Hello, we’re Kirstie and Arthur.
We’re on a trip around the world without flying, and we’re writing about our travels on Salt With Your Coffee.
We love visiting new places, eating interesting foods, meeting people, taking in spectacular views, and chilling out in temples and parks, or with a beer or a coffee, watching the world go by. But we’re also pretty freaked out about climate change, so we’re doing our best to travel the world without melting it in the process.
We’ve been together for nearly nine years, and our round the world adventure is our first long trip together. So far we’re still married. Kirstie does most of the writing and talking about herself in the third person. Arthur provides tech support, coffee and constructive criticism.
We set off on Sunday the 4th of October 2015, and so far we’ve visited Holland, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. You can have a look at some of our route here. (It’s pretty sketchy at the moment to be honest.)
Instead of flying we’ve travelled by train, bus, ferry, tram, bicycle, subway, trolleybus, chair lift, minibus, car, funicular, electric cart, motorbike, sidecar, remork, barge, kayak, pick-up truck, tuc tuc, monorail, trishaw, campervan and longtail boat, and even done a few bits on foot.
Spoiler: we haven’t quite managed not to fly on our journey from the UK to New Zealand, but we’ve got pretty close. A visa glitch and family commitments have meant we’ve taken two flights. But we’re learning all the time, so we’re pretty sure we can manage the rest of the way at ground (/sea) level. Fingers crossed!
Why we don’t fly
We quit (tried to quit) flying in 2011 after I read a book about the carbon footprint of various activities, and began to appreciate what a huge impact flying has on the planet.
For example, a return flight from London to New York is responsible for emitting between 3.6 and 4.9 tonnes of CO2 per passenger, depending on who you ask. Estimates for the ‘safe’ level of CO2 emissions per person per year are around 1.5 to 2 tonnes.
I’ve written more about our decision not to fly in Why we don’t fly, and why it’s hard to talk about it.
Since we switched to other forms of transport we’ve been on some great trips. We’ve explored various corners of Europe by train, from the mountains to the beaches, and since we set off round the world we’ve been having even bigger adventures. Across the whole of Russia on the Trans-Siberian railway for example! We discovered we love cycle touring when we cycled the length of Vietnam on a whim, and experienced the joys of karaoke night on an Asian cruise ferry. (Guess what, it’s every night!)
So much of travel for us is about the journey, and you learn and see so much more bumping around Myanmar on the world’s slowest train, or observing China roll by from the comfort of your sleeper train bunk, or sharing your soap with a room full of naked middle aged Korean ladies as you sail away from Japan, than you ever could speeding along in a hermetic bubble at 35,000 feet.
Yes, planes are easy, but they’re pretty dull. And man do you appreciate arriving more when you’ve sat in a bus all day to get there. Well, after the first beer anyway…
We enjoy travelling without flying so much so that I think we’d do it without the environmental imperative. It’s not always easy, but it’s usually worth the effort to find your way somewhere without a plane.
We hope you enjoy coming along on the adventure with us!