Since I founded Ski Flight Free four years ago, I have substantially cut down on my flights, but I haven’t managed to stop flying completely.
Admittedly one flight was rolled over from lockdown and another was to visit my elderly mum in Australia, but in 2024 I am committing to the ‘Flight Free Challenge’ – created by Anna Hughes of Flight Free UK – of taking no flights at all.
Travel by train
I don’t really see it as a ‘challenge’, as I don’t feel it’s particularly difficult to achieve. I’ll still be travelling overseas in 2024, but mostly by train.
The majority of my journeys will be for work, which are simple to do by train. In my job as a ski journalist, this winter I’ll be taking five trips to the mountains by train.
Ferry to Bilbao
My other love is running, and I have three races in Europe planned for 2024. Two are trail marathons in the mountains, both of which are easy to get to by train. The third is a duathlon in Portugal.
This is slightly more complicated, but by travelling as a foot passenger on the ferry to Bilbao and then hiring a car, I can still get to the race for a substantially lower carbon footprint than by flying.
Summer holidays still possible
The biggest step forward is making our annual family holiday a train-based trip.
The plan is to take Eurostar to Paris, the overnight train to Nice and then a ferry to Corsica for a couple of weeks.
The kids will enjoy a completely different experience, see more of Europe and, as a household, it will make a huge difference to our carbon footprint.
Challenging the default view
The obvious reason for taking the Flight Free Challenge is to reduce emissions, but I also hope that my actions can help inspire others to make changes in their own lives.
So much of the work that I do with Ski Flight Free is to challenge the default view that it’s too difficult or too expensive to look at alternatives to flying.
I genuinely believe that one day our descendants will look back at this period and ask “What were they doing? Why did people fly so much when they knew the impact it would have on the planet?”
Travelling without flying is not a burden, and we need to make that shift now, before it’s too late.