Why I Travel Low Carbon: The Detour Odyssey Story

Redefining travel: an obvious challenge

How I rethought my relationship with travel

My awareness and first step toward change began a few years ago when I was living in the United States.

At that time, I had never done my carbon footprint estimation. The term was only vaguely used in the American media context. The subject was not much covered at the time with the Trump campaign and presidency.

My daily life, particularly in terms of travel, was not a model of sobriety. I did almost all my daily commuting by car (difficult to do otherwise in many cases in the United States), and I flew at least twice a month for long-distance for work and meetings. I also traveled a lot to discover new things, both in the US and abroad on the whole continent.

It was during this period that I made one of my most beautiful trips. But it was also the trip that had the greatest impact on me and sowed the seeds of my awareness. The first step towards low-carbon travel.

Image of the Wrangell St Elias glacier in Alaska marked by global warming

Photo: Wrangell St Elias National Park (Alaska)

What impact does this have on my trips?

In 2018, I made a wonderful trip to Alaska. An incredible region that amazed me with its natural beauty. But I’ve also witnessed the consequences of climate change, as illustrated by the image above of a glacier in Wrangell-St Elias National Park.

Talking to my guide and listening to the locals, I realized that these changes were accelerating, and that they were observing them on the scale of their lives. Further research revealed that Alaska is one of the regions of the world warming twice as fast as the global average. Tourism and its impact were beginning to appear in this question. It was at this point that I began to wonder if I was contributing to “destroying” the very thing I marveled at.

A year later, I moved back to France and carried out my first carbon footprint calculation. The orders of magnitude became concrete, and travel was the dimension in my life that was at first becoming incompatible with my growing ecological awareness and concern for the planet.

Reconciling travel and low impact

Traveller holding a compass in his hand

Before, I didn’t think about the environmental impact of flying or the overall impact of a trip. Now I’m aware of its negative impact, just like the impact of eating too much meat or not paying attention to energy consumption.

But I don’t want to give up on discovering other countries and cultures. So today, I want to do it without spoiling the planet and as respectfully as possible.

For the past three years, I’ve been rethinking my perspective around travelling. I place less emphasis on the destination and more on the route itself. I live the journey as an adventure, taking into account where I go, where I sleep, where I eat and what I do along the way. I try to minimize my impact to explore responsibly without putting aside the pleasure of discovering new things.

Today, we can no longer close our eyes to the climate emergency. We need to make profound changes in our lives and our models. But change doesn’t necessarily mean giving up, it can sometimes mean experiencing something different.

A low-carbon trip….step by step

Imagine a journey where discovery happens along the way, where you take your time to appreciate every moment.

An itinerant journey where the choice of means of transport, accommodation and catering is carefully thought out to promote a sustainable model that respects our resources.

A low-carbon trip with minimal impact.

That’s the whole idea behind Detour Odyssey. A more positive but equally exciting way to travel, with the aim of making the experience easier for as many people as possible.

Discover the concept and contact us for more information on how to simplify your low-carbon journey.