When we travel, there’s a certain narrative that tends to dominate our mindsets: do as much as you can, as fast as you can.
In many cases, this narrative works. When you look back on your travels, it’s nice to say how much you did, how many places you went, how many miles you flew, and so on. But when you’re in the moment, on your trip, is that fast-paced approach the right one? Not always.
Enter “slow travel,” a different narrative that’s taking hold for many reasons. It’s exactly what it sounds like—taking the time to slow down and enjoy your travel one moment at a time—but the details are worth exploring beyond the surface level. So, let’s dig in.
Choosing a Dream Location
One of the main factors of slow travel is lessening the number of locations you’re hitting, and really taking the time to enjoy a select few, or even just one. For example, rather than bouncing around Europe and hitting as many countries as possible—pick one country, and perhaps one city, and dedicate yourself to that one place for as long as time allows. Better yet, pick one breathtaking ski lodge, fishing outfitter, surf hub, or any other number of outdoor retreats and let the landscape consume you. Honing in on one special place you’ve always dreamed of, means you can actually experience that place the way you always imagined—fully present, and not rushing to leave.
Elevated Travel Mindset
When you remove rushing from from your travel narrative, the result is a more calm and appreciative experience. The New York Times recently reported on “slow travel” and one of their interviewees, a traveler from Florida named David Demers, experienced this shift between two nearly-month-long trips to Israel and the Medditerran.
“In the past, travel was about packing in as much as you can, running around checking boxes, which becomes mechanical,” said Demers. “The pandemic taught us all that it’s OK to not go fast, to focus on what’s important.”
Healthier Tourism Ecosystem
On a quick trip to New York, for example, you’d feel the need to see Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and all the other expected attractions. But what if you spent a month there? You’d naturally wander into quieter neighborhoods, find different, better places to eat, and experience the city more like a local would.
The same goes for a more remote area, like the wilderness of Peru. On a bike trip with Ride The Earth, for example, the famous Matchu Pitchu is, of course, a mandatory stop. But the 6-day trip also takes you to little-known villages, secret lodges, and more. Not only is this a better experience for the travelers, it’s better for the locals; slow travel prevents “overtourism” because travelers have time to spread out and see what a place truly has to offer.
Lower Environmental Impact
When you plant yourself in one place for a week, several weeks, a month, or more—that means you’re spending less time in cars, planes, trains, and more. Slow travel is a sneaky way of traveling in a far more sustainable way. Who doesn’t love that?
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