Slow Travel – A New Trend, and What’s It All About?

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How to Travel in an Interesting Way? How to Enjoy Traveling, and Is It True That You Don’t Need to Hurry?

I’ve been hearing about a new travel trend – slow travel – for quite some time now. People have been writing about it a lot recently, and everyone has their own interpretation. However, in general, it’s becoming evident that in our perpetually rushed world, not rushing is now considered a sign of success, at least when it comes to travel.

Rushing is no longer in fashion. And, of course, it’s not about the infamous All-Inclusive where you “don’t rush” only from breakfast to lunch and so on in a never-ending loop, 24 hours a day.

A Little About Myself

I’ve always been hungry for experiences. Sleeping too much means wasting time and money (why not?). I would arrive in a new city, load up with cameras, and go out from sunrise to deep into the night. I wouldn’t rest until I’d seen everything.

After traveling at this pace for 10-20 days, I’d want to relax, but within a couple of weeks, my hand would be reaching for the keyboard, and I’d be buying another ticket.

This was our travel pace from 2013 to 2019, with 6 to 15 trips each year. Eventually, it became clear that a different approach to travel was needed.

What Is Slow Travel?

“Slow travel” is about quality over quantity, in short. After all, travel is not a sport, not about “checking off” countries and continents, not a competition to see who can take more flights or visit more restaurants.

The race to see landmarks and beautiful places became tiresome once the number of these beautiful places reached several hundred, if not thousands. What does slow travel mean, then? Does it have to be lengthy? Or less packed? Does it mean giving up the car and traveling by bus? No, definitely not just buses, maybe occasionally.

In 2020, we spent one and a half months in Asia. It might seem like a long time, so why hurry? But it was still a race for experiences. An endless road trip with a dozen flights, changing locations every one to three days. I’m still going through the photos. Yet, it was a peaceful year compared to the previous ones.

So, are slow travels about spending a long time in one place? Like, getting up, having coffee, stretching, and heading to the local park to smell the roses around 11 a.m.? For some, it looks exactly like that. Roses could be replaced with paddleboarding or a jog along the ocean. The key is not so much to avoid rushing but not to plan too much.

“A strict plan” and “slow travel” don’t go hand in hand. There might not be a plan at all.

Slow Travel and Transportation

Many might think that traveling slowly means using slow modes of transportation. Instead of a car, using a bus, or even better, walking.

No, and I emphasize, no. It’s precisely with a car that you can travel slowly. You stop at every turn, visit distant viewpoints or waterfalls away from the beaten paths. Buses always have schedules, and planes are just transportation that gets you to your starting point. Strictly speaking, you can travel slowly on any mode of transportation if you understand what I mean.

Here, the key is to savor the moment, hear the sounds, enjoy the scenery, without thinking about ratings, the number of countries, or the cities you’ve visited. If you manage to do this in a relatively short period of time, then that is slow travel.

Spending time with locals instead of a couple of tours is also slow travel. I remember our guide-driver in Bali. Whiskey, that was his name, became our friend, and we spent much more time with him than our travel plan required. By the way, we keep in touch through social media.

Slow travel is about not expecting anything. Because you don’t know what will happen tomorrow or in an hour. Therefore, slow travel doesn’t necessarily mean long weeks or months on the road. You can go “slowly” for just a couple of days to a neighboring city, which might only be an hour or two away by flight.

Advantages of Slow Travel

The main advantage of slow travel is that it’s stress-free. You don’t have to worry about what you’ll do tomorrow, and that’s incredibly cool.

With slow travel, you see not only what Trip Advisor recommends. There’s more interaction with locals, more diverse food, more bars that often offer more than a city museum.

With slow travel, you create more memories. Don’t believe it? Try it, and you’ll see!

In this style of travel, you have a better chance of learning a language, a living, spoken language, not the one you read in Reuters or CNN.

Slow travel is cheaper than traditional travel. It’s obvious because you don’t need to rush and cram everything in. You move less from one location to another, spend more time in each place, and consequently spend less.

Why Has This Become Relevant Only Now?

All trends are influenced by the times we live in. When most people worked in offices from 9 to 6, and vacations were only two weeks a year, you tried to do as much as possible in a minimal amount of time. Every holiday and weekend were used for trips, and there was a rush to visit everywhere.

Today, many, if not the majority, work on a flexible schedule or even without a schedule – freelancers, IT specialists, anyone who works for themselves, and people in creative professions. It’s these people who came up with slow travel.

Being a slow traveler is trendy. Slow means successful!

Instead of commercial resorts, there are villas by the sea. Instead of tours, there are gatherings with locals at a pub or cockfights, for example. Daily races to see the most are replaced by leisurely moments.

Dare to deviate from the beaten paths. But most importantly, no rules and detailed plans. Only direction, only the enjoyment of the process.

Good luck and safe travels!

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