Why I enjoy slow travel
Updated: Apr 3, 2021
Motivations and reasons to go on slow adventures
An adventure idea can sometimes come out of the blue or maybe while watching or reading some travel related material: all of a sudden a switch goes off in my mind...something that sounds like: “I wonder if….let me check that….” and suddenly I find myself searching a destination on google or looking at a map. I think I must have planned dozens of slow adventure itineraries on a whim; many of them may not become a trip and remain an adventure idea but for me, browsing through maps, websites, books and similar is already quite satisfying: it’s fun, interesting, it doesn’t cost anything and in general I like learning about new places anyway.
Although, based on my own parameters, none of my slow adventures have ever involved a high level of risk, challenging myself and pushing my boundaries is definitely one of the major motivations when it comes to a human powered adventure. It’s about keeping the balance between the level of discomfort I am prepared to accept and the personal satisfaction I get in achieving something I wasn’t really sure I would have been able to pull off...and for this reason I think it is very important to do something you actually enjoy rather than following somebody else’s ideas or suggestions.
Ideally slow travel should be done carrying a small, basic luggage (you really want to minimize the weight): while some people might find this idea quite daunting, I personally find it very liberating; I often find myself suffocated by "stuff" so, having a minimal amount of things with me, is definitely an advantage. Being minimalist in this context means less worries and comes with the added benefit of appreciating small things more: those sort of things that you normally take for granted but, if you put them in a different place and context, would become truly memorable!
On a slow adventure, you will also inevitably generate a much deeper relationship with that destination and learn much more about its culture. Instead of trying to find things to do, your day will quickly fill up with small moments that will give you some real insights about the real life that goes on in that place. Looking at people going to work or maybe shopping in a market might seem pretty meaningless but, if the essence of traveling lies in discovering different cultures, is there any better way to do that, than by looking at people getting on with their own life? I can’t imagine anything more boring than spending hours on a bus going from a place to another but I'm pretty sure that, if I was to walk that same road, I would find many interesting sights.
Whether you are traveling on your own or with other people, you will spend quite a lot of time alone with your thoughts: I actually had lots of good discussions with myself while walking or cycling! It is definitely a great opportunity to disconnect from all the noise of the world and reconnect with yourself, your dreams and your ideas. I find spending time outdoors and exercising, helps me clear my mind and see things in a different perspective: it might be the chemical reaction of more oxygen and endorphins going through my system but I tend to have most of my best ideas and eureka moments outdoors, rather than sitting in my living room!
Finally, on a slow travel on your own steam, you are free to make all decisions and set your own rules which is actually a bit of a luxury! While there will be nobody else to blame if something goes wrong, at the same time, you can give yourself full flexibility without having to ask permission to anyone, if you want to make any change. There is definitely no shame in making changes if you realize something is not working out as expected or if you are not enjoying what you are doing: after all you are using your own free time and money so why should you not enjoy it at least a little bit?!