Avoid Flight Shame And Embrace Train Bragging On Your Next Holiday

If you have been feeling flight shame about your last holiday, we have found seven fantastic train journeys that will give you full train bragging rights, as well as a new way to explore the world. 

The Alpen Express 

Make your next skiing holiday eco-friendly by taking the Alpen Express to the Austrian Alps. Departing from London or Amsterdam direct to the snow, this fantastic train journey offers spectacular views along the way. With luxury private cabins and spacious guest lounges, this train is more comfortable than any plane. Not to mention the fabulous bar carriage open late into the evening so you can join your friends for a drink along the way. 

The Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer train offers three unique rail routes from Vancouver through the Rocky Mountains. Travel in luxury while feasting your eyes on the changing vista out the window. You will be passing dramatic canyons, massive waterfalls, pristine lakes and stunning mountains as you meander gently across the land. The service includes breakfast and lunch, spacious seating and hosts who will share stories and history of the Rocky Mountains. This train ride also offers plenty of Instagram-able photos opportunities through the large glass-dome windows providing unobstructed views. #trainbragging

Venice Simplon Orient Express

If you are looking for the ultimate in luxury train travel, you cannot go past the Orient Express. This classic train journey now travels from London to Paris or Venice. Travel in style in the original sleeping cars of the 1920s and 30s Orient Express. This iconic train also offers three dining cars and an elegant bar car where you can enjoy champagne while listening to the resident pianist playing on a baby grand piano. A trip on the Orient Express is not just travelling: it is a grand voyage into another world of luxury.

The Caledonian Sleeper

The Caledonian Sleeper is one of the most civilised ways to travel between London and the Scottish highlands. Relax onboard in sumptuous private cabins or head to the Club car to dine with friends before reclining in the large guest lounges. With no airport queues or concerns about excess baggage, this is the way to travel.

Palace on Wheels 

A journey on the Palace on Wheels is an exploration of the wonder of India. Travelling over eight days this train completes a circuit from New Delhi across Jaipur, Jodhpur, Agra and Bhrartpur, before arriving back in New Delhi. With all the luxury of a royal palace, this journey promises you will experience India like a King!

Rovos Railway to Victoria Falls

This luxury railway journey to the magnificent Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is a bespoke train safari into another world. Travel in style through the Hwange National Park spotting diverse wild animals out the windows. This three-day journey through the heart of Africa allows you to combine magnificent scenery with the glamour and excitement of the golden age of leisure travel. 

The Ghan

Travel through the heart of Australia on the famous Ghan Train. This journey starts on one coast in Darwin, travelling through the middle of the country to arrive on the southern coast in Adelaide. This three-day journey is a unique way to experience Australia. Witness the changing landscape of this rugged, beautiful and spectacular country as you journey through the red centre of the Australian outback. And, have plenty of fantastic photos for your train bragging posts.

By taking the train, we can experience more of the beauty of this world at a slower pace and a closer range. We really need to thank the flight shamers for reminding us of the joy of taking a train. For it is a whole new world of travel we may otherwise have missed. We are ready to jump aboard the Train Bragging trend. 

It’s not getting from A to B. It’s not the beginning or the destination that counts. It’s the ride in between…

David Baldacci

Our Eco-Bucket List For A Greener 2020

Now is the best time to start the new year off with some excellent, good for the planet, intentions. We have eleven ideas to help you get started on an eco-bucket list for 2020.

1. Ditch the one-use plastic

Now is the time to go all out and load up on reusable shopping bags, reusable takeaway coffee cups, paper straws and more. Every piece of plastic you avoid using is one less piece of plastic polluting our planet.

2. Take the train

Whenever you can, book a train ride instead of a plane this year. Not only are you saving the planet from more unnecessary carbon emissions, but you also get to explore the world from a different perceptive out the window of a train. 

3. Build a sustainable wardrobe

Give yourself a new look this year by investing in a sustainable new look. Choose ethically made clothes from brands you trust. By ditching the fast fashion pieces for clothes that are made to last, and are made with minimal impact on our planet, you can look great and feel great about your choice. 

4. March for the Climate

Join a climate march this year and make a stand for the future of our planet.  

5. Switch to renewable energy

Consider changing your energy supplier to one that provides green energy from renewable sources. Alternatively, investigate the option to install solar panels and produce your own electricity from our ultimate renewable resource – the sun. 

6. Get on your bike

Make it a goal on your eco-bucket list to walk or bike to any destination within a few miles/kilometres from your home. Not only is this better for the local environment, but it is also fantastic for your health. 

7. Grow a garden for the bees

Bees are crucial pollinators who are having a hard time surviving in our changing world. Help them out and encourage them into your garden by avoiding the use of pesticides, having water available in the garden, and keeping plants such as lavender, honeysuckle and foxgloves.

8. Learn how to cook fantastic vegan or vegetarian dishes

By removing meat from some of your meals, you can reduce your environmental footprint by a significant amount. Try out some new recipes, invite some friends over and enjoy a change!

9. Start buying local and organic produce

Find out where to buy produce from local growers, by visiting their farm or their stall at a farmer’s market. Learn more about what fruit and vegetables are in season and plan your meals accordingly. Buying local seasonal fruit and vegetables reduces the distance our food must travel and there-by the carbon footprint of our food. As a bonus, local and organic produce is often much fresher and higher in nutritional value. 

10. Visit a national park

National parks are unique places set aside by our governments to ensure the protection of vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems. Support these national parks by visiting and learning more about your nation’s land and wildlife. 

11. Book a holiday off the beaten track

Skip the most obvious tourist spots that are drowning in tourists and find a new location to explore. Stay in a locally family-owned b&b, eat at a locally-run restaurant and take a tour with people who grew up in the area. This way, you will get to know the local culture resulting in a more authentic and enriching experience rather than feeling like just another tourist. 

2020, the beginning of a new decade, is an excellent time to start thinking more about the impact our lifestyles have on the planet. While having an eco-bucket list of eco-intentions is a step in the right direction, acting on these intentions is the crucial step. By turning these intentions into actions, together we can make a giant leap forward for the health of our planet this decade. 

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. 

– Chinese proverb

Responding Not Reacting – How To Deal With Criticism Like A Stoic

One of the downsides of living in a world that is more connected is that there is little or no buffer of time or space to soften online criticism. We are in the habit of instantly responding to messages, posts or news with the first thought that comes to mind. We feel pressured to react and do not pause for reflection before we write. 

As we become more connected, we have become more critical of each other. We give criticism to people we don’t even know, as though it is our right to do so. We do it instantly, without thought, without pause. All this criticism creates massive amounts of data flowing around our online worlds. Worse, it also creates massive amounts of hurt and anxiety among those on the receiving end. One only needs to scroll to the comments on a few news articles or an Instagram post to find examples of unsolicited advice and criticism of the writer.  

Unfortunately, criticism is now part of our daily lives, and there is no way to put this genie back in a bottle. While we may not like this, we can learn ways to cope better with it. The stoic premise that we cannot control external events; we can only control ourselves and our responses, is extremely helpful when dealing with criticism. Here are some of the key points we can learn from this approach.

Consider the Motives

When we are on the receiving end of some sharp criticism, it can help to consider the motives of the person giving it. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they want to hurt you or put you down. Perhaps the person letting you know this concern cares about you and actually wants to help. There can be a hundred positive reasons that someone is sharing criticism of you or your work, so how about keeping in mind the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty, and assume the best, instead of the worst. This way you can respond from thoughtfulness and understanding, which is far more productive than responding from a place of anger and hurt. 

Respond With Care

Criticism, from anyone, feels like an attack. Remember this when you are tempted to dish out some criticism online. When we receive criticism, our natural response is to get defensive. This natural defense can cause us to respond in ways that we would not normally do. We step into the mode of defending ourselves or our work. Before you respond to criticism, pause and consider all the options. Take time to respond instead of instantly reacting. Reacting relies on reflex, using our fight or flight tendencies. There is no need to react on reflex to an online comment. A slow and mindful reply is the most powerful way to respond. Detach yourself from the reaction, take a deep breath, consider the motive of the critic, and then formulate a response. If you can respond carefully, with kindness and understanding, you may turn a critic into a fan, avoid an argument or save a friendship. 

Ignore The Distractions

Don’t be influenced by critics. There comes a point when we must learn to stop caring about what others think or say about us. Don’t be distracted by others, especially if the criticism is not sincere or appropriate. Ask yourself if there is any point engaging with someone who is only trying to put you down. Consider the possibility that you are not obliged to respond at all. Many times the best response is none at all. Getting involved in a pointless argument or trying to explain your point is likely to be a big waste of your time. Let it go, move on and focus on the important stuff. As in the famous quote “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” (Bernard Baruch).

To Err is Human

Our final suggestion for dealing with criticism is to accept that we are all flawed. None of us are perfect or infallible. Understanding this can help us be more balanced in how we receive criticism. Criticism can often come from a misunderstanding of our message. Instead of seeing the critiquer as in the wrong, understand that perhaps your message is not clear enough and is being misunderstood. Being mindful of the message we are sending, and ensuring it is clear can avoid such misunderstandings. 

When we start to deal with criticism in a mindful manner with compassion and kindness, we can do our part to reduce the harm of wild thoughtless criticism that wastes everybody’s time and energy. Let’s instead use our time and energy to focus on creating, learning and building a better world. 

As an antidote to battle unkindness we were given kindness  

Marcus Aurelius

Is This The Decade We Finally Quit Fast Fashion?

The last decade has been a time of increasing awareness of what we put in our bodies. We have woken up to the fact that many mass-produced fast foods and drinks are simply junk to our bodies. We hope that in this next decade, we will, likewise, wake up to the harm that fast fashion is causing. 

To begin with, we think it is time we started to see fast fashion as the clothing equivalent of junk food. The Fast fashion industry pumps out junk clothing like McDonald’s churns out hamburgers. Fast fashion provides the means for us to fill our wardrobes with cheap clothing that promises to fulfil our desire to be fashionable. Much of this ‘junk clothing’ is made of cheaply produced material that is high in plastic and toxins. There is nothing of lasting value in these clothes, and our addiction to buying them is not sustainable or good for us or the planet. Therefore, isn’t it time we quit fast fashion for good?

Junk Fashion

Like junk food advertising, fast fashion advertising makes us crave their products by selling us on the idea that we need them. Fast fashion advertising has perfected the art of creating a desire for new clothing with each new fashion season. Fast fashion brands then meet this imaginary need with an endless supply of cheap, easy to buy clothing. In this way, the Fast fashion industry gets us addicted to buying junk clothing that gives little satisfaction past the initial rush of pleasure at purchase. 

Fast fashion trends are decided by the big brands who have the marketing budget to ensure that consumers buy whatever they happen to have in stock that season. In this way the large fashion brands dictate what we wear, similar to how McDonalds or Burger King decided on the portion size of our junk food and drinks. Fashion should be an exciting adventure of discovering something a bit different to what everyone else has, instead of what is trending on Instagram. 

The Cost To The Planet

While the fashion trends promoted by fast fashion brands are fleeting, the impact of our addiction to junk clothes lingers far longer. Our landfills are filling up with unwanted, almost new clothing. According to the EPA, the primary source of textiles in municipal solid waste (MSW) is discarded clothing; 16.9 million tons in 2017 alone. Worse, as many clothes are cheaply produced using synthetics derived from fossil fuels, they do not decay. Meaning mountains of unwanted clothing that is going to hang around our planet for a very long time. 

Fast fashion brands make clothes with cheap fabrics that are only good to wear a few times. This strategy keeps production costs low and ensures consumers will need to buy more clothes as they wear out continually. The cheaply produced synthetic fabric slowly falls apart when washed, releasing microplastics into the water. These tiny particles of plastic make their way into our oceans and rivers, spreading plastic to the deepest parts of the oceans and the highest glacier peaks slowly poisoning our planet and all who live on it.

Junk clothing pollution is not limited to the microplastics that pollute the water. In order to ensure the latest on-trend colours, manufacturers often use toxic textile dyes which also flows into waterways, poisoning them. The fashion industry is now one of the world’s largest polluters of water. 

The Human Cost

Our addiction to fast fashion also comes at a substantial human cost. In order to keep prices low, fast fashion brands choose to use factories in developing nations, where garment workers work in dangerous working environments, for low wages and without fundamental human rights. These garment workers suffer daily for our insatiable demand for junk clothing in many ways, including working with toxic chemical dyes that have devastating impacts on their physical and mental health.

It is not only humans suffering from our addiction to junk clothing. High demand for animal products such as leather and fur, mean animal welfare is often ignored in the endless pursuit of fashion. A recent scandal highlighted that some faux fur produced in China might, in fact, be real cat fur. The factories supplying the ‘faux fur’ had made a commercial decision to use real fur as the cost was much cheaper than making faux fur.

The impacts of our addiction to junk clothing are hard to ignore. Therefore, we hope this will be the decade that we finally see how harmful fast fashion is for us and the planet. We think 2020 is the time to ditch the junk clothing addiction for good. 

“Fashion fades, style is eternal.”

Yves Saint Laurent