A bit over six years ago I learned that flying New York-L.A. round trip coach warmed the globe about a year’s worth of driving. The next trip I took by plane, I lost sleep about my personal contribution. I challenged myself to try a year without flying.
My TEDx talks describe my struggle with the challenge, since I thought family, work, adventure, and so on depended on it. But I went for it, starting six years ago today. I never decided not to fly again but contrary to all expectations, it improved my life so each year I keep saying another year.
I’ll share some lessons, though it’s spitting into the wind since anyone who flies takes everything I say to argue why they can’t. So go ahead and keep believing you’re helpless to change. I’ll waste my breath sharing anyway.
Avoiding flying is like avoiding Facebook or added sugar. I lose 5,000 superficial friends but gain joy, fun, community, connection, meaning, and purpose with fewer closer friends and family. I can’t spend time with everyone. Once I recognize I can’t see everyone and every thing, I stop craving what I lack and enjoying what I have. I lose the sweetness of sugar, but when my taste buds recover, fruit tastes sweeter than Twinkies ever did. Less sugar, more sweet feels like a great trade.
There is more to discover within bike or train distance than I can discover in my lifetime.
About 90% of people alive today have never flown, yet Americans call not flying “privileged.” They think because someone does what they can’t or rather won’t, they must have advantages, but they’re just not seeing past their addictions speaking.
Living by my values improves my life every time, despite my expectations. The more I do it, the more I learn to do it more.
I learned to love sailing. Next step: sail across the Atlantic or Pacific.
People are full of fear of swimming against the current, even to live by their values, but living by their values is leadership. It improves their lives.
Tons more, but that’s enough spitting in the wind. If you fly, I’ve probably inadvertently influenced you to fly more, or resist experimenting avoiding flying.
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