None of us will forget the year 2020: the year our lives were put on hold; the year everything changed. Unwillingly separated from loved ones; our homes converted into offices, schools and gyms; and the privilege of travel suddenly revoked.
As we all take a slower, more thoughtful approach to travel, how we travel becomes just as important as where we travel. While we may not (initially) travel as often and as freely as we once did, when we do actually travel, we’ll make it count with longer, more private and immersive stays in one destination. Quality over quantity.
5 benefits of slow travel
1. Gain a deeper appreciation
Spending more time in one place gives travelers a chance to dive deeper into a destination. To really understand and experience the soul of a place and its people.
Take the time to immerse yourself in a landscape and its unique cultural and natural heritage. Learn about the destination, engage in real conversations with the local people you meet and experience more of the adventures on offer.
Instead of simply ticking off a bucket list destination, slow down to gain a deeper, more meaningful connection with it. Take the time to learn, understand, interact with and fall in love with the heart of the place.
2. Rest and Reset
We live such fast-paced lives and in an effort to maximize our time ‘off’, we often take holidays that are just as busy as our work lives. When you give yourself more time in one place, it removes that travel guilt of having to be everywhere, doing everything.
Give your soul a chance to catch up with your body. Press the pause button on life and really let yourself relax, de-stress and unwind. With more time in a destination, you can enjoy some ‘you’ time without missing out on the adventures.
3. Get back to nature
If anything, lockdown has certainly taught us to appreciate, respect and connect with nature more. Nature is our remedy and being confined to our homes this year has inspired many of us to get outside and embrace the great outdoors.
More time in a destination allows you to really slow down to see the smaller things and appreciate the nurturing freedom (and safety) of the earth’s wide open natural spaces.
Take the time to go on long walks, swim in the ocean, lose yourself in a forest, hike a mountain trail or just sit in the sunshine. Most importantly, disconnect all of your distracting devices so that you can truly reconnect with the mood-boosting and restorative benefits of Mother Nature.
4. Give back
The local communities that rely on tourism for their livelihood have been the hardest hit. As we seek to maximize our time away, spending more time in a destination allows those neighboring communities to benefit.
As the world slowly emerges from this crisis, we have a global duty to travel more responsibly, sustainably and safely than we used to. Now, more than ever, we have a shared, and even more critical, responsibility to (further) minimize our footprint on the earth and to give back to the destination we choose to explore. Ensure that our travels directly benefit the land, wildlife and people of your destination.
5. Less ‘do’ and more ‘be’
Last, but certainly not least, is the benefit of simply ‘being’. The first, and only, rule of slow travel is that you can (and must) do away with a schedule. The beauty of staying longer in one place is time, glorious time. Some days can be adventurous and energetic, while others can be unapologetically lazy and idle. Take your watch off, put your cell phone away and just be present.