An article stating that “taking one flight emits as much as many people do in a year” led me to post the following on the site that linked to it. I thought it captured my feelings on flying since then.
Learning information like this finally led me to take responsibility for my actions that affected others. I challenged myself to go one year without flying. Like everyone, I have family all over and earning money meant flying. Now I’m in year 4 and it’s one of the best choices I’ve made.
After a few months of transition, figuring out how to resolve the challenges, I changed from expecting to be on a flight on day 366 to going for another year, no longer out of obligation but because of the increased role of community, greater adventure, discovery, and all the values I attributed to flying but that I could create more when challenged on my own.
I don’t think that flying is bad. I love traveling. But the headlines on climate are irrefutable and I refuse to claim I’m not responsible for my choices that hurt others, especially for my recreation. Planes aren’t going to fly anyway. They respond to people paying. One plane may bring me to my relatives, but flying in general disperses them in the first place, leading to less time with them. At some point I had to rip off the band aid and switch from accommodating a lifestyle of scattered community with rare actual eye contact, hugs, and touch to getting closer to the people close to me.
Among other transitions, last summer I learned to sail to get off North America. I’ve taken the train across the country and back. I’ve met as diverse people and done as adventurous things. I used to say I expect to fly some day again, but the longer I don’t fly, the less I expect to. Who knows?
People always ask my distribution of family and sources of income. I had to solve my problems for my life but your life is different so my solutions won’t apply. The only meaningful answers I can give to something I think you can only learn experientially is that you can do it too and if you do, the reasons for not flying will override the reasons to fly. You’ll be glad you did. I don’t know if this will make sense or resonate, but the longer I go without flying the more people talking about flying sounds like people talking about heroin.
I wrote a piece in Inc at the end of the first year, which I think captured some of the joy to that point, but I’ve discovered and created more since then https://www.inc.com/joshua-spodek/365-days-without-flying.html.
I left out how not flying led me to rowing a marathon, which resulted from my meeting my first Olympic gold medalist Crossfit Games champion, which resulted from my meeting my first America’s Cup winner, which resulted from my learning to sail, which resulted from my wanting to eat Thai food in Thailand while living my values of not hurting others just so I could see some sights and taste some food.
Lots of other stories of the joys of life obscured by the crutch of flying.
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