The Gold Card is tarnished: 2008's Travel in Review
It's that time of year, where the big annual learning log gets taken out, and I can see whether I did what I set out to do, and work out what lies ahead. The first part of this process is easiest, and is often the part that leaves the most memories of good times had and new friends made: where have I been this year and how much carbon do I have to pay for before the taxman gets his hands on the rest?
I was on at the back of the plane last week, seat 23C offering the most legroom and proximity to the kitchens, and had trouble explaining why, as a Gold Card holder, I was stuck in the back with my breakfast panini instead of tucking into the English breakfast out front. Having quickly totted up the first learning log of 2008 - travel - I can see why a little better. In 2008 I've traveled over a third more, totaling some 81,887 miles, compared to just of 50,000 miles last year.
This is worrying. In an age where technology should be eliminating the need for travel I think one can come to only one conclusion: it's making some of us travel far more. The big carbon trips this year were to the States, India and China. The new regular Monday commute to London and back in a day is also beginning to make a bite into my carbon footprint, which this year on work trips alone is hitting above 17,000 kg.
But thankfully, in the new job, that footprint should fall to a quarter of what is has been this year at worst. I'm looking forward to more time in my own bed, my own home. My family might not be joining me in meeting some extraordinary people in some memorable places, but we'll be OK. And the planet we leave behind will be a few tons of CO2 better off for it.