Slow travel: to run is nothing, we must take the time…

Jean de La Fontaine was nothing of an adventurer but stated, in the hare and tortoise, that the way one travels mainly matters, whatever the destination. In a way, the fabulist boasted the art of travelling slowly but surely. Here is a first praise of the slow journey, except for one detail: the slow travel of today would better suit to the strolling hare than to the turtle!

.

[ Tourism or travel ]

.

For the common tourist, only the final destination counts. He often plans every second of his vacation, seeing “everything you need to see” at destination, jumping from the plane to the bus, and cannot stand any disappointment during transfers. He even considers a bad weather as a switch error! Bending to the schedules of visits, meals, take off … as he does each day. In other words, he runs and follows a timetable.

The slow traveler cultivates certain nonchalance. He is no less anticipating but does not venture to see and show that he has seen. What attracts him is the pleasure of discovery. Of course, he also uses modern means of transport and will go to see certain high places that really deserve a detour. Giving way to the unforeseen, not being afraid to live a few unplanned hours, he also takes the chance to discover in a new light the places crossed and his destination.

.

.

[ Praise of the “slowness” ]

.

Better than slowness, we could talk about sweetness. Taking time is a luxury accessible to all. At a time when patience is no longer (really) perceived as a quality, everything takes an urgent look. Yet, how many of us would like to change our pace of life? Taking a vacation is the perfect time to slow down. Choosing slow travel means opening up to the world, maybe seeing or doing fewer things, but living them deeply. Sitting on the terrace of a little cafe in an unknown city without a schedule means listening, learning, breathing another air. Set foot in a village for a simple step and decide to stay one more day, just because you like the place and are welcomed there…

Slow travel promotes meetings, gives way to impromptu discussions. Are you a little lost? By asking for help and accepting invitations, you are already different. By simply taking the train or the bus, the traveler is exposed to friendliness surprising moments and even to new friendships!

.

.

[ A new art of travelling ]

.

Some people think you have to be young, sporty, and to afford the luxury of traveling outside the box. In fact, you only need two things: envy and adaptability.

No need to go to the world’s end to practice slow travel and no need to take a sabbatical year either! The safest way to a successful escape is to avoid the most touristic places during peak hours… Some will leave their backpack and only rely on meetings during their journey, but slow travel does not exclude comfort.

Others prefer service exchanges, which is common today and everywhere. A One Night Couchsurfing can easily turn into a very nice holiday week with your hosting for local personal guide. Never would you have discovered the city this way between scheduled visits and changing towns every two days.

Switching houses, sleepover at the inhabitant, all this can be considered before leaving. Just like the Woofing that offers you bed and board in exchange of small volunteer work or home babysitting in magical places.

Which tour operator will allow you to share a few days the life of a rural family near Phnom Penh or to voluntarily help the teams of an animal shelter in the Australian bush? Who, except you, can seize the opportunity to explore Pompeï perfectly alone with a guide (a little bit venal but) fascinating, just when closing the site to the public? There are many ways to discover a country, a region whether they are tourist or not, and in your own time.

.

.

[ Both positive and useful ]

.

The pleasures of discovery, the encounters and the unique experiences that offer us a fresh look at the world. These are the first benefits of slow travel. But it can also be very economical. By taking time, accommodation and transport costs are easily reduced; sometimes, we even succeed to delete them.

Finally, the slow Traveler prefers train, boat, walking or cycling to the plane or car rental. Ceasing to make flea jumps across a continent in a very short time, he reduces his climate footprint. Without forgetting that consuming locally, he supports the people who give it back.

If you think that traveling is not just about discovering new sceneries, that meeting makes the salt of the journey and mutual respect gathers, why not try to travel differently?

.

.

Photos: ©Gabriel.Pielke / ©David.Lemanski / ©Vincent.Kronental / ©Romain.Pujols.Benoit

Back to blog