We love to travel. We want to see the world… this beautiful, vast planet of ours, in the little vacation time we may have.
But how much do we really see when we’re traveling?
We hear of all the places we should go and we don’t want to miss out. All the landmarks are a 'must see', so we plan, we schedule, we abide by timetables. Our trip is filled with arrivals and departures rather than deeply memorable moments. If you think about it, how different is this from our rushed, daily lives?
Maybe productivity needs to take a back seat for a bit. Slow, more mindful travel may be just what the doctor ordered.
What Is Slow Travel?
Slow travel is just as it sounds. It’s the process of slowing down and being more mindful of our travel experiences. Rather than rushing from place to place to get all the 'sights' in, slow travel involves relishing each moment and being fully present with our surroundings.
We may see fewer places, but we will more fully experience the places we visit.
It's just like the slow food movement. When we cook with care, using raw, whole foods (or enjoy a slow cooked meal prepared by our hosts) and practice mindful eating we more fully enjoy the true flavors. We understand more about the creation of the dish, the local culture, and enjoy it at a whole new level. With slow travel, we take in more of the sights and sounds. We enjoy the company of those around us. We connect. It’s possible to gain an experience that may have been missed otherwise.
What’s Involved in Slow Travel?
Everything connected to your travel experience is involved in slow travel. When booking accommodation, don’t just pick the cheapest place you find online. Take time to learn more about the unique qualities of an establishment, the people who run and own the business, and how much they celebrate the local culture. Find a place with a kind, inviting atmosphere.
And rather than referring to guidebooks that primarily reference major attractions, why not play it by ear? Get advice from your knowledgeable hosts. Play! It’s a bit more adventurous but you may just find some lovely gems, off the beaten path!
Slow travel means learning more about local traditions and the natural environment. You experience the authenticity of a place. History, legends, and lore are shared throughout your stay... You find the rhythm of a place. You become a part of that place.
What are the Results of Slow Travel?
Ultimately, you'll have a more fulfilling, memorable experience. You'll feel you gained more for your money (with less stress). Slow travel can take on an even deeper meaning, becoming a transformative experience. You may find that slow travel changes your life for the better, bringing you more peace, more enlightenment, and a greater understanding of yourself and others. After all, travel is about more than landmarks and photographs, it's about how we truly experience the beauty of our world.