As it turns out, there are many ways to travel the world. You could take a cruise, hopping off at each island to work on your tan. You could get on board with the millennials and backpack through Europe or Southeast Asia, staying a couple of days in each destination before you’re off to see the next country. Or you could try out my favorite way of traveling the world: slow travel.
Slow travel is all about, well, slowing down. Instead of rushing to tick places off your bucket list, you’re placing importance on learning about the culture through firsthand experience. Slow travel is about meeting locals, discovering your favorite local restaurants and cafes, and allowing yourself some space to take it all in. Isn’t said that the best things in life take time?
Here’s a list of the top 5 reasons you should try out slow traveling on your next trip.
1. Experience the Culture First-Hand
There’s a big difference between tourists and travelers. Travelers seek to understand new cultures and learn about other ways of life instead of merely escaping their life back home on a relaxing vacation. Slow traveling allows one to let the unfolding of the subtleties of a country’s culture and customs. You may partake in a local festivity or join in the crowd to watch a traditional dance ceremony. Slow travel also means you are able to befriend locals, and seeing a place through the eyes of a local is an incredible experience!
2. Learn the language
Learning different languages can open doors. You’ll learn the language far quicker by living abroad than taking a course in your home country. If you’re living, say, in France for an extended period of time, picking up the language is almost inevitable. Going to a local market or an evening outing can be an impromptu French course, and you’ll also gain insight to the essence of the French culture and way of life.
3. Get to Know Your Way Around
When you first arrive in a new place, it’s normal to feel a bit disoriented. It takes a couple of days for me to understand the city layout, where to find food, and what parts of the city are safe or unsafe. One of the advantages of slow travel is that you’re able to really get to know a place. You have time to find your favorite spots in the city and can recognize tourist prices when you see them. When I lived in Granada, Spain for a few months, I went to a certain café a few times a week and got to know the baristas, which made me feel like I was really a part of the community.
4. Save money
After backpacking through South America, I felt exhausted from traveling to new towns every other day. I decided to travel slowly, spending at least a few weeks in every spot. I use websites like Workaway to find volunteer opportunities that allow me to have free accommodation and food in exchange for working 20 hours a week. This method saves me A LOT of money in contrast to paying each night for a hostel and eating out at restaurants.
5. Easier on Your Mind and Body
Like I previously mentioned, travel can be exhausting, mentally, emotionally, and physically. In my opinion, rushing through each destination is actually really hard on your mind and body. Instead give yourself a break, kick your feet back, and relax. Spending a couple months in a place gives you time to take it easy, which is an important aspect of self care. You don’t have to rush to see the sights all in one day because you have time on your side!
Have you ever tried slow travel? If not, do you think you’d enjoy it? Contact me and let me know what you think!