The love for travel is something all of us should know more or less. This moment when we are taken by the wish of going somewhere else, somewhere new where we’ve never been before in our lives. But why do so many of us have this wish of traveling far away? Can’t we be happy with what we find around us? Can’t we simply enjoy what’s right in front of our own door? Just like in the old days, when most people weren’t able to travel anywhere for fun, anyway. Nobody missed going on a holiday back then… did they?
Man loves to travel
In every human being, there is an explorer. Without this urge to discover more of this world and by that, open up new areas with new resources, we probably wouldn’t have made it anywhere. We went from Africa to Siberia, from Alaska to Peru and mankind even managed to reach places as far away as New Zealand…
And because today, we can afford being an explorer of our own and because you can find cheap travels anywhere, even in the supermarkets, we do travel around the world all the time. On a low budget, even. Within just a few hours, we can fly to the borders of Europe, Asia and Africa. Within half a day, we can reach America and South-East-Asia. Give it another couple of hours more and we are in Australia, New Zealand or Hawaii. A hundred years ago, even 50 years ago, traveling this far was a privilege for the few rich people that could afford expensive long distance travels. Until the first charter flight in 1919, exactly 100 years ago, there was only sea travel available to go really far. And it took between 7 and 14 days to get from London to New York. Nowadays, it only takes a good 9-hour-flight to reach NYC (and from the 1960s to the 2000s, it only took 3.5 hours thanks to the brilliantly unprofitable Concorde).
The disadvantages of mass tourism
If you are looking to follow a more sustainable lifestyle, you can’t miss out questioning your travel behaviour, either. Airplanes produce greenhouse gases, noise and air pollutants. Especially, those emissions from nitrogen oxides and the production of contrails play an important role in the impact of air travel on the climate development. Emissions of nitrogen oxides and steam in cruise height cause ozone and contrails. Both stop heat from leaving the Earth’s atmosphere and thus play a part in climate warming. CO2-emissions from air travel as part of the overall worldwide CO2-output are 2,69 percent. This might not sound much at first, but it mustn’t be neglected, either.
Max and I still do travel quite a lot because of our job and unfortunately, we can’t stop flying altogether just yet. But to compensate this air travel, we only travel by train inside our country and also traveling to our nearby countries like The Netherlands, Belgium and France is much easier and more sustainable by train. We only drive very little by car and mostly buy sustainably produced bio-food. I eat no meat at all and try to eat as little animal products as possible and we try to buy less and less packaging that is non-recyclable.
Also, in far away countries, we always try to act accordingly to the country. Often, popular travel destinations and their population suffer from mass tourism. Waste-problems and water scarcity are only two negative examples. Thus, when you are in a foreign country, you should always ask yourself if you are acting accordingly to the country and its people.
As you can see, the topic of travel has always to be looked upon from two sides. Of course, it is great to be able to travel very far on a low budget. It makes you more open to the countries and people of this world, you get to know new cultures and nature. But traveling, especially by aeroplane, helps change our climate to the worse and in many countries, the population suffers from mass tourism. So, with traveling it is as it always is: think before you book a trip and question your own acts once or twice before you decide on something.
We will still visit some beautiful places this year and write about it on the blog. Remote destinations are not so much on our list, though. We rather would like to discover more of our beautiful Europe this year. So here it comes, our…
Travel Bucket List 2019:
– South of France
How do you handle the topic of travel? How sustainable do you try to act? I am very much looking forward to your comments on this difficult topic.
Photography: Max Bechmann