Slow Travel: 10 Ideas for Your Next Trip

Slow Travel: 10 Ideas for Your Next Trip

Next time you go on vacation, do something truly remarkable. Trade in the all-inclusive resort passes for one of these unique travel experiences. Whether it’s a week or a month, here are 10 slow travel ideas for you on your upcoming trip!

Walk the Camino de Santiago

Find yourself along a medieval pilgrimage throughout the many landscapes of Spain. To walk the most popular route, el Camino Frances, you will need about a month, but you can start from wherever you want or bike it if you have a limited amount of time. Read more about the Camino here.

Take a language course

Learning a language can open doors for your professional and social life. Instead of going to a country and just seeing the sights, you can truly experience the culture of a place by taking a language course. There are language centers in every country that offer courses in week-long increments, so sign up and make it happen. La vita é bella! 

Have you always wanted to be bilingual? Invest in yourself and take a language course abroad. Search for independent language schools in your country of choice. Most schools offer classes on a weekly basis and include culture classes in tandem with the language lessons. Si, la vita é bella!

House sitting…anywhere!

When other families go on vacation for an extended period of time, many times they will offer their home to a house sitter so that they can be assured their home is taken care of while they’re away. There are a few websites to find people looking for house sitters. This can be a great way to live like a local and save cash while traveling!

Do a meditation retreat.

Slow down and look inward on your next vacation. You can find many 10-day Vipassana silent retreats in Asia that are completely donation based. If you’re looking for something more intensive, Kopan Monastry just outside of Kathmandu has a month-long study and practice retreat in November that is highly recommended.

Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary.

Maybe you’re passionate about helping animals. A quick Internet search and you can find numerous elephant sanctuaries looking for volunteers to help with their cause. There’s nothing more rewarding than volunteering with a cause that you’re passionate about. Life is short, save the elephants!

Get ya surf on.

If you’ve always wanted to take time off to learn how to surf, why not fulfill that dream? Visit Hawaii, Costa Rica, or even Australia where there’s a community of surfers to learn from. I have heard of travelers doing a work exchange at surf schools as well. All you have to do is work part time and get free accommodation and free surf classes. Not to mention, you’ll get to meet all kinds of interesting people doing the same thing. As soon as you make the decision to take that leap of faith and make it happen, you will be surprised how many opportunities come your way.

Meet travelers from all over the world by working at a hostel

Hostels often search for people to volunteer via work exchange in order to keep their facilities running. You can work around 20 hours a week organizing tours, running reception, or cleaning. In exchange you get free accommodation and sometimes food is included! Not to mention, you get to meet travelers from all over the world. Pretty sweet deal, right? I use to find these opportunities.

Get connected with the earth…WOOFing 

WWOOFing stands for WorldWide Opportunity on Organic Farms. The organization hopes to provide a way for people to learn about organic food, agriculture, and sustainable ways of living. Get your hands dirty, connect with the earth, and WWOOF your heart out. 

Offer your skills to an organization you believe in (Teaching, art, etc.)

Just recently I volunteered with Collective Aid, an NGO helping refugees in Serbia and Bosnia. I spent a month working as an Activity Leader at their refugee community center where I taught English and led cultural activities for refugees at a nearby camp. It was an incredible and eye-opening experience. If you are inspired to help with a certain issue, there is nothing more rewarding than giving back!

Do something different for your next vacation. Try slow traveling! It can be eye-opening and inspiring. Get in touch with me for encouragement or planning. I’d love to hear from you!

Monthly Recap: No Plans November

Monthly Recap: No Plans November

Life is full of surprises, especially when you think you’ve got things “figured out”.  November proved this much to be true. Since I left Colorado in September, I decided to travel and work online for a while.  I planned on living in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a month then to Mexico for a month-long yoga retreat. Sounds like a dream, right? RIGHT. Except the Virgin Islands turned out to be more like a nightmare. Three days after arriving, I knew deep down to my core that I couldn’t last another week there. What to do when things don’t go as planned? Follow what feels right, that’s what! I found my way to Puerto Rico, and it was everything I hoped the Virgin Islands would be. I lived and worked at a laid back bohemian hostel in San Juan. With the beach two blocks away and the convenience of nearby restaurants and bars within walking distance (not to mention a 24/7 Walgreens RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET), I was in heaven. Life was good, piña coladas were flowing, and I learned the ins and outs of running a hostel. I found this opportunity through and worked 20 hours a week in exchange for free accommodation and a weekly food allowance. My tasks included working reception, updating photos for the website, and assisting in event planning for the hostel. Then, of course, just as things started feeling comfortable, I watched heartbreaking documentaries that changed ALL of my plans for the upcoming month. Next thing I knew, I had booked a flight from Miami to Barcelona for the next week. (for only $150, might I add! #Winning) Confused? Here’s the backstory: I watched a documentary about the Syrian war called City of Ghosts. I was so heartbroken that I cried the entire length of the documentary. Then I watched another documentary called Human Flow, which talks about the refugee crisis the world is currently facing. After these documentaries, I couldn’t sleep, so I researched more about the current refugee crisis and how the E.U and U.S. are handling it politically. I stayed up until 5 a.m. without moving from my desk. I was absolutely fixated. I heard about the conflicts in the news many times before, but hearing people’s individual stories impacted me more than I expected. How can I help? I thought. I finally forced myself to sleep, and the next day, I began researching nonprofit organizations that offer humanitarian aid to refugees in need. That day, I decided I’d go to Eastern Europe where there are many refugee camps and organizations helping refugees who haven’t yet gotten asylum in the E.U. So I took the flight to Barcelona, made a pit stop in Ibiza for a few days to celebrate Halloween with my best friends because WHY NOT? Then headed over to a country I’d absolutely never thought about visiting before: SERBIA. For the month of November, I’ve been living in an unappealing, rather depressing suburb of Belgrade, Serbia called Zeleznik. Locals stare at me. Stray dogs follow me around and bark incessantly. There’s enough trash on the streets that I’m not sure what the trash cans are even used for, and it’s consistently 20 degrees, gray, and rainy/snowy with serious communist vibes. LOVELY, RIGHT?

Just out the front door, Shorba and Princess, our stray dogs.

Why the hell are you even there?! you ask me through your screen with the apprehension of a favorite aunt. Well, because there are people over here who could use some help.

There are people who’ve fled danger and violence in their home countries, just to be met with more challenges each step along the way to safety. There are people who are victims of the Taliban or other terrorist groups who are reducing their country to a war zone. There are people who, despite being a victim, are being seen as criminals or problems and are beaten by border police. They are just like you and me with families, friends, hopes, dreams…the only difference is the country they were born. And this just so happens to have led them to a refugee camp in a depressing town in Serbia, so here I am, just trying to make even the smallest bit of difference for humanity.

I’m working as an Activities Leader together with the other volunteers in Collective Aid (formerly known as BelgrAid). I organize activities ranging from cinema night to English classes so that these people who have been through so much can start to feel like human beings again. We also do hygiene and winter clothing distributions as the winter is coming and temperatures are dropping to below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Donate if you feel called to do so! I know for a fact that this organization uses the donations with the refugees’ needs as the number one priority.

And to think, I thought I’d be doing yoga on a beach in Mexico this month. Life is funny, isn’t it?

Thanks for reading! Have questions? Comments? Contact me.