For the eco-conscious amongst us, travel can often be filled with confusion and guilt. I want to explore new places but I know the environmental impact associated with traveling is quite great. How do I justify a greenhouse gas-ridden flight or car-trip when my everyday, non-vacation self is obsessed with reducing my contribution to emissions.
I don’t yet have the answers on the most eco-conscious travel.
For the longest time, I thought car-travel was always better than air-travel, as far as Mother Earth is concerned, so I was excited for my recent road trip from Nebraska back to California. However, I’ve been reading many studies which suggest that flying has become so efficient that per person, it often contributes less greenhouse gases than the same trip by auto. But there are so many factors in play here, whether the flight was full, whether the car gets good gas mileage, whether you have to pull over every hour in Arizona to decide whether or not to rescue that adorable stray dog, etc.
Confusing, and kinda stressful, right?
Travel is a reality. I’m this crazy, modern, human person and I can climb into a giant metal bird with a bunch of other human people and fly IN THE SKY and end up in a DIFFERENT PLACE. And that’s insane. And also mundane, by today’s standards.
My nephew was born just days before the holidays. I was going to go to Nebraska to meet him. However much I would have liked to travel by bike or wild stallion, it was not feasible (maybe someday!)
But look at this little dude! I had to go see him, and fast!
Sometimes we just have to be gentle with ourselves. Once we get to our destination, we can still be the same eco-obsessed person we are back home. It’s important to keep learning and questioning and exploring alternatives, and as I travel more I will work to discover ways to reduce or offset the impact.
But if I was fretting over every gallon of gas while I was holding my nephew in my arms or while I drove through miraculous Colorado, beautiful Utah, and awe-inspiring Arizona with my best friend, I would have really ruined the peaceful, joyful trip.
Plus if you have similar goals as I do, to slow down and live in the present, I highly recommend driving through Arizona and Utah. You have to literally STOP every 60 miles or so for some form of wild animal.
And it’s magical!
The world is beautiful, the Grand Canyon is miraculous, wild horses, new nephews, best friends and little snowman friends are sweet gifts of joy.
And if you are still stressed about greenhouse gases, just remember, this picture exists: