Environmentalist travels 25000 miles without flying to reduce his carbon emissions
Thursday 22, July 2010
273 days by bus, train, boat and hitchhiking and were needed by Belgian Francois de Halleux to come back from Sydney to his hometown of Brussels.
Travelling on his own, he crossed 22 countries without boarding a single flight to protect the environment. "To avoid future ecological disasters such as the current leak in the Gulf of Mexico, we will need to reduce our dependency to oil. We will be forced to fly less", says the 28 years old, who left his job at Google to undertake the adventure. "I wanted to take the initiative and show people that very long journeys without flying were possible, and even very enjoyable".
To leave Australia, Mr. de Halleux had to spend 12 days on a cargo ship from Brisbane to Singapore. "It turned out to be very relaxing. Not much happens of course, so that leaves a lot of time to read and think". From Singapore he travelled through South East Asia to arrive in China. He pursued through remote Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to finally reach Turkey. After Istanbul his last stops were Romania, Austria, Germany and France.
"Not flying allowed me to save a lot of money too. I discovered many places I could never have visited otherwise", he said. "It forces you to take more time to reflect and appreciate the experience."
He said: "My favourite moments were a trek to some remote tribes in the jungle of Indonesia and my time in Tibet." "Some periods were very challenging too, especially witnessing large scale environmental disasters such as the dissapearance of the rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia. When you don't fly you can't avoid these places, you have to face reality and it is not always pleasant."
Mr. de Halleux is keeping a blog. As an amateur photographer, he plans to exhibit his pictures and is working on a coffee table book.
"The trip turned out to be the most fantastic experience I could have dreamt of", he said. "I would do it again without hesitation".
More and more travellers think that researching and planning a European city break is half the fun and they're not interested in pre-arranged trips or escorted tours. Self-guided tours offer a lot of advantages but require some guidance and good resources.
With the recent wild fires, disrupting flights and increasing air pollution, environmental quality is a growing factor in attracting tourists.
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