What Is Slow Travel & Why I Love It
Set back, relax and imagine going to these two trips,
It’s 11 am. You arrive at your hotel, unpack (or not), rest for 15 minutes and open your laminated schedule for the trip, which has times and locations of every part of the city you want to visit. You get ready to go out, pack a few things and hit the road.
The first day, you follow your schedule by running from one site to the other while taking countless selfies.
The second day, you go on a planned tour with a group of tourists. The captivating tour guide takes everyone around the city to explore several interesting sites. The group ends the tour with a drink in a famous nearby bar. You have a drink, take many goofy pictures with everyone and go back to your hotel to prepare for your flight home.
It’s 11 am. You arrive at your hotel, unpack (or not), get some rest and maybe take a shower. Then, you get ready for random exploring, pack a few things, and hit the road.
The first day, you walk around the city and notice a bicycle rental hub. Without thinking, you hop on one and explore the city on wheels.
The second day, you walk to a hidden coffee shop that caught your attention on your cycling tour, have a cup of coffee and enjoy the weather while talking to some locals. They like you and take you around to show you the real beauty of their city and all the hidden spots.
You go back home with a ton of pictures of places perhaps no other tourist have seen.
Aaaand we’re done imagining. I hope you enjoyed the two trips I took you to.
Don’t get too excited, there’s no right answer to this question. It’s about how you want to travel. Fast or slow. Up or down. In or out. OK, I’ll stop. For me, I like to travel slowly with less planning and a lot of random exploring.
The meaning of Random Exploring in my brain: Getting lost but deciding to enjoy it, anyway.
So, What Is Slow Travel?
Coming from my experience, I believe slow travel is taking your time to navigate the ins and outs of a new journey. To get a deeper look into the place/city you’re visiting. To come home with memories that will last forever because you didn’t pass by to take a picture and leave. To tell a story.
I used to think you have to spend a few weeks to months to call it slow travel. Well, in a way it is, but you can also enjoy all the little details in a two-day hike in Turkey, because you focused on that hike solely and lived the full experience, skipping no part. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if your trip had a true and deep meaning to you, then I believe you’ve traveled slowly. You can spend a few weeks in a country but keep running from city to city and site to site without experiencing them to their fullest.
Why I Chose Slow Travel & Why I Love it
Traveling is not a vacation or a temporary thing for me, It’s a way of life. Slow travel is suitable for that kind of life. It also fits my personality and how I enjoy things. I always like to get a deep understanding of the place/city I’m exploring. Most times, when I visit a city, I try my best to explore it, find its hidden places and get to know its people closely. Other times, I focus on a volunteering experience or a certain challenge like dancing, for example. Oh, and as a tradition, I make sure I find my favorite coffee shop and a secret place in every country I visit. Only by traveling slowly and taking my time on every journey, I’m able to live incredible and rich experiences.
Another thing that makes slow travel special is that it allows me to have a family wherever I go. Living with locals, sharing food and spending time with them forms a connection that lasts forever and only then I become part of their family. I become a local.
How To Travel Slowly?
There’s no such thing as a standard way to travel slowly, but here’s what I think will make your travel slower and deeper.
- You must know what is slow for you. Is it a week? A month? And so on.
- Don’t panic about seeing every touristy place in the city you’re visiting.
- Get a deeper understanding of the places you’re exploring and don’t rush things.
- Try to change your ways of navigation. Maybe on foot or a bike.
- Find your secret place, a favorite cafe, a library or a hidden waterfall.
- Last but not least, explore different ways of travel until you find your own.
Maybe It's Not For Everyone
If traveling super fast and the rush that comes with it is what you’re looking for in traveling, then maybe slow travel is not for you. If you're unsure of what you like, then try different styles of travel until you find your own.
Quantity vs Quality
Always remember that quality rules quantity. The number of countries you visit won’t matter when you can’t remember your trip to Kenya after 5 or 10 years. The memories you accumulate while traveling matter the most. So, keep a counter for memories instead of countries.
Alnins, tell me what type of travel you like? Fast? Slow? Neither? Tell me, tell me!