Sounds extreme? Considering most of us have limited amount of time and budget for vacations, slow travel is as ilogical as throwing money down the toilet.
We have been programmed to think that those days should be squeezed to the last minute. Use them to cross out as many landmarks and tourist attractions as possible, sleep less – because is more expensive sleeping in a hotel. Eat fast. Go from one point to the next as efficiently as possible –hopefully soon there will be drones for that. We have all packed our energy drinks and drank lots of coffee to get our mission accomplished.
But it’s funny how, by the end of the trip many times I have forgotten were I’ve being. Don’t get me wrong, I have felt proud for months from looking at my “To Do and See Lists” filled with accomplishments. My bucket list shortened also makes me constantly repeat to my self: “Great job, great trip!”
Slow travel is not like that. Maybe it isn’t for everybody. Travel with out a list and a plan, could be terrifying for some. In fact I know a few people that would run for their life’s just hearing about it.
On the other hand, slow traveling offers some interesting ideas. It’s quality versus quantity. It’s allowing your self to get to know deeply a place and it’s culture. Trying the local food and restaurants. Talking to people. Visiting authentic non touristic spots and share activities with the locals. Slow Travel requires studying the place beforehand to be able to soak all it has to offer. Researching it’s history, geography and art. It means overcoming the mental barrier from going to see statues and landmarks, to getting to know people and their culture. Implies taking time to make friends, look around, enjoy every single bite, ask questions, walk a lot, get lost, immerse and get swept away by all of it.
Even though slow travel is an attitude, here are a few suggestions to take in consideration:
- Walk around and ride a bike.
- Stay longer.
- Learn about local art, music, sports, politics, etc.
- Make friends.
- Participate in communitary activities, enroll in clases, etc.
- Use alternative ways of accomodations like apartment rentals, vacation homes, etc.
In the end, deciding whether slow travel is or not for you, requieres choosing if you you want to be a traveler or remain being a tourist.