Picture yourself in a small village in the middle of the french provence: buying fresh bread at the bakery in the morning, slurping locally produced wine at the corner restaurant in the night. Spending your days exploring the surrounding chateaus, villages or simply adopting the pace of the villagers. Sounds like this should be your next vacation? Slow Travel. Simplicity.
Slow Travel is about simplicity, in a way. Instead of rushing from one must-see destination to the other, cramping as many tourist attractions as possible into your day and coming home from a vacation more exhausted than before – slow down and take time. In today’s fast paced world, we are easy to lose our sense of time. Life is short, they say. But life is not short, we often just fail to spend our time wisely enough. The Slow Movement first started off in the 80’s, sparked by the opening of a McDonalds in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy. Slow Food, the local alternative to fast food, was spawned. Slow Cities, Slow Living and naturally Slow Travel followed shortly after.
Slow Travel encourages you to explore each destination thoroughly. It is not about the mode of transportation, but about the mindset. About taking in your surroundings at a relaxed pace, without a plan or a timeframe. Confirmed arrival times make space for flexible travel dates, for the unexpected. For waking up without a plan, without the usual ‘must-sees’. Instead, it encourages us to look deeper. To give ourselves utterly to the unknown, learn & appreciate the rhythms of local life. Isn’t that exactly what travel was all about in the first place? This way of travel emphasizes connection – connection to food, places, languages, ideas, culture and people. It can bring more meaningful experiences while not only decreasing your stress level, but also giving something back to the local communities, respecting the environment and being aware of our carbon footprints. Ultimately, it allows us to establish a deeper connection to this new place.
Understanding that planning less can let you experience more, is a first and easy step. Simply start in your hometown. Jump on the train to the next village that you have never visited. Enter that bar at the corner of your street you’ve walked by a thousand times, but never went in. Take a couple of days off in your own city, explore and linger longer.