Going on holiday by rowing boat: How do climate ambassadors travel?

The renowned travel podcast ReisenReisen and myclimate have been working together since 2021. The goal: to raise awareness of sustainable and conscious travel. Now the cooperation has been extended by the two founders of Germany's best-known travel podcast, Jochen Schliemann and Michael Dietz, becoming climate ambassadors. In the interview, they tell us what they think about travel and climate protection.

In the future, they will also personally spread the word about sustainability and climate responsibility. With their podcast ReisenReisen, they already show how responsible travel is possible. On their website you can therefore find tips and facts like this: «Overtourism. 99 % of tourists visit 1 % of destinations like Paris, Barcelona or Bali! The environment, the country and the people suffer as a result. How can this imbalance be defused? With our podcast, we aim to do just that by presenting alternative destinations and talking about how to discover the classics in a new way and at different times of the year.»

But not only that. Together with myclimate, they calculate all the emissions their trips leave behind and finance climate protection projects from myclimate in the amount of those emissions. In this way, they not only help to avoid or save emissions, but also support the lives of local people. Because all myclimate climate protection projects contribute to the UN's sustainability goals. Tourism often secures an income for the local people, and the example of Costa Rica shows that this can also flow directly into local nature conservation efforts. But with a climate protection contribution for the trip, the positive effect can be amplified worldwide.

Let's ask climate ambassadors Jochen Schliemann and Michael Dietz themselves how they came to travel and what constitutes sustainable travel for them.  

What distinguishes your travel podcast?
Schliemann and Dietz: «You have to travel» is our motto: to experience a place with all your senses, to make up your own mind, to leave room for discovery, to be close to the local people and to yourself. Down-to-earth and cosmopolitan. You will find this philosophy in all our episodes.

How did you find each other as a team and how did you start travelling?
Schliemann and Dietz: We found each other through our passion for discovering the world with our own eyes and wanting to put everything we experience on our travels into words. We want to make people want to be on the road in a real and sustainable way. We came to travelling itself more or less naively. Michael on his first trip to Europe without parents, Jochen on a backpacker trip through Southeast Asia.

What makes «travelling» so special for you?
Schliemann and Dietz: To experience this fascinating world for yourself - and to understand and learn a lot in the process. There are so many ways of living, thinking, eating in the world - all of it is unique, worth discovering and protecting.

Many people can certainly understand these reasons. But travelling also produces emissions that are harmful to the climate. Does that concern you?
Schliemann and Dietz: It concerns us a lot, every day. Like so many problems of our time, we don't think there is only one right and one wrong here. Travelling is a cultural technique that is essential. Cultures meeting is important for understanding, peace and international understanding. We are looking for ways to continue this in harmony with climate protection.

How do you deal with this in practice?
Schliemann and Dietz: No flights, if at all possible, within Europe. Trains, bicycles, low-emission boats and buses are great and usually more pleasant. If we fly, then only for the longest possible stay on site and always: support climate protection projects in the amount of our emissions. And travelling sustainably also means: using local public transport, eating local food (no schnitzel buffet and Kölsch in Thailand!) and booking with local agencies and accommodation. This supports the economy, nature and local life.

Do you find some compromises difficult or do they even bring advantages?
Schliemann and Dietz: There are almost only advantages, much more than you think! Seeing the sunrise from the night train when arriving in Nice or Innsbruck? Eating regional street food in Asia? Talking to people of all origins on buses or trains? Seeing a landscape change as you travel? Arriving in the middle of cities instead of airport transfers? The list is endless... :)

You calculated your carbon footprint with myclimate and in return you support the climate protection project «Savings Groups Enable Women to Afford an Efficient Cook Stove in Kenya». Why did you choose this project?
Schliemann and Dietz: As important as issues like sustainability and feminism are to us: We are two white men from Central Europe's middle class. That this is no longer a privilege, that all people have equal opportunities, is something we have been working on since day 1 of this podcast. The circumstances in Kenya are difficult, especially for women. And when it comes to something as basic as food for families and people who have more serious problems than we do, donating is the least we can do.

Do you have any other tips for avoiding or reducing travel emissions that you would like to share?
Schliemann and Dietz: All of the above and above all the attitude: sustainable travel is not a sacrifice, it is a gain! You are closer to the places, the people, the nature and you protect all this for future generations.

The partnership between ReisenReisen and myclimate has been in place since 2021. As of today, you are also travelling as climate ambassadors. What does that mean?  
Schliemann and Dietz: In Germany, the word still feels strange, but it is one of the few things we are proud of. Doing something good with our work, namely not only discovering but protecting what we love most - this planet - is an honour. Be it through words in the podcast, thereby raising awareness, or through actions like with you, with myclimate.

In your new book «Reisen Reisen - Wie wir die Welt entdecken wollen» (Travelling - How we want to discover the world) you, Michael, write in a chapter about travelling by train and you, Jochen, about «Taxis to Bagan»: From donkey to car to ship: What is your favourite means of transport to get to your destination?
Schliemann and Dietz: Always the most appropriate, normal, sensible and common one. That's the beauty of real travel. Coming to terms with a place. Whether it's a donkey, snowshoes or a rowing boat. Anything that is sustainable and real. That also makes for the best stories, by the way, as the book and the podcast prove. :)


ou can always find the latest podcast episode on the ReisenReisen website. The newly published book «Reisen Reisen - Wie wir die Welt entdecken wollen», is available here.
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