I grew up with an atlas on the wall. A globe on the shelf. Friends that travelled, stories from safari’snin Zimbabwe, friends that passed through the Berlin wall, Māori hunting weapons hung in hallways. Geography was my favourite lesson, an atlas always held much mystic to me I spent hours pouring over pages held within.
Yet as kids we never left the British isles. I was 18 when I first got on a plane, gripping my armrest tightly all the way to Fuerteventura, I felt like Shackleton on his way to Antarctica.
Sixteen years later and I’ve lost count of the places I’ve been, I dread to think of my own CO2 footprint. Fergal Smith who I stayed with in Ireland has just stopped all air travel for those reasons, a tough decision for a pro-surfer who’s livelihood depends on sponsors who pay you to chase swells across the globe. He’s looking at buying a new boat, whilst I’m there, and talking about a train trip across Europe and Russia. I get the feeling for Fergal his shutting of the aeroplane door is the opening of many even more exciting ones.