Why Slow Travel is Sustainable Travel
In our fast-paced world, the idea of slowing down and taking things at a leisurely pace may seem counterintuitive. Travel, often the source of rewarding and memorable experiences, is an example of how a more measured pace equals sustainable travel. Learning about new places, exploring cultures and meeting people is more manageable when going slow. Many of us have busy itineraries, trying to make the most out of our trips, rushing from one attraction to another. Have you ever felt exhausted after returning from your trip, in need of a vacation after your vacation to relax and wind down? Then slow travel has your name on it.
What is slow travel?
Travelling is much more than checking off sights. Slow travel replaces the frantic exploration of destinations with a slow and deliberate focus on the journey as well as the destination. Imagine leisure strolls where you get lost in winding alleyways, low-key cruises and flexible itineraries.
Although slow travel often includes taking the train, boat walking or biking, the transport mode is not the key. Slow travel is a mindset. It means taking the time to deeper explore a location, indulging in the local culture without stress or worry. It can also imply staying longer to understand what it feels like to actually live and work in your chosen destination. I recently returned from a five-month stay in the Mediterranean, a vast difference from a hectic two-week stay in the middle of summer.
How was the concept of slow travel born?
Slow travel is an extension of the slow food movement in Italy during the 1980s. With a focus on local farming and cuisine, communal food and traditional food preparation methods, it started as a reaction to the growth of fast food. Since then, the Slow Movement has developed further and stands for creating meaningful connections with people, places and things.
Why you should consider slow travel for your next trip
For starters, no stress in completing the guidebook. Now, I love a good guidebook and can’t deny rumours of creating Excel sheets in preparation for a trip, so take my word for it. A little spontaneity won’t kill you. Leave the stressful day-to-day life behind. Instead, relax and immerse yourself in the landscape. Sample the local cuisine, shops and markets and take the time to get to experience local life.
Slow travel allows you to uncover some of the in-between places, often overlooked and, as a result, not overcrowded. Going off-piste sometimes results in encounters with the most charming people and places. When you engage with the locals, you go from a transactional relationship to a human connection.
Less impact on the environment
A more mindful tempo can positively impact the environment, as walking, bicycling or taking a train has carbon-related benefits. However, an unsafe walking environment or polluting trains doesn’t encourage usage. Therefore, a sustainable travel choice should be an easy choice.
Live like a local
Slow travel often means staying in rentals like houses, cottages, apartments and villas, which allows for an immersive experience, getting to know the neighbourhood, the ambience and the food. What better way to learn than to visit a local market, buy fresh ingredients and cook your own meals?
Wine tour in Tuscany, ferry hopping in the Greek islands, or living on an organic farm in Costa Rica? The choice is yours. And remember, the ultimate luxury in life is time. Nobody will give it to you, meaning you have to make or take time yourself.
Would you consider slow travel for your next trip? Or is it something you have already done? Let us know in the comment section! Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter and benefit from travel tips, interviews and inspirational examples of sustainable travel.