"Last year I took 28 flights. If you're a full-time travel blogger, it kind of goes with the territory."
Meet Stephanie Parker, award-winning travel blogger at Big World Small Pockets. She has made a living from writing about her adventures for more than five years, and if travel is your job, it's usually going to be accompanied by lots of flights.
"I came to a realisation last year when I was in Cambodia. Sad to say, but much of this beautiful country was just covered in plastic trash and it began to get me down. It's all very well us feeling good about ourselves for travelling with our reusable cups, cutlery, straws and shopping bags, but suddenly this all felt depressingly insignificant, like I wasn't making any difference. That's when I realised I had to start tackling the bigger stuff, the tougher stuff – and for me, that's flying. Although I manage to keep my footprint pretty low anyway through being vegetarian, avoiding fast fashion and not owning a house or a car, I couldn't deny my lifestyle was very flight-heavy."
The decision to stay grounded for the whole of 2020 was made before Steph had even heard of our pledge, so it was really exciting for us to connect and be able to share the campaign – and let Steph know she's not the only one taking this action for the planet!
Steph has just set off on her six-month no-flight adventure, which will take her from the UK through France to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, then up to Sicily, across Central Europe and onto Moscow. From there she'll take the Trans-Siberian railway through Russia and Kazahstan, before continuing through Central Asia, into the Caucasus and across Turkey, before finally heading back to the UK through Southern and Eastern Europe. Throughout her journey she will use a mixture of buses, trains and boats, always retaining her 'small pockets' budget focus.
"It's about rediscovering the romance of travel," she says. "I can't wait to explore the historical Silk Road and reconnect with how humans have journeyed across this part of the world for centuries. I know there will be challenges to not flying, but I'm feeling more excited about slowing things down this year and reengaging with the sense of adventure that overland travel brings. When compared to flying miles above borders and arriving at artifical airports, watching the scenery change slowly through a train or bus window gives us a much greater understanding of how countries and cultures connect organically."
"I've spent the past ten years travelling all over the globe, and this is perhaps my greatest challenge yet – to travel the world without flying. I want to discover and share how we can adventure the globe on small pockets AND a smaller carbon footprint."
And look out for blog updates on the Big World Small Pockets website