EPISODE 016 – Slow Travel – What is Slow Travel?
Ep 016: Slow Travel – What is Slow Travel? I discuss what is considered Slow Travel and what isn’t.
What is Slow Travel?
Slow Travel is an approach to travel that prioritizes connection: to local people, cultures, food, music, languages, and vibe. Slow Travel relies on the belief that a trip is meant to educate and have a long-lasting emotional impact while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.
Slow Travel ensures that you not only get the most benefit, but the local people and the world around you do too. Because you’ll have stories to share with your family, friends, and coworkers about the people you met in addition to the sights that you saw. And they might want to repeat what you did.
There are three types of slow travelers.
- There are those who try to slow down as much as possible. They choose slower means of transportation; preferring a train over a plane, a bike or scooter to a car or bus, etc. By slowing down their journey, they get in closer contact with the locals and a deeper feeling of the places they’re actually traveling through.
- There are those who focus more on the destination they’re visiting. They visit one place for an entire week or more, they choose to stay in a boutique hotel that serves a made-to-order breakfast instead of a chain hotel with a buffet, and they try not to cram their entire bucket list into one trip by running to all the must-see’s and must-do’s of the area, but just simply schedule a few things instead, and leave some room for downtime for themselves and to just wander around.
- There are those who choose to stay for a while. They settle down for several weeks or months, rent an apartment or house, go to the local grocers and markets, walk around the neighborhood and speak to the neighbors, immerse themselves in the culture and language, learn about their surroundings, participate in local gatherings, and go about their daily lives, etc. as if they were back at home.
There are four good reasons why you should adopt slow travel now
- You get to relax and recharge. Have you had enough of those trips that leave you more tired than you were before taking them? When you need a vacation from your vacation? It has now been proven by several studies that travel can have long-lasting effects on our health by lowering our stress levels. By slowing down a trip, slow travel allows you to relax, reconnect with yourself and finally get some real time-off doing anything or nothing at all in a different place other than your home. And that is a crucial step to re-energize yourself to be able to get back to your daily routine on your return.
- You empower the local economy. When you go slow, you go local! Free yourself from the big multi-national hotel chains and discover small, local, and family-run businesses. By staying in just one area, it helps to reduce your travel costs and while at the same time contributes to the community. And wandering around and chatting with locals, you can easily find local businesses for your every need or wish and even some hidden gems.
- You leave a positive footprint. The slower the mode of transportation, the greener it is. Walking, cycling, riding a train, a bus, a car, taking a plane. Speed seems to be directly linked to pollution; the faster more powerful methods require the most fuel and leave a disgusting exhaust trail. Therefore the slower you travel, the less you pollute.
- You become part of the local life. Making a conscious decision to slow down the pace of your travel, creates a bigger connection with the local cultures of the places you travel to. It could be for a well-deserved sabbatical, or to take a long break from the winter weather, or to take your job with you as a digital nomad.
Why slow travel is the best?
You get to take your time, adopt a relaxed mindset, connect with the local people, try traditional foods, discover local traditions, go off-the-beaten-path, find unique memories, enjoy the unexpected, and transform a simple vacation into a life-changing experience.
You can’t be a Queen if you’ve never ruled. And that means that you should know and be curious about different cultures and lifestyles. It truly bothers me when people say they’ve been to Mexico or the Caribbean, but in truth, they’ve only been to the all-inclusive resorts there and maybe took a few tours. I can’t help myself when I tell them they haven’t really been to those countries or islands at all, just a homogenized/Westernized/Americanized version to make them feel better, that lines the pockets of the resorts’ management companies and builders but contributes very little to the local economy in comparison.
Travel nourishes the soul and should increase your empathy towards others but only if you go with an open mind and are willing to step out of your comfort zone. If you’ve only ever encountered locals employed by large corporations to take care of a guest’s every whim and if you barely know their names (other than the bartenders), cringed at their lack of English or haven’t fumbled over their language to better communicate, and begrudgingly gave them a tip (or not) at the end of your stay then you haven’t really traveled anywhere.
Be the Queen that embraces differences, practices patience, wants to connect on a deeper level, tries new things, cares for the environment, and thirsts for any and all opportunities to Slow Travel (in whatever form) elsewhere in the world. I’ve had several friends that have tried Slow Travel since I began doing it and more who hope to follow through. Be the Queen who does things first, the leader, the guide, the change-maker.
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