We’re past the halfway point of our goal to visit 22 Countries in 6 Months. It’s been an incredible journey as we continue to learn more about ourselves and the world with every destination. Although it took us a little while to find our footing and style, once we did, our perspectives on travel and life evolved — the catalyst for our change, Slow Travel.
What Is Slow Travel?
Slow travel focuses on making a connection with the local culture and people. Rather than spending your time burning through the most popular sightseeing destinations, slow travel focuses on living in the moment and finding joy in the community that surrounds you. It’s about discovering what a typical day would be like in the destination you’re visiting. In many ways, it’s an immersion process that relieves travelers of the stresses of traditional tourism.
Slow travel is about letting go of your “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) and giving yourself permission to be present, to be open and to discover your “home.”
Slow Travel Changes The Way You See The World
When we first started traveling, it was exhausting. Every country came with a new “Must-See” list. We spent our days in constant transit, concerned more about crossing off destinations rather than genuinely enjoying this once in a lifetime opportunity. The stress and pressure seemed to be pushing us further apart instead of closer together. Then one day we crumpled up the itinerary and decided to let the local culture guide us.
We learned to slow down and explore our local neighborhood. Now we shop locally and let the days unfold naturally. Every city we visit we respect it and treat it like our own. If we stumble across a famous landmark, we pause to take it in and appreciate the experience. There’s never a rush, and we always opt for walking or public transit to get from one destination to the next.
Even though we miss many of the “Must-See” sites, we end up discovering our own. Some we share while others we keep to ourselves. We’ve embraced the fact that we’re only guests passing through for a short period, yet we feel more connected to the world & each other than ever before.
Slow Travel is a mindset more than anything else. When you slow yourself down and start living intentionally, you’ll be surprised by the freedom that follows.
Tips For Slow Travel
Unplug – Put down your camera, your phone, and all your electronics. There was a time before cell phones and social media. Take a moment to rediscover the world and be present in the moment.
Permit Yourself To Wander – Travel Itineraries are helpful but don’t let them control your trip. There is something extraordinarily liberating and freeing to get lost (within reason – don’t abandon your common sense or jeopardize your safety). Choose to explore the area surrounding your accommodation by foot, rent a bike or scooter. Not only is it good for the health & your budget, it’s better for the planet.
Learn The Basics – Invest some time in learning the culture, customs, and a few basic sayings & phrases. One of the highest compliments is to be mistaken for a local.
Use All Your Senses – I firmly believe that traveling is a full body experience. Even for only a few seconds, close your eyes and listen to the world around you. Pay attention to the foods and smells. These small things will make your memories even more personal.