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University Travel Week: Simon walks his way to a new life

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Published on 19, March, 2024

University of Sunderland City Campus
University of Sunderland City Campus

University of Sunderland student Simon Forster thought very little about travel until a health crisis forced him to rethink his whole life.

Simon, a BA Journalism student, is sharing his story as the University celebrates all forms of sustainable travel as part of our annual University Travel Week (18-22 March).

“Between my foundation year at university and first year studying Journalism, I suffered a heart attack which had a massive impact on my everyday life,” says Simon, from Sunderland. 

“Before the heart attack it was simple. I just jumped in the car and went. 

“Now I have started living a minimal lifestyle to assist with my health and my carbon footprint, never has it been more important for every individual to play their part.

“About the same time the Cost of Living Crisis happened, and it wasn’t viable to own two cars, so I gave up mine. I looked at our carbon footprint, and I began saving money.”

Simon admits to finding the thought of living without a car very daunting at first. 

“I researched the different ways I could reduce my carbon footprint, my costs, and how I could gain a healthier regime.

“I still need to exercise, and my new options are all perfect for me, incorporating everything I love, travel, exercise, and getting to University quickly and safely.

“Firstly, I looked at University-provided transport, this was very easy and most of all convenient, there are two services provided and you are saving money, its free, you are protecting the environment, whilst reducing your carbon footprint, making friends on your journeys, which helps greatly when you have had an exhausting day in classes.

“If you are in the city and decide on alternative transport, a change of scenery, a Metro train service runs direct from Sunderland to St Peter's Campus, you do however have to pay, and walk from the station to the campus, but on wintery days, a charming way to travel, I think.

“For days when things are just too much with the weather I use Station Taxis in Sunderland, the most reliable service for getting across the city in a hurry, drivers friendly, the cars always clean, and for convenience, drivers take cards to avoid carrying cash.

Student's Union provide an amazing feature. I like to call them, ‘away days’ You know when you get tired of your surroundings. Need some time away. But concerned about cost. This is a great travel feature that costs so little, they provide transport to some great destinations in the UK, and it’s a mini break away. Places are limited so book well in advance. Well, check out this exciting link to access travel to different cities in the UK, you’ll be glad you did. And yes, you’ll meet some new friends too. 

“As were now approaching spring, the nights are becoming lighter and the weather warmer, I will be taking additional walks to University as I live in Ashbrooke, it’s a thirty-minute walk on a good day and it’s a great form of exercise.

“And what I saved getting rid of my car is paying for a holiday to Mexico in December 2024.”