With BAM Ambassador Anna Hughes
It was about ten years ago that I made the decision to stop flying. I had always been aware of its environmental impact and had started to feel the irony that by flying to see the world I was contributing to its destruction. So, I decided that I would no longer go anywhere that I couldn’t reach by bike, train or boat.
My first big adventure was cycling 4000 miles around the coast of Britain, a real discovery of what the UK has to offer, from perfect beaches, secret coves and crystal-clear water, to the amazing wildlife on our shores: puffins, eagles, dolphins, seals, and orcas.
“That is why we travel – to discover, and learn new things.”
I remember standing on one particular beach on the east coast of Scotland where the sand dunes just seemed to go on forever, feeling as though I was the only person in the world. After that trip I completely fell in love with the UK and have done plenty more touring within its limits, including sailing around the whole coastline, cycling up the middle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, and doing various coast-to-coast rides.
It’s easy to ignore what’s under our noses, but there are so many treasures right here in Britain. And the rest of Europe can offer enough adventures to satisfy you for a lifetime.
“Not flying doesn’t mean not travelling. Depending on the amount of time you have, nowhere is off limits!”
This summer I’ll be cycling the length of France from Dieppe to Nice, climbing the iconic Mont Ventoux along the way. After a quick swim in the Med I’ll be on a train home – a much more enjoyable journey than a flight, and barely even more expensive: £102 as opposed to £82 for flight + Heathrow transfer, which doesn’t include my most precious cargo which is my bike!
Because I’m as passionate about the environment as I am about adventure, I’ve started a campaign to encourage other people to ditch flying, too. Flight Free 2020 asks people to pledge not to fly next year, as long as 100,000 others do the same. It’s about taking collective action on the climate, rather than feel that your one individual action doesn’t make a difference.
So see if you can go flight free for a year. Take the train & spend more time exploring the UK. You never know what adventures it could bring!