Slow Travel is a mind-set that rejects traditional ideas of tourism and encourages you to soak in your environments and keep yourself open to new experiences. Slow travel is for you if you want a balanced itinerary where you can pace yourself and eliminate the stress of rushing around. It’s intentional and immersive — allowing you to go deeper on the things that matter most to you while traveling. It’s conscious and connected — connected with yourself, those around you, and the world.
There is something undeniably romantic about taking things slow. It is this allure that forms the basis of slow travel – a growing trend that’s swapping whistle-stop city tours for leisurely strolls, and red-eye flights for low-key cruises. Travel should be so much more than lurching your way frenetically around a destination, trying to scratch things off a tick-list (a sure fire way of reaching ‘tourist burnout’).
On paper, slow travel is an offshoot of the slow food movement – a focus on local farming, regional cuisine, communal meals and traditional food preparation methods that began in Italy in the 1980s as a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. This cultural initiative has evolved into an entire way of life known as the Slow Movement, which aims to address the issue of ‘time poverty’ through an increased focus on making connections; with people, places and things.
In its simplest form, slow travel means travelling by particular modes of transport such as train, horse, walking, biking and boating. It’s all about appreciating the landscape as you go, and being at one with it – which you don’t get by flying or driving when you’re seeing everything from behind a pane of glass.
Another perspective is that slow travel is a mindset, not just a series of choices. While physically slowing down is necessary, slow travel is more mindset than velocity. Slow travel is to tourism what meditation apps are to our lives. In it, connecting to the soul of a place through its history, food, language and people becomes more important than chasing bucket list ticks and Instagram photos. Slow travel enables us to learn, relax and rejuvenate; to be part of a place for a short period rather than just crash through it. Done responsibly it allows us to go beyond the ‘leave only footprints’ mantra that has long been associated with ecotourism. When done right, it can leave positive impacts that will last long past your trip, benefiting the local communities, economies and wildlife.