Slow Travel (1): Five reasons for decelerated trips

Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place (Rumi)

 

It was in Hampi (India) the place I learnt to love so much, when I sat down in one of the many restaurants to drink a chai in order to escape the midday heat. There I met a young man who traveled the “whole” Indian subcontinent in six weeks. Well I suppose it was less the whole subcontinent than a travelling through the Lonely Planet highlights.

We started to chat and we told each other about our travels. He was surprised to hear about my slow way of traveling. I could really watch him realising, what he was missing alone in Hampi, because he was there only for three days, hurrying through the temples and of course by renting a rickshaw alone every day.

But what are the advantages of traveling slow and how can you do that? Here the attempt of an answer.

 

1. Experience destinations in a different way

When you stay longer at places or attractions, you can experience them in a complete different way. No ticking off of temples, museums or townscapes but instead diving in, feeling with all senses, making breaks and just resting at good places – all this enables deeper and awe-inspiring experiences. And you don’t have to ask yourself which persons you met at which places, or which attractions have been where.

 

Make a break (Pai, Thailand)

 

Many of us want to see as many different things as possible within a short time-frame, under the motto “Who knows, if I ever come back”. But this does not work, as there are always more places, you want to see – no matter how much in a hurry you are traveling, and how much attractions you see on one day. If you see it like this, traveling on your own initiative is always a decision against something, and it might be wise to experience the places you decide for with all senses. The good news: There is always something to see, as you want to see more, the more you are traveling. And on the spot you often find more options for sightseeing and activities, which are not mentioned in your guidebook.

I met on my travels many people who were sad, because they had not enough time for the single places and all – no matter how speedy they were traveling – had activities or places on their list, which they couldn’t do. It is as always: the decision for something is also the decision against something else.

 

2. Meeting people

The small shop at the corner, the “favourite” pub, or the guest house owner. If you stay longer than two, three days on a place you meet more people. Of course travelers but also locals – insights in every day life and nice chats are way more easier.

 

3. To be left alone

In countries where it is usual to be chatted up is part of the daily routine, it can be a relief to stay longer at a place. The main actors (taxi and rickshaw resp. tuk-tuk drivers, street vendors and other “friends”) remember faces and persons quickly according to my experience and leave you alone on the third day at the latest.

 

4. Traveling cheaper

This might be an important one. To stay at less places for a longer time reduces of course the transport costs. Same is true for walking or renting a bycicle instead taking a driver for one day. Sometimes it is also possible to negotiate the price of your guesthouse, when you intend to stay longer.

And if you take a bit of time for some research on the spot you might find the really good and/or cheap offers. Those are not always the most obvious.

Additionally it is also less likely that you are ripped off. I think mainly because at the latest after two days you  not only know the pricing structures but also the local tricks.

 

5. And last but not least. because our world is fast enough anyway.

Really. There is no reason to be as busy as at home on travels. It does good to do nothing sometimes, and this works nowhere better, than when you are on the road. Travelling as intentional contrast programme to the often hectic every day life enables not only different experiences and deeper insights but also a more relaxed view at our environment – also after returning home.

 

*****

Which reasons for slow travels do you have? I’m looking forward to your comment.

And next here practical tips how to travel slow…

 

 

 

 

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