20 January 2020

On not flying: Work Miles and Love Miles

Flight free since 2011? Really?

Well, not exactly. That’s an oversimplified headline. I have been convinced for at least a decade or so that jetting around the world constantly is unsustainable, both for me personally (for various reasons) and for the planet. But as someone with family on the other side of the Atlantic, I have had to make a distinction in my life between Work Miles and Love Miles. Every three years, we fly as a family to the USA to see my family, and they come to us occasionally in between. Perhaps in the future it might become feasible for us to travel there by water. I would love that! But meanwhile, the occasional Love Miles will continue.

But for work, my policy is strictly not to fly. And yes, I’ve turned down intercontinental work on numerous occasions since I made that decision–most recently, a trip to the Arctic Circle in Norway which I would have loved revisiting, but which I couldn’t make time to get to by land and water. My last big work trip by plane was to China in 2010, with my friends at Systeme Castafiore. Since then, there have only been three or four occasions on which I’ve had to “cheat” and take a short flight due to circumstances beyond my control — in one case, for example, it was to get home from a gig on the continent despite road and rail closures due to flooding.

I wanted to “come clean” and explain what I mean by flight free. Perhaps I should have said “flight free for work”, but that didn’t have the same ring to it. End of confession.

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