My Updated Policy on Travel

For some years now, my general policy on travel has been: Minimize unnecessary trips. Avoid flying. Don’t accept car rides that are out of someone’s way. Get around in town mainly by bicycle, foot, or bus. Get around long-distance mainly by Greyhound or Amtrak.

I did travel a lot when I was younger, including long-distance car trips and airplane travel. Awhile back I actually purchased carbon offsets to mitigate every flight I could remember taking in my adult life. And air travel post-9/11 has become such an unpleasant experience that I have little trouble resisting it. (And that was before Covid!) Unless one of my siblings (brother, sister, brother-in-law) or nieces needed me for something, you couldn’t pay me to get on a plane right now. I have on a couple of occasions rented cars to get to my family who live several states away.

Now, with Covid continuing, but some people wanting to get back to normal social gatherings, I started formulating some updates to my travel policy: No long-distance travel except for emergencies. If I want to visit my family, I might have to rent a van and quarantine in their yard. I will travel by bus or train again when buses and trains become open-air! (You know, like that Durango-to-Silverton excursion train.) Get around town only by bicycle or foot.

I may have to bend these guidelines at some point but for now they feel good. I’ve actually been doing a lot more walking since the pandemic hit.

Oh and here’s my ideal travel method: foot or bicycle, long-distance, by paved interstate paths dotted with camping oases. THAT is some travel I could really get excited about! It would take me about 6 days to reach my siblings by bicycle, but it’d be a fun journey. Can you imagine? Sort of like an interstate highway with truck stops, but for cyclists and pedestrians.

By the way, in a previous post I referred to myself as a “Doomer Lite.” One example: Not enough of a doomer to stockpile generators and MREs, but enough of a doomer to be aware of how many days it would take me to walk to my family if TSHTF and the world were to, like, suddenly run out of gasoline. I could cover the distance on foot in 30 days or less. Which is better than when I lived in Texas; that trip would’ve taken a good two months or more on foot.

But this train of thought is too Doomer-ish for me. Really I just want paved interstate hike/bikeways dotted with campsites right now, because it would make travel ever so much more fun, convenient, and rich.

Back in 2007, I took a solo bicycle ride from Austin to New Mexico. I rode for six days, camping just by the roadside wherever. It was a great experience but would have been even better if there were dedicated walk/bike lanes, and officially permitted campsites.