Three years ago, “Castle” star Stana Katic started the Alternative Travel Project (ATP) after experiencing some feelings of isolation in the car-centric city of Los Angeles, where the mystery show is filmed.
The project is a global initiative that tries to encourage people all over the world to go car free for just one day, something the actress does herself regularly.
According to the project’s website, “ATP focuses efforts on creating a worldwide community of people looking to enjoy the social, health and environmental benefits gotten by traveling alternatively (bike, pedestrian, public transit, & new technology travel).”
OTRC.com talked to Katic about the project and the two even rode bikes together. You can check out video of the interview and bike ride above.
Check out what else Katic had to say about ATP and how her “Castle” co-stars are taking on the initiative.
OTRC: Tell us about how this all came up as an idea for you and everything with the Alternative Travel Project.
Stana Katic: “Yes. It started off as an idea because I … when I first moved to Los Angeles — Los Angeles is a very, kind of car-centric city — I was surprised to how isolated I felt and the reason that that was happening was because I was stuck a lot of time in the bubble of my car. Whereas my experience in a lot of other cities was one in which you were exposed to the heart beat of the city because the transit system took you in and out of a number of different communities or centers, city centers, and it was easy to meet people because of that, because you’re constantly engaging with people. In some ways I feel like that’s why New Yorkers are so gregarious is because they’re constantly engaging with other people.”
“So, as I was travelling around Los Angeles, I thought to myself, when and if I have the opportunity to have an outreach to people, I’d like to try to change that. I’d like to be more respectful of my environment and engage with the community that I’m living in more.”
“So three years ago I decided to give up my car. Go car free for seven days in a month and one of my co-stars joined in, Seamus Dever, and it started there and we just volunteered these days without a car and people across the globe joined in and it’s been pretty special. There’s been some really neat stories since then.”
Did anyone think you were crazy when you first decided to do this?
“You know what’s funny is the production, ’cause we were filming at that time, production was nervous and I had to get on the phone with producers because they were concerned that I would be riding my bicycle down to San Pedro. We had a filming day in San Pedro [laughs] and they were wondering how that was going to happen and if I was going to be riding my bicycle on the highway and things like that. But I spoke with [series creator] Andrew Marlowe, I spoke to [executive producer] Laurie Zaks — I think those were the two producers on the phone that day — and after they heard what it was about, they were tremendously supportive and just very excited about it and the project and the intention behind the project.”
“Andrew had his own experience living without a car in Los Angeles for a long while and so I think that he is very environmentally conscious as well and respectful and so I think that that was something that he could stand behind, Laurie as well, so that was quite sweet.”
Now Earth Day is coming up. Do you get excited when it comes around?
“Well of course, yeah.”
Why is it so important?
“I think it just … it re-emphasizes that, or maybe brings to mind globally, the idea of being careful and respectful of the world that we live on and finding ways of integrating healthy lifestyles and a healthy experience and creating a space in which the future can exist in that kind of healthy atmosphere.”
What is your message to fans about that day? Do you encourage them to do something? Do you want them to try going without a car on that day? What’s your message?
“Well I think the tagline for ATP is go car free for just one day and if you just dedicate at least one day, that’s huge. There’s a huge impact. If everyone just dedicated one day without a car there would be a really huge impact for us as a community and for the environment in general.”
Meeting people on the bus, that’s what we’re meant to do as humans.
“Yeah, socialize, congregate, create a sense of community. The transit system in a city…cities have been in existence, I remember listening to this guy speak, cities have been in existence way longer than the car has. So, creating a city that can exist without just car travel is really important and to the actual fiber of that city.”
“So I think that this city in specific has to rethink some of our travelling set up and we have to be a part of generating that same thought pattern for developing countries and cities and also for other metropolitan areas. And we’re a part of creating kind of a culture because we are the ones that put movies out there, we’re the ones that put entertainment on television, all sorts of kind of imagery.”
“So, if we are a part of that messaging system and service, then I think we have a really wonderful opportunity here to create a message that is going to positively affect our planet, our future community. Just a global community even, you know, not just like ‘Oh I live in the U.S., I’m part of the U.S. community’ or ‘I live in Argentina, I live in the Argentinean community.’”
“It’s a global thing too. Yeah, I think this is a great place for it to start and I’ve seen in reverberate internationally and it’s just a matter of giving up using a car regularly and choosing something different at least once a week, you know?”
And I see it on your set because we just saw Nathan [Fillion] on an electric scooter, zipping along.
“Yes, yes, and it’s really exciting actually because he’s also made an effort to explore alternative kind of methods of travel through new technologies. As have some of the other co-stars and Seamus rides his bike to work often so, and that’s had its affects on other people too. Makeup artists have ridden their bikes to work. Some of the assistants and P.A.’s, even one of our assistant directors rides his bike to work regularly from an hour away.”
“Yeah, it’s really impressive and it’s much more fun, isn’t it?”
Be sure to check out more information on The Alternative Travel Project here.