What exactly IS slow travel?


I’ve always been slow. I like to take my time. I’m always last to finish my meal. I takePicture long showers. I’m a slow reader and a slow test-taker. I always spent hours longer on homework than my friends did. I like a long, slow cool down after my workout. It’s just my preferred speed. Now, having said all that, it shouldn’t surprise you that I like to travel slowly as well.

But what exactly is slow-travel?

I’ll start with what slow travel is not. It’s not a month-long backpacking trip through the entirety of Southeast Asia. Nor is it a ‘Euro-trip’ jetting around to 10 cities in 2 weeks, or even 20 weeks. These types of trips are whirlwinds filled with chaos and excitement.

There’s nothing wrong with a whirlwind, depending on what the goal of your travels is and how much time you give yourself. I’ve found that something is missing when I’ve traveled this way, and I’m not the only one! Countless sleepless nights and not enough time in every place you go just doesn’t work for me. I’ve definitely tried it this way and I haven’t but scratched the surface those places. As I continue to discover my own identity as a traveler, I’ve found that I’d rather spend two weeks in one city and really get to know it and appreciate it. Would you rather get to know one person really well or just quickly meet ten different people? Every new place you visit has its own personality and if you breeze through you’ll miss out on what often times is an incredibly interesting individual.


Dive into the language fearlessly

The pull of seeing a lot of places is definitely a strong one… “so much to see, so little time!” However sometimes people go to see things just because they feel like they should. “I can’t go to Milan and not see I used to do that and still have that internal battle with myself at times. I stopped going out of my way to make it to churches and cathedrals in Europe because I stopped enjoying visiting them. I stopped waking up early, packing the day with activities and then needing a nap by late afternoon because I couldn’t enjoy my nights. Don’t do things just for to check them off your list, do things because you want to do them!!! 


Street sign in Cornwall, England. Photo Credit: http://davidjrodger.wordpress.com


Are you a slow traveler? It depends on why you travel and how much time you give yourself to absorb and become a part of what’s going on in one particular place.

Slow travel is just what it sounds like,

                travel               s l o  w  e  d            w   a   y           d    o    w   n.  You might house-sit, rent a bungalow, or stay with a local, explore coffee shops in your area and pick your favorite, try your hand at French at the market, go to the grocery store and pick out some local fruits to sample, hike to a little-known waterfall in a nearby town, try to find the best pizza in Naples yourself, get a metro card and figure out the system, or make friends with the Japanese people who helped you find the address of that sushi place your friend suggested! Become an observer and interact with people as often as you can. That’s what slow travel is all about. Integrate with your environment rather than blowing through it.

Slow travel is a small but growing branch of the ‘Slow Movement’. There’s something to be said about getting to know one place, one culture, one language really well. Here are what some other travelers have to say about slow travel.

“Advocates of slow travel argue that all too often the potential pleasure of the journey is lost by too eager anticipation of arrival. Slow travel, it is asserted, is a state of mind which allows travellers to engage more fully with communities along their route, often Picturefavouring visits to spots enjoyed by local residents rather than merely following guidebooks.” – Slow Movement Wiki

An article on the Independent Traveler defined ‘Slow Travel’ as “‘a grassroots movement that has quietly emerged as a solution to tourist burnout’, and stresses that it’s ‘not so much a particular mode of transportation as it is a mindset.’”

“Traveling more slowly allows you to form a stronger connection to the place you’re visiting, and you’ll feel much less rushed. With a “slow” itinerary, you won’t experience the stress of attempting to knock out every site in your guidebook. Instead, you’ll stay in one place long enough to recognize your neighbors, shop in the local markets and pick a favorite coffeehouse.” –

“The art of living,”
says Carlo Petrini, the charismatic founder of the Slow Food Movement, “is about learning to give time to each and every thing.” That, most definitely, should include travel.
Travel. Connect. Share.
Travel. Connect. Share!

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