“Fast” seems to be the best word to describe the world around us today. Our cars are faster, our access to information is lightning-fast, we eat fast food, we even find our significant others through speed dating. We try to cram as much of this speeding life into the same 24 hours as possible – and this takes a toll on our well-being in the long run through stress, exhaustion, and burnout. To escape the daily treadmill set on its highest speed, it’s always a good idea to take a vacation and travel – but the speed of our everyday lives has changed this, too, pushing us to check off as many landmarks from our to-do list as possible and rushing from city to city, country to country to do so. And the result is often that we feel more tired and exhausted after our vacation than before.
This is where “slow travel” comes in, something that will hopefully become a.
What is slow travel?
First of all, let’s get one thing straight: slow travel has nothing to do with the actual speed at which you travel. You can “slow travel” abroad on board a hypersonic jet or a bullet train – what truly matters happens when you arrive.
Slow travel means focusing less on the quantity of landmarks and sights visited during the limited time we have and more on the quality of experiences lived while there. It means not running through a city, snapping a selfie at each of its famous buildings and statues and bragging on social media that “I was there” but taking the time to explore the surroundings, absorb the places’ unique atmosphere, picking up the locals’ pace, and get to know the location in-depth. Perhaps even without snapping any selfies in the process.
Is traveling slow better?
What is the better way to spend your lunch break: grabbing a hamburger at a fast food joint at the corner and guzzling it down on the run or sitting down at a restaurant, eating a three-course meal, enjoying each of them without rushing, in a leisurely manner, and having a great cup of freshly brewed coffee afterward? The same goes for slow travel – when taking your time to explore your surroundings, picking up the pace of the place, eating and drinking where the locals do instead of overrated tourist traps and hotels, and giving yourself the chance to truly get to know your destination, your experience will be much deeper, much more relaxing, and meaningful. And while you probably won’t have so many selfies to share on Facebook, you’ll be richer with a bunch of pleasant memories.
So when you plan your next vacation, throw away the list of sights you want to see – instead, book an Airbnb in a small French village or in an Italian commune, spend a week there and enjoy it.