How many times these past months have you got on your nerves over some traffic jam or a computer that didn’t work? I have to admit that especially when I’m tired or just slightly irritable, this kind of “obstacles” make me go a little bit crazy.
It’s (unfortunately) something very common these days: society just tells you to run, to do everything in your life as fast as you can in order to get some other stuff done which maybe isn’t that important.
Have you thought about it? Have you thought about letting things flow more naturally and not worrying so much you end up your day with a big headache? I have to tell you that travelwise, there are some people who really thought it through in the late 80’s, coming up with a twist of the traditional trip. You don’t know what slow travel is yet?
It’s, as you can guess, taking your trips or excursions with no rush at all, taking all the time you need to really soak yourself into the essence of the cultures and countries you’re visiting, hanging out and just wandering through the towns without looking the watch. Hands down, the best way of traveling possible.
Well, I didn't know that much back in the day but now I’ve talked to people who experienced it and fell in love with this kind of traveling. I have to confess that my next trip is going to be the most quiet and relaxed ever.
So here it is: my ultimate compilation of 8 tips on how to be a slow traveler and to take the time travel deserves, really enjoying the pleasure of globe-trotting.
1. Stay in your destination longer than the average tourist. If you know that the city or village you’re heading to can be visited in one week, rearrange your plans and stay two or three. If can stay just for a short period of time, I recommend you to focus on two or three spots maximum in the same country. Taking planes or long rides to get to far places will make you lose precious time!
2. Try not to sightsee. I know it’s the first thing you think about when you travel: “Ok, I have to visit this landmark, this building, that other unfamous statue…”. We’ve all been there, but slow travelling will allow you to throw in the garbage that silly check list and enjoy yourself spending the days with no hurries. There is nothing better that discovering a great amount of unknown places (the ones that travel guides do not include), because now you have the time to do it.
3. Make new local friends. Especially if you’re heading to a place that has a totally different culture than yours and you need some guidance. There is no better way of getting to know your destination than making yourself comfortable with people that’ll take you to the most secret spots.
Staying several weeks in one place creates for sure strong bounds and friendships. You can even buy a SIM phone, so you’ll be able to communicate with them easily. It’s turning interesting, right?
Source: Mike Erskine
4. When you have the chance to stay in a place with other people, try to spend some time with like-minded travelers. It’s easy to meet them at airports or in the town itself. Just go outside, start talking to people. Remember: this kind of traveling will inculcate you a kind of “hippie soul”, so make sure your mind is widely open to accept all ways of living.
Other travelers can come along this journey with you and share really interesting thoughts or experiences, especially when you all are spending a long period of time together. Long trips give you the time to build as many “no-borders-friendships” as you want.
5. If we talk about a place to stay, whether it’s a hotel, hostel or a camping, the owners must be locals. They’ll be able to offer you true experiences, that will enlighten your path and make you enjoy with a low environmental impact.
Even the food will be healthier: they usually work with fresh products of the area. You’re not staying for two days, you’re almost establishing a brand new life in this place, so make them teach you as many tips as they possibly can. Any new knowledge is always welcome!
Source: Kalegin Michail
6. Speaking environment wise. One of the things you have to keep in mind at all time is that being a slow traveler is being a friend of nature and sustainability. When you arrive to your destination, start wondering right away what you can do to improve the life of the people that live there all year round. The main point of this lifestyle is to leave the community that kindly welcomed you better than you found it.
Go from one place to another in eco-friendly transport like bikes, boats or just take a refreshing walk! Try to enjoy visiting small markets or shops, take public buses and become a 100% ecological traveler. The bigger impact you have in local economy, the more you’ll learn about how they live. Just be one of them!
Source: Viktor Kern
7. Taste typical food as much as you can. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to meals, I always eat really fast to get up from the table to do something else. If you are like me, don’t ever do that while slow traveling. One of the nicest ways of fitting in a new culture or just understanding it more in depth, is to go to whatever sort of restaurant, bar or canteen you have on hand and order the weirdest plate ever.
And if it’s possible, start a conversation with the owner or even the waiters. You can’t imagine how many unusual things they can teach you until you take the time and engage in a meaningful talk.
Source: Lan Pham
8. Don’t give up. It’s very likely that you will have bad days. You’re not just embarking on a one week trip. Sometimes, it’s going to be hard: maybe being all on your own, maybe it’s cold outside or maybe you just miss your family and friends. But you know what? It’ll be worth it! All the things you will learn, all the awesome people you will meet (that may be your friends forever) or the fact that you’ll realise you can do anything, will be enough to set the goal of slow traveling and live great adventures in totally wonderful unknown places.
Source: Mantas Hesthaven.