Slow travel: how I got from London 2 COpenhagen sans CO2


Share care and be fare.

Well, it’s not really the sharing economy if you have to pay the fare, but if the gig economy allows you to make friends and go carbon free (almost), I’m in.

As someone who’s unable to stay still and loves discovering and living in new places, but not polluting them along the way, transportation is a source of internal conflict I face often. I’ve been lucky enough to go to many places in my life including, most recently, to Colombia and back (although I stayed throughout the 9 months over Christmas) and the (worringly cheap, £20) flight to Copenhagen. I’m pretty sure I’ve got these trips to thank for opening my mind more than I could imagine. But I’ve decided it’s time to walk the walk with transport, too.

So, taking a month long trip back home in the UK, I grabbed a direct (easy overnight 8 hour) bus to Berlin, where I stayed for a few days, then took the train (a not so easy 12 hour trip punctuated by a few life saving stretches and 3 changes) to Geneva to meet my family. What struck me is how super cheap buses are, around €20 for some trips across Europe.

But it was returning from my family home in Hertfordshire, just north of London to other home, currently in Copenhagen, that was the more triumphant of trips. After a few frantic sessions on Blablacar, I grabbed a lift last minute with a lovely guy (and two rather lost looking American festival goer girls) driving to Holland for Kings Day. It took two legs (3, including the lift my Dad gave me en route to work) totalling around 24 hours, but with a small few hour stop off in Rotterdam. A great option overall for last minute, more “sustainable” travel, and fairly inexpensive (around £70) for such short notice i.e. the day before!

You know what they say, flexibility is key, in body and beyond. Plus, there’s the added level of excitement if you’re open to going anywhere the wind will take you (wow, wouldn’t that be a great eco option).

Driver or passenger, save some spondulix and have someone pinch you to stay awake. Try Blablacar: bear in mind some people take frequent commutes, while others will upload their trips just before travelling, so be prepared. Liftshare is another website. Or take these other options. We are so lucky living in Europe, to be so close to other countries and cultures. The opportunities are endless!

Realistically, hitching a lift might not be up everyone’s alley. But opting for public transport, a shorter flight, or no flight at all and go on holiday at home (it’s called meditation, you’re welcome;) can make a huge difference alone, let alone accumulatively. The more we invest ourselves in public transport, the better (and cheaper) it’ll be. And the more we invest in ourselves, by appreciating the environment that allows us to do so. In a super sped-up society where we are so accustomed to efficiency and instant gratification, slowing down can be the most daunting thing in the world. But it’s these moments of challenging ourselves, and finding the beauty in the ‘boring’  that the most magic happens.

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