Staying Grounded: No-Fly Travel

It may sound like a gimmick, or insane—or both—but I recently decided to circumnavigate the globe without flying. My work as cofounder of Futerra, which promotes sustain-able development, has left me with no illusions about our drastic need to reduce carbon emissions. So I decided to put my money where my (big) mouth was and see if I could do it—not just to help reverse climate change but also to slow down and see what I was missing. My long-suffering girlfriend, Fiona, agreed to come along. We have been on the road—actually, mainly the rails—for more than six weeks now and have already learned some key lessons that might benefit other slow travelers.

Indeed, slow travel should not be confused with easy travel. It can be difficult, stressful, boring and interminable. You need to be prepared for anything. But more than the challenges, it is the richly detailed experiences that stand out. We are proud to be called "slow." And we are happy to see that the trend for ever-increasing speed may finally be turning. When the Concorde retired recently, for the first time in history commercial air travel got a little slower.