Gaming Editor Louis Wright outlines the benefits of train travel, suggesting it provides a different and more immersive experience

Gaming Editor | ( ̶T̶e̶m̶p̶) Lead Developer | MA Film & Television Research & Production | BSc Computer Science | BurnFM Deputy Station Manager | Generally Epic

I am deathly afraid of heights. So afraid, in-fact, that I have not boarded a plane in 15 years. No amount of sleeping tablets will convince me to board either. Therefore, as a certified land-lover, I am well equipped to discuss the nature of travelling without use of aircraft, with the understanding that it is entirely achievable with the right conviction (or fear).

The fastest way to travel on land is by train. Truly the most magnificent development of the Industrial Revolution (admittedly not difficult, considering most alternatives involved child labour), the locomotive is an excellent way to get around without being airborne. With almost all areas of the UK easily accessible by train-line, this provides many destinations and options when travelling domestically. Despite some higher speed options costing significantly more, most trains are easily affordable, ensuring that a student lifestyle is accommodated.

The locomotive is an excellent way to get around

Travelling by train is not only limited to the UK either, as the entirety of Europe (and beyond) is accessible purely on rails. The Eurotunnel, as the name suggests, is a tunnel that connects the UK to France by taking a train beneath the English Channel, and is the premiere way to make it into Europe without flying if time is the concern. From France, Interrailing will allow for travel to every major country on the continent. With a singular pass allowing for unlimited travel within and between 33 different countries, it is the easiest way to explore many countries even if you have the ability to fly.

While the Eurotunnel is the quickest way to cross the channel without boarding a plane, it is not the only method across the ocean. Ferries from England to France are commonplace amongst the southern coast of the former and northern coast of the latter and provide an excellent way to voyage the well-ventured waters that divide the two countries. Travel by boat is the oldest form of travel that is still used in the modern day, and for good reason. While not necessarily the quickest way to get from point to point, it is reliable, sturdy, and provides a unique experience in the motion of the ocean.

In my many years of going to France (the consistent holiday getaway for my parents) growing up I have taken many ferries. All but one has been a pleasant experience, the on-board duty free shop that many ferries have is a great place to get cheap gifts for friends and family and Toblerones to keep you going on the voyage. The worst ferry experience I have had was when the rough waters rocked the boat nigh non-stop through the night, with the constant sound of vomiting keeping us awake in the cabin. Luckily we were unaffected and the experience still remains a pleasant memory for the time me and my father spent competing on Big Brain Academy on my DS (I won of course).

Travelling by other means produces many different experiences and stories

Ferries and trains are not the only methods of transportation, rather supplements to the primary form of transport for the majority of people, that being walking. Self-locomotion is what every person engages with in some form, the ability to move oneself around in a given space. Therefore, if possible, utilising this ability to travel to new locations can allow for more interesting and diverse transportation options. 

Walking to a destination presents the opportunity to encounter many things that otherwise would have been missed. The advantage of being close to the ground is that the minor details of the world can be picked up on with ease. Rewarding in many ways, walking, backpacking, hiking, hitchhiking, or one of the many other ways in which it is possible to reach a destination under one’s own power, is the most primal way of travelling without utilising a plane.

Planes are convenient. They are also massive producers of CO2 and genuinely terrifying. I say they should be avoided at all costs, and luckily this is very possible. Between all of the different options available, travelling by other means produces many different experiences and stories that would not be achievable otherwise.

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