Travelling at a leisurely pace is the best way to create purposeful connections and enduring memories.
Travel has become a way of life for many of us. But often, it tends to mean packaged tours that cram as many Instagram-worthy places as we can cover. The result: travel fatigue.
That’s exactly the feeling slow travel seeks to avoid. It aims to bring us back to the roots of travel: to make connections with the local people, cultures and food. The concept has its origin in the slow food movement, which began in Italy in 1986 as a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s outlet in Rome. Since then, the movement has expanded to include travel as well.
The ‘slow’ mindset persuades travellers to let go of their to-do lists and embrace what the local community has to offer. Apart from being more sustainable for the environment and for communities, you are also more likely to create worthwhile memories.
Inspired to travel this way? Here are some suggestions for your next big adventure.
While you may have a rough idea of what you wish to see and do it at your destination, ditch a checklist. Having a long list of sights to see and places to tick off is exhausting and won’t allow you to fully enjoy your trip. You may want to plan your itinerary with a starting and ending point, with a few activities in between, while leaving room for spontaneity.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Live in a local neighbourhood; perhaps consider a homestay. By living instead of ‘staying’ at your destination, you’ll get the chance to make connections and enjoy an in-depth experience of local culture. Do your research on the sights and activities in your destination and avoid the usual tourist traps. Talk to the locals and ask them for recommendations on their favourite places to eat and hang out. Who knows — you may even get invited to their homes!
STAY LONGER IN ONE PLACE
Instead of visiting five towns or cities during a 10-day trip, scale it down to just two or three. Staying longer allows you to immerse yourself in the local community.
GET INVOLVED IN LOCAL ACTIVITIES
If time permits, take up a language course or join a cooking class. You could also volunteer at a local organisation or at a local school to teach English or any other language you’re proficient in. In the process, you’ll get to know the culture and the people.
SAVOUR THE JOURNEY
One of the benefits of slow travel is exploring an area inside out. Instead of plane-hopping, consider taking the train; better yet, hire a car and drive around. On reaching your destination, bike or walk about. That will give you a better feel of the place and opportunities to meet people.