What’s slow travel and why you should try it

Brace yourselves.. a new trend is coming.

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Since travelers are human beings (and not mysterious creatures as we’d like to believe), we too are affected by fashion and what’s the most fashionable fashion of fashionable travel? Slow travel.

What? No, I’m not referring to being stuck in traffic. Let me explain. Nope, it doesn’t mean something like “walk or die” either.

Nowadays books, films, articles, people are obsessed with slow travel, so let me unravel the mysterious phenomenon behind this expression and tell you how to get the best out of it – without turning it to a mass product.

In a world where everything must follow utilitarian methods and economic reasoning – namely where everything must be quick, low-budget and yet as luxurious as possible-, slow travelling, as the name suggests, aims to decelerate life’s rhythm to a more human pace and make people choose experiences over sights, relationships over souvenirs and real memories over never ending selfies.

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{ This said, of course I don’t mean that if you’re in London you shouldn’t visit Buckingham Palace, have a selfie with a Queen’s guard and buy a t-shirt with some massive I LOVE LONDON writing. That’s legitimate, obviously, but it’s the value attributed to things and the way of thinking that’s totally different.}

First of all, when travelling slow you aren’t usually on a weekend-long vacation, therefore you shouldn’t feel the anxiety deriving from the irrational need to visit all the must-sees and complete all the must-dos. Slow travelers tend to be long-term travelers who are willing to work in the chosen place, living like locals and getting to know the city as one of them.

And how do you do that?

On one hand, avoid staying in hotels or hostels: even though spending your time with other travelers will be crazy and fun with lots of partying, wandering and sharing experiences, what you won’t experience is the country you’re visiting. In order to prevent this,try Couchsurfing, Homestay, Airbnb or housesitting and by doing so stay with locals! If you’re not ready yet, why not use something like meetlocals to be involved with locals? You’ll get the best guides, find places off the beaten path and have a glimpse of how real life is there.

Try not to stay with your friends, companion or just by youself, go out instead and meet people! Don’t worry about eating alone in a restaurant, enjoy your meal and look around, have a bit of peoplewatching, “watch the wheels go round and rooound”.

If you’re in Laos, don’t look for McDonalds’, try local food instead: you’ll eat healthier, know more about the local culture and probably meet some people instead of mingling among tourists in your comfort-zone with your “happy” meal.

Don’t rush, whenever possible choose the slower transport over the quickest, especially if public. In this way, you’ll see more not in terms of sightseeing, rather of life-seeing. You’ll have the chance to loook at daily routines, see landscapes changing around you and ,why not, look at others spinning around from an outer perspective.

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{I love walking. I truly and deeply do. It stimulates thinking and seeing things in a new perspective. One of the first things I noticed when I started my walks is that everyone – seen from the outside -looks like a purposeless automaton in our so beloved cars.}

Learn the language and the culture, join local activities and try to become a part of the community,  have a place and friends to go back to one day.

So.. final conclusions: why should anyone try slow travelling?

1- You’ll feel better, getting rid of tourist pressure and acquiring a more human rhythm.

2- It’s a chance to step out of your comfort zone and grow.

3- You’ll learn TONS of things you wouldn’t even have considered.

4- By getting in real touch with the culture, yours won’t be a superficial holiday, you’ll now where you’ve been,  both the pros and construction of the place.

5- Relationships, that’s one of the main reasons you travel. The people you meet and the bonds created.

6- Save money. Haven’t I mentioned it yet? Slow travel is FAR more cheaper than average travel, because you basically move your life elsewhere.

7- It’s environment friendly: less flights and private transport, respect towards the city and people you’re visiting.

 

Images from www.lovethispic.com, starrynight-sky26.tumblr.com, tumblr, rebloggy.co 

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15 Replies to “What’s slow travel and why you should try it”

  1. Really *experiencing* a place makes makes the whole difference. I spent two months in Colombia 2 years ago, just letting the experience sink in. It was beautiful, and now that I’m back in the stress-do-everything-in-one-second-and-more mode, I really miss it.

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  2. Wow, that was really an eye-opener, but in a way I totally agree with you. Personally, I would have problems with accomplishing all of that, even though I believe the end result is amazing. As they say: life is a climb, but the view is great.
    Thank you for that.

    Mi piace

  3. I agree that slow travel makes you get the most out of the places by connecting with the people and get to know the local culture, and you are more relaxed and becomes more flexible. I used to cram the must-see places according to the guide book and other people’s recommendations, and I was wearing out and not to say that I barely keep up with my own pace. Now I try to go slow. It is great to take time and really get to know a place than just rush through a number of destinations in a short space.

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