Is travel fun anymore, anyhow? Ever feel like you need to take a vacation when you get back from your trip? That you’ve been so busy checking off your list of must-sees that you forget the whole purpose of getting away in the first place? You probably succumbed to the compulsion to wring all you can out of precious-little vacation time and money.
The typical Silicon Valley approach to travel needs some serious therapy.
In our exponentially tech-expanding world, perhaps a real holiday deliberately turns its back on the package tours, the frenzied destination-hopping, the long-distance driving. It’s time to regress in our travel attitudes.
Enter the concept of “Slow Travel.” Inspired by the slow-food movement to counter the proliferation of fast-food eating behavior, Slow Travel offers the experience of becoming a temporary resident as opposed to a rush-through tourist. This travel style allows you to savor the culture around you, to fall into the rhythms of the locals. Like spending a whole Sunday afternoon eating all three courses for lunch at the French café. Instead of grabbing a quick bite and then galloping down the road to the next sight.
How to accomplish this? By deliberately limiting the number of stops in your itinerary. Say you’ve got three weeks to play with. Some might think you could hit the highlights of Europe with that much time. But who needs or wants the same break-neck pace on holiday that many must cope with on the job? Okay, so suppose you decide to focus solely on Spain. Surely you can “do” the whole country with that much time, right?
Think again. The ideal Slow Travel itinerary means to settle in at one location for a week or at a minimum five days. Rent an apartment or house in a good area and get a feel for your neighborhood.
- Spend most of your time visiting the towns and villages within half an hour of your base.
- Do a couple of day trips to locales no further than an hour away.
- Limit yourself to one long day trip further away that’s an exceptional place.
So as an example, back to that trip to Spain. How about a week each in Madrid, Granada and Sevilla? You can easily travel by train between these cities, ditching the need for a car. Having a leisurely week in each destination frees you up to be more spontaneous. Got bad weather the day you planned to see the Alhambra of Granada? No worries. Visit instead the Hammam Al Andalus, a series of sensuous, candle-lit indoor Arab baths. Go to the Alhambra on another day. It’s such a more relaxing way to experience a place and relieves the stress of fretting about missing out.
Opt to recharge and repurpose on your next vacation by taking the Slow Travel approach.
Want to learn more about Slow Travel? Check out slowtrav.com.
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