Do you still fly?

7 April 2011
I am going on a holiday soon.  I am REALLY looking forward to it.  My sister Tricia is coming up next week to see Jamie and the day after my birthday, we will drive down to her little cottage in the Blue Mountains.  It's on the snow line there and although it's not snowing yet, it is cold and we'll have the stove going and wear jumpers, cardigans and gloves to stay warm.  I'm almost hysterical with excitement when I think about it.  Mind you, you would never believe it to see me, I am about the least likely person to be hysterical you'll ever meet.  But my interior conversations tell another story.  Remember the jungle monkeys.

We have everything planned.  We'll drive the back roads, stop and browse around antique shops, rest when we feel like it and get there in our own sweet time.  When we're there, I'll see my nephews, and Tricia wants to take me to a couple of places, but the rest of the time we'll just potter around her place, two "old" ladies knitting by the fire, taking walks in the cold mornings, drinking cups of tea and reading.   It will be bliss.  I'll take my computer with me because I'm still working on the book but even if I work a portion of each day, I foresee a wonderful time ahead and I'm looking forward to it so much.

My last holiday was a train trip Hanno and I took to Townsville in 2007, the one before that was Melbourne, by car, in 2004.  But that was a buying trip for our shop, not a real holiday.  The rest of the time, my "holidays" are spent here.  I haven't been on a plane trip for at least ten years.  I cannot justify the environmental cost to myself.  When I travel back from Tricia's, I'll be on the train, even though it's more expensive than a cheap plane ticket.

I wonder if others feel the way I do.  If it is for my own enjoyment, I will not fly.  However, if I have to fly for business reasons, for instance, to promote my book, which I've already been asked about, I will.  If I ever travel overseas again it will only be to promote the book if I get a sale in the US or the UK, then I'll go to America and to Sweden on the way home and pay a carbon tax.  Otherwise I'll stay in Australia and drive or take the train to far off places.

I was offered a trip to Singapore in 2009 when I was a finalist in a blogging thing, I refused that because it involved flying over there.  Tricia has offered to buy me a ticket to Ireland in August.  She and our cousin Susie, are going, and Tricia thought I'd like to go too.  Well I would, but I won't. 

There is not a lot written about the environmental costs of flying now but the problem hasn't gone away. I'd also like to know a lot more about carbon offsets and how the money paid in carbon taxes is used.  If you pay $50 on top of your flight fare and that money goes towards planting trees - that seems a bit weak to me. Who monitors that?  Who plants the trees and where are they planted?  It all seems a bit secretive. Is anyone else concerned about this aspect of travel?  Do your work and travel plans play a part in your simple life?


  1. I have decided not to fly, aside from the environmental impact, because of the TSA policies here in the U.S. - not interested in being viewed or touched.

  2. HEY!!!!
    Have a lovely vacation....
    I know it feels great to just relax and spend sometime with our near and dear ones who understand us.
    Its a good change from the daily routine . good for our mental well being..

  3. I only fly for business. I refuse to deal with the TSA goons while traveling for pleasure. I've heard that people in Australia know we're Americans because we're the ones with our shoes off while approaching the checkpoint.

    I'd move to Australia if y'all had snow. :)

  4. I avoid air travel altogether. I see it as a luxury the earth cannot sustain. //Here in Canada, carbon offsets go toward financing alternate energy infrastructures (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) and more. I have no doubt it helps though obviously the less we gobble up and spew the fossil fuels in the first place, the better. //Your upcoming holiday sounds lovely.

  5. I hope you have a good holiday. It sounds perfect to me, all that pottering and mooching is just my thing. I live in UK, and we havent been abroad for our holidays for a good few years. I much prefer to stay here and explore my own beautiful country. I sometimes get itchy feet and want to travel, and there are so many beautiful parts of the world that I would like to explore but a couple of things prevent me:- the environmental issue, the cost of air travel, and the time wasted hanging around in airport lounges. Oh, and my fear of flying plays a not insignificant part too!

  6. I fly but only because my family and friends I visit are so far away. My husband refuses to get on an airplane since 9-11. I know it is bad for the environment but I don't see any other way to see my family and friends. I don't make unnecessary trips in my car and we keep lots of plants in the yard. Train travel is outrageously expensive here in the States.

  7. I hope you have a wonderful time with your sister Rhonda. Your impending journey sounds like a lot of fun & returning on the train makes me envious. I love train travel. I still do fly - once a year I return to the UK to see family & friends. Mum is nearing her 80th year & it's important to me to make this journey. She came out here a couple of years ago & had a wonderful time, but her health is not so good now & I know she'll not come out again. My OH & I used to fly a lot around Australia, taking wee holidays whenever we could, but since we adopted our dog, we tend to stick closer to home.
    Flying is an emotive issue I know, but for now it's something I have to do.

  8. I've never been to the UK and I've always wanted to. YOU BET I'll be jumping on a plane and going when I get the chance! It's fine if you've already seen bits and pieces of the world; the boys and I haven't seen anything but bits of SE Asia and I really want us to experience all that we can. Travel is one of the best educations a person can have, I believe.

    In the not-too-distant future I think that air travel is going to be prohibitively expensive. My thought is to see the world NOW before it slips out of reach.

    (Two of my boys are going to the US on Sunday for two weeks with the school's jazz stage band. They're not walking there!)

    Now off to juggle paying off the mortgage, extending the veggie gardens, installing water tanks and solar and trying to juggle how to pay for expensive overseas holidays as well.... Sounds good in theory, anyway!

  9. along with the environmental impact and carbon tax scam, i won't fly anymore because of the radioactive bodyscans and intrusive pat downs. luckily i don't have a job that requires flying.

  10. I no longer fly.

    Three years ago as I flew over the Rocky Mountains, looking down on those majestic peaks from so high above them, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Humans are not meant to fly. We are not meant to see the TOPS of the mountains...well, without climbing them anyways. It seems so strange and unnatural to me.

    So between that feeling and the high environmental costs, the rising prices of tickets and baggage check and the crazy hoops you have to jump through and invasive searches (at least in the US) in order to fly I find it a headache not worth it. My first choice is train. Actually, my first choice is my feet, but that can be slow going depending on the distance....

    Very good topic. Have a blast on your holiday!

  11. I don't fly either Rhonda. I've flown twice in my life - once on a family holiday to Jersey when I was 13 (we only ever went for cheap trips to a caravan park, so this was a big event that needed lots of saving for), and once to Denmark for work. Ironically I was going for a research trip to a sustainable transport department.

    I was uncomfortable making that trip, and decided then I wouldn't fly again, certainly not for that job, and not for my own entertainment.

    I try not to drive much either - pretty easy here as I live in a city, and things are a lot closer together over here in the UK I imagine! I travel to work by foot and train (it's 60 miles, and takes 2 hours - 2 days a week).

    I think you're right to question where the carbon tax money goes! Hope you have a fabulous holiday with your sister, how very exciting.


  12. Hi Rhonda, welcome to my part of the world. It is getting cold, particularly in the early mornings. The leaves are just starting to have some autumn colour.I hope you enjoy your trip.

  13. Congratulations on being a grandmother!
    My mother lives just on the other side of the blue Mountains in country NSW and we drive the back roads to visit (from QLD) - it's a lovely drive.
    I was late to the Al Gore video, but after watching it I did a lot of research about carbon offsetting and found it to be quite the sham unfortunately. About 90% of the worlds carbon is below ground (they think) - it doesn't matter how many trees we plant (if the companies actually do it, which some have found not to, I think there is an enquiry) they can't sequester the same amount of carbon as the sub terranian deposits hold. And trees die. Or their branches die. Or they suffer drought. And when that happens the carbon is re-released. As far as I can tell, the best place for carbon is underground.
    I'm not against flying, I guess as a Gen Y person, I'm hopeful that we will see technological advancements that make it sustainable.

  14. I hope you have a great time on vacation with Tricia. It sounds like such a luxurious, self-indulgent trip and I mean that in the best, best way. Some of the most fun vacations I've had have been with friends who simply enjoy being together reading, sewing, eating, etc. It's not been necessary to have much else.

    That being said, I would truly love to go back to Europe and the countryside of England some day. The last time I flew was in 1987 on a trip to England. I didn't like the flying part, but I liked getting there so quickly. So, if ever I have the chance to go back, I will fly again. Otherwise, any trips that my husband and I make will be by car most likely.

    I'm guilty, I'm afraid, of not thinking about the impact to our earth that flying makes. I have thought mostly about the cost of fuel, noise, terrorism, etc. Thanks for reminding me of the other costs. Even though I obviously don't have many occasions to fly, I will not have a casual attitude about flying if ever I have the choice again.

    Diane in North Carolina

  15. I don't fly either, but given the opportunity to go to UK to visit newly found family, I would jump at the chance...But as flying is sooo expensive, it just isn't on my list.....As for now, if I can't drive it, we just don't go. Great post, Also, I have been meaning to tell you I love the new look of the blog, enjoy your time with your sister....Soak it up.

  16. My last 2 flights have been bereavement trips from our home in South Africa to the USA where all of my family live. No other practical way to get to the memorial services on time, I'm afraid, when there are sudden deaths.

    I dislike the cost of air travel, the loss of sleep, the rushing through the airports, the delays from natural/weather-related problems (think snowstorms & the Icelandic cloud), the ghastly food (I've taken to ordering vegetarian even though I'm not as it's the best option) and the squash in the seats....PLUS the negative impact on the environment!

  17. I don't fly anymore because of TSA. It use to be fun to travel by air now it's just a pain, frustrating and humiliating.

  18. Hi Rhonda!
    I might bump into you around town here in the lovely Blue Mountains! It is cold and crisp but we are hoping for a bit of sun on the weekend.
    I hope you have a wonderful time with your sister!
    Love Lusi x

  19. I love to travel. And I've done my research and thought about global warming and read both sides of the argument. I don't believe in it.

    I'm not going to stop travelling the world by plane, train or automobile because of self-interested propaganda from carbon tax companies or hysteria whipped up by the media.

    In practical terms, if we all stop flying then the airlines are going to cut their funding for fuel research - which they have invested heavily in so far - and we are even less likely to get a clean and renewable fuel anytime soon. Who will pay for the laboratories if not those who need the results? Governments? Philanthropists? No, it's the industries that shell out for decades of work to improve fuel efficiency and cleanliness. I support them by giving them my fares.

    We're more likely to look after our planet if we go and visit it and really appreciate, in person, the beauty and diversity of everything living on its surface. Giving money to salve your conscience to companies who deliberately quash industrialization in developing companies is not the way to go.

  20. where did Tricia move to? I didn't realize she moved so far up !! your time there sounds perfect. I wish my sister and I were close like you two are xo

    as to flying. yes I do. but not often.. on my bucket list is to visit Cornwall home of my ancestors and something I have dreamed about as a child.. next year the plan is to go there for 2 or 3 mths. it is something I must do.. my soul aches for it and has done for many years.

  21. I have only flown 4 times in my 45 years, I will probably not have the opportunity to travel where I would chose to fly. I am very much a homebody so we don't travel far. Hope you have a wonderful vacation!

    Aside from your post topic I really enjoyed your photos, they were wonderful, I love staying home and being a housewife, oh my did I say that out loud, LOL.

    Thank you for your blog, I have just recently found it and haven't even checked out all the fun stuff you have on it yet.

  22. As much as I do my best to help the environment, I'd hate to think people stopped flying and didn't visit our beautiful country!

    My children are wiser and have a broader outlook on life and people because they've seen the world and different cultures.

    Any form of travel (of life!) has some impact on the environment and we can all do our best but I don't think insulating ourselves from the rest of the world isn't the answer.

  23. I do fly, though not as much for work since I changed jobs a couple of years ago. One of the reasons I changed was the environmental impact which I could not reconcile with me beliefs - lots of driving and flying.
    We fly for pleasure and to visit family (usually a couple of times a year). I do not choose to offset my flights as I have serious doubts about the reality of the effect. I do as much as possible at home (solar power, rainwater etc) and feel that the extra money is better spent on ways to reduce our personal carbon footprint than for paying for some nebulous carbon offset.
    Our next holiday is in 3 weeks and we will be driving within Australia to see places we never have and flying over Lake Eyre. That is something I have always wanted to do and with it full of water now is the time.
    So, I do fly. I try to do it in moderation.
    Well done on another well-written and thought-provoking post.

  24. Well yes I fly and as long as you drive or take a train you can fly, sorry but that is my opinion.

    I have cut my driving a lot, but as long as we produce coal in this country to get our I guess you have a different way to produce power?

  25. We often drive, instead of flying, because its so much cheaper. But my understanding is that flying is both safer and cleaner than driving. On a single flight you might have a 100 or more people, and the environmental effects, when divided among the passengers is less than when driving with only 2 or 3 passengers. I don't know about trains, there are no passenger trains around here, nor if we drove to the city to catch a train does it go to our destination.

    But I've also lived in China, where the *only* travel option was train, and it was hell on earth trying to get any where during one the 3 national holidays. I've climbed in and out of many train windows b/c I couldn't make the door before the train would leave. I'm very thankful for the options that we have.

    Hope you have a good time with the sister, Rhonda. Time with sisters are so special and important.

  26. Christine, yes we do have another way to produce power. We've had solar hot water for the past 25 years and next week we're adding solar panels to cover all our electrical needs.

  27. I love to travel; I dream of places that I would like to visit and yes I fly in planes quite often - but then living in Tassie there's not a huge lot of options unless one takes the boat over the strait - and I hate sailing, it makes me ill.
    I fulfilled one of my dreams last year , going to Italy and Spain and it was so worth it, I just loved the experience - standing in front of fantastic architecture and works of art that I never thought I would see.
    for myself, I believe my life is far too short to stay at home when there is this huge great world of wonderful things to experience before I leave this earthly toil. And if I have to fly to see my loved ones or touristy things then so be it. I try to maintain a very careful life in all other conservative manners, so I guess this is my one indulgence.

  28. From what I understand, the fuel costsof flying are directly related to weight, capacity and speed. An enormous ammount of fuel is used for large planes and that is why the companies are so serious about flight paths, weather and landings. If a pilot over shoots a runway and has to go around again it is very displeasing for the company. This really does concern me and makes me think lots about needless travel by people. Even MORE though is the freighting of food to countries where that food is grown anyway!!! It confounds me why we fly lemons across the world!!?? Craig is building a 2 seater plane. It will use about a normal car fuel tank to go from Launceston to Melbourne. In fact it will use less fuel from Launceston to Hobart and back than a car will. The down side is all I can take pretty much is a toothbrush and a change of undies!
    Have a lovely time and don't forget to take plenty of photos. Love

  29. If I wasn't so scared stiff of flying fly anywhere my heart desire and my bank balanced allowed... I believe that God is so much bigger than this whole global warming thing..he holds the world in place everyday by his awesome power...he sent his son so we could have life and an abundant life..the opportunuties that come your way are from God himself so get out there and live them all and rejoice in them..Gods got the earth sorted..people and relationships are the most important things in life.
    thats my 2 cents worth

  30. I won't stop flying unless I either cannot afford it or all of my family move to the same country. :) As much as I'd love to have a more sustainable way to travel I'm not even sure how to get from Washington D.C. to Hawaii to see my family without flying (unless I want to spend about a month travelling to see them for a week!). Here to Europe poses the same problems, there are Trans-Atlantic cruises and so on but its expensive and I just don't have the time off of work to spend travelling.

    If I gave up flying it would mean losing so many connections with my mother's family as well as friendships of many years. I fly once a year at the most and hopefully in a few years I will be moving back to Europe and able to make use of the shorter distances and better public transport. I think its really easy to say you won't fly when you can get there another way but America is so big and trains are so expensive and hard to access for most locations. Even airports can be difficult, I have several friends who live 6-8 hours away from the nearest major airport.


  31. The only way I ca get out of where I live is by plane. We are very remote.

  32. Get out of my head Rhonda! Yesterday you came across my mind and I wondered what you would do if the book sold overseas because I know your views on flying, today you answer my question.

    Our holidays like yours are few and far between so flying is not something we usually contemplate. We have flown a couple of short trips for weddings and things because of time constraints and getting back to work. I figure that doing this once or twice a year is well within reasonable for our carbon footprint.

    Your visit with Tricia sounds like heaven.

  33. just thought i would say also, that awhile back, Clive Blazely from Diggers club discussed the flying issue as well.. I will see if I can find it and post it on the forum

    hope you can visit the Co-op in Katoomba.. and plenty of fantastic op shops up there too :)

  34. We recently traveled to NZ - the first time I have been on a plane since 2002. To reach our destination we had to travel by train, plane and automobile a journey that was as almost as eventful as the movie itself! I'll be honest and tell you that the flight to NZ was the most relaxing part of the journey. To get to the airport we chose to travel by train which involved catching the XPT service through the night. This was by far the cheapest option for our family as kids fares are only $1. However we had no idea of what economy class at night was like - just awful. I now know why transit police are sometimes on board. The seats were really uncomfortable but the worst part was the drunken louts on board who made the first half of the journey really unpleasant. All around us we could hear people constantly swearing, playing rap music without headphones and I would not let my girls use the nearest toilet because these men stood outside smoking (which is banned on board) and were behaving aggressively. In the end they were removed from the train at Taree where the police were called and one was arrested. They even locked the train down because one of the offenders was unaccounted for. All this resulted in a huge delay and we would have missed our plane if it had not been delayed at Sydney. Countyrail had to hold trains to the West and Melbourne or passengers would have missed their connections. On the return trip we paid an extra $100 (for 9 of us) to travel first class, it was a totally different experience. It was still cheaper to travel first class by train than for us all to fly so that would be our choice next time (will probably be another 10 years before we can afford it again!) but if they want to encourage people to use rail services they have to improve the safety on board for passengers - you should not have to put up with the type of behaviour that we encountered.
    I hope your train trip is a much more pleasant one than ours and that you have a wonderful reunion.

  35. I still fly. If I want to see my dad I pretty much have to as he isn't able to do the flight here to visit me. It's just something I am not prepared to give up so long as I still have dad around I'll still fly.

  36. I don't fly because I was an aircraft mechanic and I know the guys working on the planes, don't get me wrong there are some good mechanics but there are also too many who don't take their job seriously as an aircraft mechanic.....that and the TSA thing...

  37. Just had to pop in and say have a fabulous rime on your holiday! My favourite holiday was in the Blue Mountains, a while ago now. I loved getting all rugged up for those brisk morning walks and sitting by the fire reading and knitting is so cosy and relaxing. Have a Ball!
    Re: flying...definately food for thought and a very valid point but I need to ponder on that one!

  38. Hubby wanted to fly to San Diego last year, but I balked. Recently read that if you drive over 400 miles, it is more environmental to fly. So, this year we flew to S.D. STILL feel guilty about it, so I admire you greatly. And I like the way you think about the offsets. Maybe such money would better be spent in giving our communities the money for trees??

  39. I try not to fly but with my son and grandkids in Newfoundland and I on the opposite coast in Powell River it's impossible at this time to do anything else but fly. When my husband and I retire we hope to take the train across Canada and then a ferry to Newfoundland. Have a great holiday!

  40. I struggle with flying. I refuse to fly here within the US due to the new TSA regulations primarily, but I also don't feel comfortable with the environmental effects.

    However,my husband and I have been dreaming of an extended vacation (3-4 months) in New Zealand and can't figure out a way to get there without flying. We've looked at booking on cargo ships but haven't found any direct routes. We may have to take a ship from the US to Singapore or Thailand and fly from there.

  41. Hi Rhonda,

    Sounds a delightful holiday. We would take our caravan and stay in the one place quite a few days and then move on. Long road trips are a thing of the past for us and besides we couldn't afford it. We love to find quiet little towns where we can just relax and perhaps do a little fishing and bike riding and even catch up on some reading and for me a little stitching. I can't see that happening now for a few years but it's something to look forward to.

    Blessings Gail

  42. The thought of your being with your sister just puttering around her place together sounds wonderful !! I almost cried putting myself in your place with any of my sisters. Such a joy to look forward to!! Enjoy yourself!! :) No I have not taken a plane in years..but then there was no reason I had to. I always wonder that even if trees are planted are they as I suppose, those pencil like sprouts and are they even planted right or cared for afterwards? Who does keep a watch on all of this? Good question. Sarah

  43. I generally won't fly if I have a choice. For work, yes, occasionally, if the situation is right (although it's been years now since I've flown for work). For personal reasons, it's possible I will again, but unlikely, I think. Given the option I'll take the bus or train, which tend to be less of an environmental issue, less expensive, less of a hassle, and far more pleasurable as well.

  44. Flying ain't natural. Car travel is bad enough. ;)

    My eight-year old has been telling me every day on the way to school (via car) that she wished roads and cars didn't exist.

    She said it stops people from being able to ride their bikes or horses, like in the olden days. She says it's hurting the planet too. I did counter argue that roads and ambulances, can now get to sick people quicker to save their lives.

    Her solution was to employ really fast camels that could travel over land instead, LOL.

    Kids have such a simple way of looking at things.

    But planes much like cars, I loath as a form of travel. When I was younger and lived in suburbia, walking was my prefered form of transport. I was known to get up at the crack of dawn and walk 2 hours to work, than get in my car and brave city traffic.

    A great way to wind down the day too!

  45. It would be unforgivable in me to mumble something about 'carbon footprint...yadayada' while trying to explain to my sister on the phone why I was never going to see her again. I love the earth and do my best to care for it, but I love my family (and many other things), too. A bit of balance in our environmentalist movement is really needed. We should be motivated by good sense, compassion, and hope...not guilt, and not holier-than-thou-ness.

    Rhonda, I respect your choice, which I know must suit your life and values at this time. If you should change your mind in the future, though, you would not have to justify it to anyone! Enjoy all your future travels!

  46. I have flown to places and if need be, probably won't stop, but we don't fly a lot. The last time I flew was last year when we were in the process to move from 1 city to another and I had to find a new rental home, but the actual move? We drove by car and stayed over in two different towns. NZ is so beautiful and it is so nice to see different places tat I quite enjoy travel by car even if it takes longer.

    Lea White

  47. Enjoy tour holiday! It sounds wonderful.

    I have only flown twice since 9/11, and not at all since the TSA began its intrusive searches. If I am being completely honest, though, I can't afford to travel by any means, even car!

  48. We fly if we have to due to tryanny of distance in Australia. Otherwise, it takes days of driving to visit family, plus costs of a motel and extra days of kennel fees for the dogs. We do like driving to visit our family though, and do so when we can because we like to stop and visit places we wouldn't normally see. We also camp a lot.

    In regards to trains, there was a report somewhere outlining the real cost to taxpayers because the government subsidises the fares so much. I'm not sure of the figures but it worked out more than the cost of an airfare, especially for pensioners on heavily subsidised or free passes. Don't forget that the Tilt Train and Sunlander etc rarely run on full occupancy unlike aeroplanes. We have both go past near our house and there are usually 4 carriages plus engines and the trailer (?) for cars etc, yet it's rarely full. Up to Gladstone the trains run on electric power and then north of Gladstone the engines are changed to coal ones. I don't know how much energy would be used from go to whoa in producing the power required for both forms to move the trains, but for me, I would prefer to travel on a plane at full occupancy and get there quickly than travel on a near empty train that will take much, much longer.

    I think that everyone will have different views as to what is better for the environment. I know my husband's step-grandparents prefer to use the train, despite how long it takes to get anywhere, solely because they get free travel as pensioners. They use their allowance in full each year to go to wherever they can just because they can, not because they have a need to go anywhere. I see that as bad for the environment as well as for the taxpayer.

    Bye the bye, go on your UK trip with your family, you'll kick yourself if you don't. I'm sceptical about planting trees or whatever the schemes are, so I say do your bit locally as much as you can to compensate your carbon emissions, which I know you already are. Maybe combine your book tour with a holiday and travel to the UK from a country that you are at that is closer to there than here.

  49. Rhonda I have only flew twice in my life. I have a chance to go to Vancouver this summer it is on the other side of Canad. If I take the train it is 4 nights (which I would love) but my time in Vancouver would be cut short. It would add up to 8 nights on the train, I am not sure what I will do. I do love the train. I do worry about the impact of flying I am not sure what I will do. I have a 95 year old Aunt out there who really wants me to come.
    Oh what a hard decision.It is also in the middle of our haying time here on the farm so time is an issue. Decisions decisions.
    Have fun on your trip I love just puttering around places I have never been without an agenda. B

  50. Larissa in Country Western AustraliaApril 07, 2011 6:42 pm

    "knitting by the fire, taking walks in the cold mornings, drinking cups of tea and reading." Absolutely bliss. ENjoy! fyi - I haven't flown in over 15 years, not my cup of tea and now there is another valid reason for not flying, environment. :o)

  51. Your vacation sounds wonderful (my idea of a great time). My SIL does not fly either for environmental reasons. We are flying this year because it is a little difficult to fly from Ontario to the Yukon with 5 children, but with a family of 7, it is not something we can afford for the most part. This is a last family trip before our oldest son leaves home in a little over a year.

  52. It isn't something I get to worried about. Let me explain, my husband works as an air traffic control assistant. He knows a lot about planes and is also very keen on learning how to be environmentally aware as am I. You are right to say there is little published about the impact of flying. There is a generally held view amongst aviation experts that the reason for this is that the emissions are so small in comparrison to other sources of pollution that they are not sufficient to form an argument. There is proof (though we can't remember where to find it) that flying causes about 3 to 4% of global carbon emmissions annually, that is about the same as shipping (shipping is unregulated and uses old technology, so that is probably much higher!). Aviation is the leader in being efficient and green and their engines are now 70 per cent more efficient than they were 40 years ago. Which is comparable to the car industry.

    However as with all things, moderation counts for a lot. I would much prefer to holiday at and around home when we can (though unfortunately expense pays a large part to play in this for us - it is more expensive to holiday in the uk).

    This year we might do a city break that will involve flying to somewhere in Europe, otherwise it will be around the UK, in fact we are going to Minehead a good old british seaside on Saturday for a few days.

    Do enjoy your break x x x x x

  53. I don't fly, two reasons 1 I am about to have my fifth child and it's not in the budget and 2 I would rather see Australia first.

    What does interest me is the topic of how carbon taxes will be spent. With the likely introduction of a carbon tax here in Australia, I want to know how our taxes will be spent.

    I think when we live simply on a day to day basis we probably would still be under our quota with a "once in a lifetime trip".

    Enjoy your holiday, and if you do need to go OS for business enjoy that too. Spreading the simple living message is probably more of an offset than any extra tax. :)

  54. Re the tree-planting thing - I used to think it was a lot of hooey too but....
    My husband worked for IBM on-site at Toyota. He was called out to the "Greenhouse" and he thought "what the?". That's where he met the guy that was in charge of their tree-planting programme through-out Australia. There he sat amongst his latest batch of hundreds of baby trees ready to be planted.

  55. Flying is something I do agonise over but there is no other way I can see my family. I don't fly for any other reason but my annual trip to Australia. We do so much to cut our carbon footprint in the home to make up for this flight. I'm not sure about the carbon off setting, I don't know how it works or if it works at all.

    Have a good time with your sister, you are lucky to be so close. Wrap up warm and enjoy.

  56. What a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your sister. Sound like so much fun. Go without guilt.

  57. Sounds like a wonderful vacation to me, have fun, and be careful, be blessed, and be a blessing.

  58. Hi New to your blog. Love it though. What a timely post for me and my husband. He worked as a traveling consultant for a long time and has tons of airmiles as a result. We could all three of us have paid for round trip tickets twice over to Europe. But I feel guilty about it. It's also not so fun when you have a 4 year old to travel. We feel the airlines will void all the miles in the next oil price bump. So what should we do?

  59. I have flown three times in my life. Once when I turned eighteen, my girlfriend and I flew to Los Angeles to go to Disneyland. The flight as just under an hour. The second and third times were for business, and I have decided that I don't care for flying. I took my three daughter to Nebraska when they were all small to see an old friend who also has three daughters. We took the train and had the time of our lives. I even bought them all train engineer overalls and hats. I prefer travel by car. Holidays are spent at home. I love it here!
    Have a great time with your sister and nephews! It's sounds so wonderful!

  60. Congratulations Grandma. Welcome to the magical world of grandchildren. Your forthcoming holiday sounds delightful. Such a pretty area. If Trish needs any help or advice on her trip to Ireland please do contact me, as being in the business, I know the country extremely well.
    I try to to my best for the environment, but in the scheme of things I have no problem taking 2 flights a year. My husband is not allow to fly, so I suppose we have made a cut of 50%. I take my role of mother, grandmother, cousin and friend very seriously, and feel my input is very important to the well being and happiness of my family. I feel travel makes us more aware of the environment, seeing the difficulties other countries encounter, and gives me an awareness and appreciation of my own environment, and how important is is for all of us to contribute in any small way we can.
    Travel also is important in order to keep heritage, culture and customs alive through the generations,for those living abroad. So it is with joy I will fly to Paris in 3 weeks to visit the oldest living member of my husband's family, who lives alone, is a sweet old lady, and deserves a bit of pampering and fun.

  61. Like your first commenter, Annette, I also do not fly anymore because of both environmental impact and TSA policies in the U.S. I don't like the body scanners or patdowns for health and psychological reasons, and particularly would not expose my kids to either. This causes some difficulty for us as my husband's family lives on the east coast and we are in Minnesota, so we must drive or take the train. We've never taken the train because, sadly, it is so expensive, but we would like to someday.

    Also, my father-in-law is a pilot and is no longer willing to get in a commercial airplane because of concerns over their safety. This gives me another reason not to fly.

    But, to each his own. We are glad when family flies to visit us, and would not try to stop them.

    If we ever get to take our dream trip to England, however, we will likely have to fly. Maybe someday.

  62. I do so envy your get-away. Not JUST that you'll be a a cozy cottage, but your relationship w/you sister. My only sister was a sweet twin who only lived 4 hours. We have 2 daughters & I have always told them to treasure their relationship b/c there is nothing like what sisters share ~ as I have observed throughout my lifetime.

    Treasure your time together! :-)

    Blessings from Ohio/USA...Kim<><

  63. I fly, and I hate it. I paid the carbon tax / environment offset a few times, but it feels slightly scammy to me so I haven't since.

    I fly because I live with my fiance (husband in less than a month!) in his country. I don't (quite) speak the language yet and the culture is very, very different from mine in ways that creep up on me and bury me in alien-ness every so often. I need a trip to familiar territory (my sister's, not in my home country but close enough) once in a while to stay sane. It sucks, but working full-time I can't usually spare much more than a long weekend and driving/train would take almost all the time! When I did go for a decent length of time - almost a month - I went by bus and loved it.

  64. I have wondered about that as well. My cousin is getting married in Colorado this summer and my parents are taking the train from Wisconsin, my sister from New York, and hopefully I will join them from Wisconsin. We are hoping to all be on the same train. I do not want to deal with TSA and will not be taking my children through a checkpoint. My hubby thinks I am crazy and is plotting a trip on our anniversary, I will fly then. I have not flown in 3 years, and it was 5 or more before that for the previous time. I'd love to tell you it is primarily a environmental decision, but mostly it is a monetary one, followed by a distaste for TSA.

  65. We do fly, though it's quite rare these days due to the expense for a family of seven to fly. My parents live over 1400 miles away, so usually fly to see us once per year. We will be flying to see them this year having not been there in three years. My husband is military, so cannot currently choose where to live, and without flying we would rarely see our family at all. Once he retires, we hope to live much closer and eliminate that necessity.

  66. i love trains! I think they are the best way to travel :)
    However, I have to rely on planes. My family is on the other side of the world and it would be very difficult (not to mention mighty long!) to avoid taking a plane. I do have silly fantasies of going on road trip of sorts via land and sea transport.. it would be interesting and exciting for sure but it shall remain in my fantasies for now :)

  67. I do fly to see my family in Europe.... I am increasingly leaning towards going by train though, even though it will take much longer and cost at least twice the amount.

    You are right to be concerned about carbon offsetting. I personally don't even like the concept, as I think it makes people think it is *ok* to fly, and then as you say just pay 50 dollars on top. That's not really much of a sacrifice for them is it? Not that it *has* to be, but it doesn't put the problem of climate change into proportion as far as I'm concerned.

    The offset industry is largely unregulated. In the UK a couple of years ago the government became sufficiently concerned to set up an Approved Offsetting Schemes list - see here
    but I don't know if Australia has anything similar.

  68. Al Gore, the high priest of the Global Warming faith, and his army of celebrity and political acolytes, being the intrepid globe-trotters that they are, have already more than cancelled out any efforts on your part, Rhonda. Sad. But true.

    I do admire your consistency. Unlike so many leaders and adherents of the Green Faith, you actually practise what you preach, and I truly respect that. If it's your decision to travel mostly by train and pay a tax when forced to fly, good for you. I meant it. I would also like the ability to exercise my free-will in these matters and that includes being able to visit my friends and family on the other side of the world without having to pay prohibitive taxes! Based on a lot of careful reading from both sides of the issue, I have come to reject many of the tenets of your Green Faith. Unless you can show me proof that a carbon tax of any description will actually cool the planet (which you can't), I should no more be forced to join your faith than you should be forced to join mine.

  69. Simone, I don't want to force anyone into anything. I'm just stating my opinion and thinking aloud about what I do. I agree with you about the uselessness of carbon taxes and I need to read a whole lot more on the subject.

  70. hi
    visiting this post again , your veranda looks so bright and cheerful isn't this the place you have your morning tea with Hanno...
    Thanks for being an inspiration

  71. I do fly for long distance travel...train service from my city is sparse. Usually only once or twice a year, but I weigh the environmental impact against the good it does me to be with close friends and my sisters. Vacations refresh me and give me new inspiration.

    Have a wonderful holiday with your sister.

  72. I fly often. I live in Newfoundland at present, with my family and friends halfway across the country. We used to drive twice a year, but now that we have access to flights at cost (fiancé is a pilot) we have only flown for the last year and thanks to it being faster and cheaper, we've been able to go more often. I haven't had problems with CATSA, they're generally friendly, careful when searching bags. I haven't bought offsets because, like many others, I doubt their effect. I enjoy flying, especially in smaller planes, and will likely have to do more in the future if we move further North up to Labrador. I do think about the environmental impact, but figure it's less than driving would be, and there are no trains in Newfoundland. Ideally, we would move back to Ontario to cut the amount of trips, and get a piece of farmland too! But for now we need to live where the work is...

  73. I don'y fly either any more. Even though my family are far away. I try to go by car or coach. My husband refuses to go on a plane, hasn't been for 5 years (last time was on a business trip). All for environmental reasons. Glad to hear there is more of us :-DDD

  74. Hi,

    I appreciate your reasons for not flying but I am unwilling to stop flying although I have curtailed flying this year due to illness. I too distrust the "carbon tax schemes" with their for-profit lack of transparency. I impose my own carbon tax by making a donation every time I fly to an environmental group that is planting trees or disseminating solar cookers or building wells. These are practical things that don't seem worthless to me at all. It might take some investigation to find a group that you trust, but I think its worth it.

    Marian, USA

  75. I feel the same and don't see how I can justify flying in this age of environmental challenges. I will be going to Melbourne in July for my daughter's 30th birthday and I will be going by train. Apart from the above mentioned reason I love the time on the train. I can sit and knit read a book which I find difficult to do at home on the farm when there is just so much to be done. Love your blog. Kate



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