What was your last vacation like? Did you really get the rest you were longing for all year long, or did you arrive home exhausted, wishing for nothing but a hot shower and to spend the next day in bed?
Most people in the world today live a rushing, fast-paced life, and this lifestyle seeps into the way we travel. We try to cram as much “vacation” into the limited time we have as possible, checking off landmarks, restaurants, and theme parks from our lists as if we were paid to do so.
But rushing from tourist attraction to tourist attraction robs the whole concept of travel of its depth and meaning. Luckily, there is a new movement quietly emerging to show us that we can do better – slow travel.
What is Slow Travel and Why You Should Care?
What is Slow Travel?
Have you heard of the slow movement? It is a movement that advocates slowing down one’s life pace in an increasingly rushing world.
The concept all began with an Italian named Carlo Petrini who founded the “slow food” movement as a form of protest against the opening of a McDonald’s fast food joint in Rome in 1986. Slowly, this movement has grown into a subculture, and “slow travel” is its latest offshoot.
Slow travel doesn’t refer to the actual speed at which you’re traveling but to a different mindset you adopt while away from home. Instead of rushing to tick off as many sights your lift as you can in the shortest possible time, you slow down, take the time to explore your destination thoroughly, and truly connect with its people, its culture, and its atmosphere as a whole.
How to Travel Slow(er)
Instead of rushing from the airport to your hotel, rent a small cottage in, say, a French village for a week or two.
Don’t rush to the restaurant to eat the included breakfast, but cook it for yourself and eat it on the porch. Or go to the small cafeteria the locals love so much, order a cup of coffee and a croissant. Actually take the time consume them while you read the local papers, or simply look at the people walking by.
Instead of a guided tour of all the sights in the area, take the time to explore the surroundings by foot – or by bike. Shop at the local stores and farmers’ markets. Talk to the people. Find out where they like to eat, to drink, to spend their time.
This way you can give yourself the time to really get in tune with their pace, to find out more about their lives, and to truly absorb the atmosphere of the place you stay in, turning your experience from a sterile rush to a truly relaxing and de-stressing one.
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