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I want to know more about the idea of Slow Travelling !

Hi everyone !

As I've said in my arrival thread post, I'm quite new to the idea of slow travelling and I'm here to know more about it cause I think the philosophy behind this type of trip is really interesting :)

So if you can take some time to answer my questions that would help me a lot in planning my next travel the slow way :D !

(I'm going to present my questions in the form of a list to make it easier for you to read! And if my post has nothing to do here, pls tell and I'll delete :) )

- What type of trips are you doing ? Are you going by bus, train, bicycle or by foot ? For how long do you leave ?
- During these long trips what are the main activities you practice (hiking, kayaking, biking, discovery etc...) ?
- What are your main motivations / expectations that push you not to do a "traditional" trip ? I was thinking about the importance of the journey of going somewhere and also about the ecological side of the trip.
- Finally and maybe the most important one : who are you guys ahah ? Are you students, people enjoying their retirement to the fullest, moms and dads... ?

I hope you guys can light me up on these questions and help me in planning my future slow travel trip :D

Valentin :)
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Hello Valentin! This is an article that I wrote about Slow Travel:

For me Slow Travel is not how you get somewhere but what you do when you are there. My husband and I are based in the UK and we drive to our destinations. We used to fly a few times a year but are still avoiding flights because of Covid. We do trips from 2 - 6 weeks.

Hiking is our main activity when traveling but we also like to explore the villages and towns.

I find “traditional” trips are too rushed and don’t let you see the details of a place. For ecological practice I do more of that in my day to day life than when traveling. I am driven to travel, to go to different countries, with a passion that I don’t quite understand.

My husband and I are retired, originally from Canada/US, and living as expats in the UK.

This felt like a job interview!
Hi Valentin
My views may differ from others, or come from a different angle to them.

For me it's about what I want to experience - the local culture, and meeting people embedded in that culture, and for appreciating the way of life. A 'sense of place'. Where the 'slow' comes in, is in not treating it like a race to 'tick off' a list of famous sites/sights, but rather taking time to get to know a place better, seeing more of what it has to offer beyond what's listed in a tourist guide book. Of loving the ordinary yet genuine.

Just as with Slow Food's inception (a reaction to a McDonalds branch opening at a famous location in Rome), mine is as much derived from a reaction to the blight that modern mass tourism can bring: of ignorant tourists treating the destination like Disneyland, and of businesses that thrive by offering rubbish (but in 6 different languages) knowing that even if the tourist spots how bad it is, there are many more who will continue to enter the shop/restaurant/cafe. I hate the disrespect for the culture, and disrespect for the place and its people by dropping litter, or demanding they should adapt to what that tourist wants.

That's why I'm at times hypocritical, in being a tourist who doesn't want to be surrounded by other tourists. Invariably if there are *lots* of tourists there, the culture of the place gets eroded by the influence of tourism. I'd much rather spend a week in a humdrum town and get to experience it, than a tourist hotspot whose beauty and identity is being eroded by mass tourism.

I wouldn't argue mine would be a 'definition' of Slow Travel, but it's my perspective on it.
We are Australian and at home we tend to do road trips in our camper with short three and four night stays for a few weeks, with some week long stays at the beach. We are now retired and in our late sixties.

We have been visiting France since 2006, every two years pre Covid with a cancelled trip in 2020. Even on our first trip ( 5 weeks ), we decided to spend a week in each place and in 2014 we started staying two weeks in some places. We have to this point, spent 56 weeks in France.

We stay in self catering holiday rentals ( gites )and we use this as a base for day trips around the region. We visit villages, natural features, some chateaux, abbeys etc and we go for walks, not necessarily hikes. We do not visit large cities, preferring small towns and villages or gites in the countryside, and are quite happy staying in areas that are less well known to overseas travellers. We do not eat out a lot, both because of budget and because we enjoy shopping for food and cooking " at home" in our gite. Since 2014 our trips have been ten weeks and we are returning in April for ten weeks.

Over several trips to France we have seen a lot of the big ticket places as well as a multitude of lovely places that never get mentioned in guide books or on travel forums. At this stage in our travels it is more about just being there and enjoying where we are than it is about ticking boxes and lists of " must sees ", " must dos " and " must eat at restaurants ". It is about having the time to detour to see some ruins or stop for something unexpected, or just sit around reading a book on the terrace ( if we have one !! ).

Everyone has different ways of travel and when I see the itineraries some people propose where they rush from place to place with everything planned down to the last minute, I am forever grateful we discovered the Slow travel concept very early. It has given us enormous pleasure over the years and hopefully we are not finished yet!!
Hey Phirhon and Ian, thank you so much for your answers they are super interesting.

I definitely agree with both of them. I think that the point of view you have of Slow Travel is kind of what I was expecting and that makes me happy ahah cause I think it's a great POV.

Thank you for that :D
To me, Slow Travel is not necessarily a long trip of many days. My concepts for Slow Travel are:
  • Staying at least 3 nights in the same place, or even 4 or 5 nights. This gives you time to really get to know the place you're in.
  • Scheduling only 2 or 3 things to do each day at the most and leave the rest of the time for just walking around and discovering new things.
  • Include "down time" in your trip. It can be a whole day or at least half a day. This helps rest and rejuvenate your mind and body.
I'm a natural slow traveler, but everyone's style of traveling is different. Some thrive on the go, go, go and see everything. That's OK too.
I just want to chime in because it was Pauline who introduced me to slow travel in Europe in the late 1990's. My concept is much the same as everyone else's here with a couple of twists. I like to base myself in one spot for the 3 or 4 weeks I am on vacation and have gone back to one particular area repeatedly because I have made real friendships there that I am in touch with year round. Of course just to stay interested and attend to my curiosity I will take a few days to drive to another region I'm unfamiliar with and explore more of Italy.

Ciao, Valentin,

Cheryl Alexander
My/our passion is wildlife and safari type holidays. We have been doing it for years since retirement. These type of trips can be done very slowly if you plan it yourself with a local touring company, for example, India or Tanzania as we do. Immersing yourself in real wildlife is mesmerising and you get hooked on it, but a once in a lifetime trip can be very therapeutic as well.
Message me if you want some serious advice
When I travel, I always pick the places I wish I could live! So everywhere I go, I like to stay at least 2 weeks, and up to 3 months, and just pretend I live there! It's easier to do in Italy because we actually did live there! I still want to visit some touristy sites, but I can slow down and take my time - maybe spend two entire (but not consecutive) days at one place - I can visit Assisi for the whole day, just wandering. No agenda. Then I can go back a week later and visit a museum or a few churches. But no rush, because I still have time to come back another day!
Slow travel for us (semi retired) is more than scratching the surface of where you end up. How you get there is less important to us. But once you get there, we use the tag line of trying to live like a local, seeing what they see, eating what they eat and just experience the real essence of the place, get up, eat and go to bed when locals do. I don't think you can do that unless you stay a number of days in the one place, go to the plaza, sit and watch people live, learn some words, walk their paths. We likely will travel out of season, as that is when you see people living their real lives.

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