Non-flying Dutchman travels to Dubai by land and sea in the name of ecotourism


A trip from Amsterdam to Dubai becomes slightly more difficult during a global pandemic – but when you remove the option to fly, it becomes an epic adventure of Phileas Fogg’s proportions.

Dutchman Wiebe Wakker is a self-proclaimed sustainable adventurer and has a form in promoting ecotourism.

It wouldn’t have made sense to fly to the United Arab Emirates to make a speech on sustainable mobility

Wiebe Wakker, eco-adventurer

Three years ago he made a 100,000 kilometer journey from Holland to Australia, crossing 34 countries in 1,222 days without using a single drop of fuel.

Mr Wakker’s trip was powered by an electric vehicle – a four-door estate named Blue Bandit – and was scheduled to speak about his experiences at the Dutch pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on January 20.

This event has since been canceled, but it will continue its trip to the United Arab Emirates with a conference scheduled at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on January 18.

He hopes to inspire others and encourage greater use of sustainable transport.

“I relied on the generosity of strangers to help me eat and recharge my vehicle on my trip to Australia, and I blogged about my trip for about three years,” said Mr Wakker, 35 years old, who is single and began his adventures after graduating. from the University of the Arts in Utrecht.

“Now in my life, I try to live with a low carbon footprint, especially when traveling.

“I wanted to take this trip to Dubai to show what can be done and reduce my footprint.

“It wouldn’t have made sense to fly to the United Arab Emirates to make a speech on sustainable mobility.”

Dubai trip

Departing from Amsterdam in his home country, Mr Wakker has so far traveled by train across Europe, stopping in Vienna and Bucharest en route to Istanbul.

He will then travel by train to Erzurum in Turkey before entering Iran, in the direction of Tabriz.

His journey will take him to Tehran before crossing Iran to the port of Bandar Abbas, where he plans to take a ferry to the United Arab Emirates.

Thousands of people supported Mr Wakker on his trip to Australia, providing charging stations for his vehicle, accommodation and food.

The Dutchman tweeted about his trip with updates on his progress, in exchange for tips and advice along the way from his social media followers.

According to his calculations, travel by land and sea will emit less than half of the flight’s carbon emissions – around 450 kilograms of CO2 compared to around 1,100 kg if it had flown.

The trip will pass through nine countries and it is scheduled to arrive in Dubai on January 12.

“I understand that it is not an efficient way to travel, with 10 days on site and 10 days back for a speech, but it is more a symbolic gesture to show the impact on the climate for traveling”, a Mr Wakker said.

“I hope I can show that you don’t have to fly to enjoy new adventures.

“I wear my mask all the time, but in some cities, like Istanbul, not many people wear it.

“The worst thing for me now would be to catch Covid.”

The highlights so far have been stunning scenery in Transylvania as it passes through Romania and the food of Istanbul.

But being without food for 20 hours on a leg of the trip and a 10-hour bus trip in Bulgaria and Turkey were rare weak spots.

Travel costs for the trip will be approximately € 370 ($ 418) for all trains, buses and ferry crossings.

The further east it has traveled, the cheaper it is to travel with a 1,500 km and 22 hour train ride through Turkey for less than € 4.

Most nights will be spent on trains in sleeper cabins, with only three nights spent in hostels or hotels when not able to travel overnight.

Borders with Iran are closed due to the pandemic but are expected to reopen on January 9.

Any delay and its plans will be changed – travel from Turkey to Kurdish Iraq, then to Erbil and Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

“To enter Iran and the United Arab Emirates, I have to provide negative PCR tests, so I have to be careful,” Mr Wakker said.

“The train from Budapest to Bucharest was amazing with beautiful scenery.

“Watching the landscape gradually change with the culture is the best part of a slow trip like this.

“I hope my trip can inspire others to think about more sustainable trips.”

Updated: January 8, 2022 9:58 am


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