x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The Idle Traveller: heeding the call of the open road, without flying

Dan Kieran insists the modern advances in transport have the effect of insulating us from the world and we’ll see and experience more if we take the train or walk.

The Idle Traveller by Dan Kieran
The Idle Traveller by Dan Kieran

Dan Kieran is a travel writer with a difference: he refuses to fly. Explaining, and celebrating, the reasons why form the basis of this book.

At heart, he says the modern advances in transport have the effect of insulating us from the world and we’ll see and experience more if we take the train instead of the plane and walk where we might otherwise have driven.

And this may be true in principle but, in practice, it would mean Britons like Kieran will endlessly repeat the same train journeys through western
Europe on their way to more exotic places, at the expense of time that could have been spent appreciating a genuinely different environment.

And his arguments founder somewhat on excessive oversimplification in which all “fast” tourists are little more than guidebook-following automatons – an extension of the perpetual “they’re tourists but I’m a traveller” snobbery that has always existed in the travel
community. Only towards the end of this discursive treatise does Kieran make the very salient point that he’s scared of flying.