29 January 2012

Step Down Sunday - Temptation of Flight

When looking to reduce your carbon footprint, flights are often seen as an easy target. People that rarely took to the skies in the first place, often see it as an indefensible luxury – as a dual national, I see flying as unavoidable.

Since I immigrated to the UK twelve years ago I’ve only been home twice, so it’s not something we do often – but we can’t say we’ll never fly again. We can continue to reduce how often we fly, but in the case of a family emergency there are virtually no alternatives.

So when we made our commitment towards a low-carbon lifestyle, we couldn’t say we’d never fly...but there were things we could say. We decided we could commit to making no domestic flights. It was a fairly easy commitment to make, as it's not something we did in the first place.

I should have realised our convictions would soon be tested. Last month Emma’s Diary arranged a bloggers event to be held outside London. At first I thought it would be a same day trip, which would be tiring but manageable. But when I realised the event was starting a 10am we hit the first problem - I simply couldn’t get there in time. I could go down the night before, but my health make it difficult to take luggage, much less the special bedding I need if I’m going to sleep. It was kindly suggested that I could fly down, thus making it there and back the same day.

I’ll admit I was sorely tempted, getting on a plane immediately brings a sense of adventure to any trip! Plus it would save me plenty of pain, frustration and money...but my conscious wouldn’t let me. We’d made such a small commitment to not flying that to use excuses and justifications to break it would make a mockery of our pledge.

So this Thursday I took the train down instead. The journey there was pretty good. I tried to pack as lightly as possible and ended up leaving the netbook at home - which was a brilliant choice, as I'd forgotten I'd be coming home with a few things to try! I asked the hotel for an extra duvet, which helped me get a few hours of sleep (I'm something like the Princess & the Pea; so even after taking pain killers to get to sleep I was wide awake at 4:30am, 6:30am, and I eventually gave up at 7:30am).

On the other hand the journey back home was quite hard, I had to wait longer between trains and it was quite cold. The combination of poor sleep, aching joints, a long day and delayed trains meant I was quite cranky for the last hour - and my bed had never looked so good!

Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed recovering and it may take a few more to get back to normal, but that's at least a cost I can afford. Despite the extra hassle, I'm quite glad I kept my commitment to avoiding domestic flights.

Hopefully I'll be writing about the Emma's Diary Meet & Greet itself soon, once I've caught up on sleep!

Step Down Sunday Have you made any Steps Down this week?

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