For a while now I’ve been hearing about this thing called the slow travel movement. As someone who’s anything but a slow traveller, I’ve always thought it sounded boring and never bothered to learn about what it actually means.
But then I discovered Hannah and her beautifully calm, slow travel inspired blog – and now I get it.
What is slow travel?
If you haven’t heard of it before, slow travel is basically just as it sounds. You travel slower to enjoy a more mindful and wholesome experience.
Doing this means you get to see a place like a local. You spend longer in one destination, you watch the world go by from wherever takes your fancy on the day, and you soak up the atmosphere everywhere you go.
Slow travel is also said to be better for the environment, because you’re not cramming a flight, three bus journeys and a train into one day just to say you spent five minutes at a viewpoint and got the photo to prove it.
Taking a train instead of a flight, or exploring more of one destination before travelling home, are just two ways that slow travel can benefit the environment.
I thought Hannah summed it up extremely well in saying this:
“It’s about choosing meaningful experiences over that ‘tick box’ bucket list style of travel and big resort holidays. It’s about fully immersing yourself in a new place or culture, connecting to yourself and your surroundings and encouraging a more intentional and immersive travel experience”
The best part of slow travel is that it’s different for everyone – so there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Just tailor it to what works for you and your lifestyle.
Life as a fast traveller
I have always travelled extremely quickly! I usually tear through the airport, stress about every little thing throughout the entire journey, then spend the trip darting around trying to see that landmark and get that photo.
On a few occasions I’ve even travelled to a city abroad and back in just one day just to tick it off the list.
This way of travelling is tiring and far from eco-friendly, but part of me does enjoy the thrill of flitting from place to place and seeing as much as I can.
Why? Probably because I’m impatient and want to see and do everything instantly, and also because I’m afraid of not being able to go back and do the things I missed out on.
And I’m pretty sure social media is to blame for this.
How has social media changed the way I travel?
Instagram – it’s a blessing and a curse isn’t it?
I find so much travel inspo on there, but it’s these bucket list destinations and Instagrammable places that make you turn what could be a beautifully unique trip into a carbon copy of someone else’s.
I’m the first to hold my hands up and say that most of my trips are decided because I want to visit the places that I’ve seen online, and I get caught up in what snaps I need to get for the ‘gram weeks before I go.
This is kind of great because it means us travel bloggers can continue to share our love of exploring online and help someone recreate an amazing experience – but it also sucks because the trip becomes less about what you want to do and more about what you think you need to do.
When I visited New York City, I planned out each day hour by hour and I woke up every morning feeling instantly behind schedule.
I loved the trip and it remains one of my top city breaks, but if I didn’t have Instagram, would I have travelled this frantically? Probably not.
Introducing slow travel into my life
As I said, I’m very aware that I’m yet to travel slower. I (like many others) am always just too busy with work and blogging and errands that I don’t stop often enough to enjoy the little things.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a true slow traveller – and in truth I’m not sure I want to be – but I do want to make some changes to improve the way I travel and in turn help the planet.
And there’s not just slow travel to embrace, there’s slow living too. So I’m starting with slowing down my weekends which lately have become busier than my working week!
My next trip is Edinburgh, so let’s see how slow I can explore that city.
To learn more about slow travel and slow living, check out Hannah’s blog post. You’ll love it!
Are you a fast traveller or slow traveller? Let me know on Twitter!