The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

22 April 2008

Travelling Lite

Ed Gillespie, co-founder of Futerra, an environmental consultancy, travelled around the world taking more than one year using “slow travel” options wherever possible, and trying to avoid flights during his 45,000-mile 381-day odyssey which (on his calculations) consumed just 1.8 tonnes of carbon. During his trip, he wrote a mostly weekly column for The Observer, and will be publishing a book about his trip during 2008.

Mark Smith is “The Man in Seat 61”.“I'm a career railwayman who ran away from Oxford to join the circus (or British Rail as it was then called) as soon as he could... I became the Station Manager for Charing Cross, London Bridge & Cannon Street railway stations in London in the early to mid 90s, and later the Customer Relations Manager for two major UK train companies. Until recently, I worked in London for the Department for Transport managing the team that regulates fares and ticketing on Britain's railways. When not travelling, of course...

I've been lucky enough to travel around the world on trains and ships to many interesting places, and I've worked as a European rail agent issuing tickets and advising other travel agents on train travel across Europe. So if you'd like some help with a journey you're planning, why not ask the Man in Seat Sixty-One...?

Why 'The Man in Seat Sixty-One'...? It's Eurostar's fault... I've left London by Eurostar on my way to Marrakech (via Paris, Madrid & Algeciras), to Tunisia (via Lille & Marseille), to Italy, to Albania, to Malta, to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus & Petra, to Ukraine & the Crimea, and even to Tokyo & Nagasaki via Moscow, Vladivostok and the Trans-Siberian Railway. Zaharoff, the notorious arms dealer, would always book compartment 7 on the Orient Express. When travelling in Eurostar 1st class, I always ask for seat 61 (in cars 11, 7 or 8). Before you ask, it's one of a pair of individual seats with table that actually lines up with the window...”

Need help ideas for planning your low carbon holiday? Ask the Man in Seat 61. is a personal website, started by Mark Smith purely as a hobby in 2001. It's grown and now become a full time job. It’s not a company or a travel agency, just an individual sharing knowledge that others might find useful. All the information on the website is provided free of charge to users, with the aim of providing sound practical advice to help people make journeys by train or ship instead of flying, affordably, comfortably and safely.

The site will help you if you can't find what you need through normal commercial websites or travel agencies. It also aims to inspire you to do something more rewarding with your travel than going to an airport, getting on am international airliner, missing out on all the scenery below and trashing the environment at the same time. “There's more to travel than the destination. It used to be called a journey!” is a travel agency offering travel options that exclude flying. So if you want to go somewhere by rail (Including by electrified high speed rail) or by small ship (cargo or passenger), then check them out. They have a price promise to refuynd any difference if you can find the same travel product cheaper somewhere else.

LoCo2 is a website which is “attempting to put the mental in environmental”. Its aim is to make low carbon travel fun, accessible and ultimately cheaper. The website is just starting up, and aims to inspire with ideas for travel by airship, supertanker, long-distance rail or to some wonderful European festivals. Go loco at:


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