Since autumn 2012 I have made the decision not to fly. There was an exception in summer 2014 (a small blip), but otherwise the commitment is permanent. However, with many networks of dear friends made across Europe and being an international student, the desire (and perceived need) to travel is not easily exhausted. Therefore, I have committed to restricting my travel to land and sea. In recent years I have made a handful of cumbersome journeys across parts of Europe, which have been memorable for their various reasons. Not particularly for the views of the beaches of Northern Wales rolling by the windows or views from the Öresund Bridge, but rather it is the mundaneness, the slowness, the utter unreliability of German trains (and all other countries’ to boot), and the otherworldliness of sail and rail travel that have struck me over recent years.
These travelogues are presented through Claude, a fictional character, but are based on real instances and real journeys. The reasons for this are two-fold. Creatively, this is done to avoid any note of pontification the reader may perceive. (As someone who doesn’t fly, I find nothing worse than people who talk about their travels). I do not believe it is particularly of interest that I have experienced these events, but wish to share them nonetheless. Similarly, but from an ethical point of view, in a time of excessive global carbon consumption, in particular in the Global North, with no meaningfully low-carbon means of long distant travel, there is little justification for the promotion of travel in any shape or form. Think of these accounts as tales in a fictional land, not somewhere you would ever dream of visiting. Like me, you probably already do too much travelling.
What will follow in the future are the accounts of Claude, an observant, but all too human traveller who hates travelling and travellers alike.