I have decided to spend two months in Europe and I will travel to my conference in Lisbon by ferry and train. It will be more expensive, but I know it is the right thing to do – individual actions can make a difference, and reshape how other people think and act as well. This is the beginning of an attempt to reduce my flights to a maximum of one round trip flight per year, before phasing out flying totally.
My research draws on both contemporary literature and my experiences of cycling 16,500 km across Europe and Asia to explore what it means to be hospitable in the contemporary world.