Arthur on the train

It’s Blog Action Day, and the theme this year is climate change.

I’m moderately tree-huggy at home: loft insulation from recycled plastic bottles, a super-efficient wood-burning stove, and kitchen worktops made from ground-up Corona bottles collected from Soho’s bars. But maybe most significantly – while I still drive a car and leave lights on and have the house too warm sometimes – I haven’t flown in nearly three years, and I’m really not missing it.

I’ve written before about the wonders of international rail travel aided by the phenomenal If you didn’t check it out before, go now. What Mark Smith has put together there is quite incredible – down to an annotated guide on how to get the best ticket price on the Spanish-language railway site. He also describes the environmental benefits of train travel over plane travel – and on the holiday I’m going on shortly, taking the overnight train to the south of Spain rather than flying, it looks like I’ll be reducing my CO2 emissions from around 300kg to more like 50kg. But for me, that’s not really the clincher. As he says at the end of the article:

I didn’t start to avoid flying, either for environmental reasons or otherwise. I started it because overland travel by train can be so much more enjoyable and fulfilling than today’s commercialised air travel experience. In an increasingly globalised world, where every flight is the same stressful non-experience, trains and ships show you more of the country you’re visiting and its culture.

All of that is true, and more so, if you’ve got a young child. To be fair, I’ve not tried flying with him, but I know that he likes to make friends, run around, eat good food and see interesting things, and travelling by Trenhotel, Palatino or Caledonian Sleeper for example are great for small people who like to do those kinds of things.

If you’re a big flyer and haven’t tried overnight rail travel, think about giving it a go sometime. It’s awesome.

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Hadn’t heard of those worktops or that insulation, both very cool and now on my wishlist.

I haven’t flown for 2 years either, partly because of the terrible experience of airports and air travel, partly because of the carbon footprint, and mostly because of Dylan. I can’t understand why anyone would want to take a baby, or even a toddler, on a plane. Seems ill thought through at best, selfish at worst.

I don’t understand why anyone who is traveling on this beautiful island would want to fly. You get stressed out at the airport, you get stressed out on the plane and once you have landed at you destination and get to where ever it is you are going you are so tense and tight that you need a few hours to get it out of your system.