Slow Travel – Why It’s Definitely For Me!
After so many years of travel, I’ve finally figured out why I love slow travel and why it’s definitely for me!
In the beginning of my travel career, I loved visiting somewhere new every couple of weeks. Since I travel via sponsorship the trips were usually work-related (not that I complained about experiencing gorgeous resorts).
But I missed not being able to really immerse myself into the culture, people, and food. One of my favorite things is to spend a month or more in a destination so I can experience everything about it.
I will never give up my sponsored travel; it’s something that I am very passionate about but I also wanted to add slow travel into the mix.
So, when I get out the old Atlas (okay, full disclosure here; I actually break out the computer and Google a world map) I close my eyes and point…really, I do!
Funny thing…in the past year, my finger has landed on Italy! I’ve been back 3 times.
What Is Slow Travel?
Imagine living for a few weeks or a month in a small villa in the Tuscan mountains, meandering through your local town buying fresh fruits and vegetables, sipping cappuccinos while sitting in a sidewalk café people watching, and taking unhurried day trips to nearby villages. Sounds absolutely perfect, doesn’t it?
That’s the beauty of slow travel, where the idea is to take your time and really SEE the sights as opposed to the craziness around visiting tourist locations on a time constraint tour.
Slow travel allows you to see new places and explore new cultures in a way that’s relaxed, more courteous to your host country, and probably cheaper.
Not surprisingly, slow travel is a result of the slow food movement developed by the Italians in the 1980s while protesting the opening of McDonald’s. The Italians are passionate about everything…food, wine, music, and how they all connect with each other and family.
Slow travel is a mindset. Instead of trying to cram as much of a town, city, or country into a trip, a slow traveler will take the time to explore and discover their destination through their experience as a local.
Bonding With Local Life
Another reason that I love slow travel and why it’s definitely for me is that I’ve found it allows me to form a connection with my destination. I’ve had time to make lasting friends, to take my time discovering each town I visit’s culture and food.
The people I meet become like an extended family that add value to my trips and life and who I learn the most from about the country that I’m visiting. Locals are always proud and eager to share their favorite places, food, and activities and will often be happy to join you when experiencing it.
I’ve learned how each region of a country is different and those variations might not be obvious if you run through them on some crazy tourist tour.
For instance – did you know that Red wine in the town of Chianti tastes very different than it does in the town of Montipicciano, Italy? It’s the soil, the positioning of the town itself, and the sun exposure.
Because I have the time to really live among the locals, I am often asked to join in on some of their traditions. During my first two and a half month stay in Tuscany the family of the Airbnb that I rented asked me to help harvest olives with them. It was an amazing experience and one I won’t forget!
Where To Stay
My biggest tip here is to stay in a local Airbnb. It’s almost always more cost-effective. Hotels and restaurants can get really expensive and not ideal for actually “living in”.
I always vet out the places that interest me the most. I only choose hosts that have the highest ratings and I usually have a few email exchanges with them to get a sense of who they are. I usually also pick places that are owned by families; they are usually happy to share their lives and experiences with you.
I don’t like sharing my accommodations so I’ll always stay in an apartment or villa with a kitchen so I have the option to cook, stay in if I want, and come and go at my own leisure. Of course, it’s totally up to how you like to travel and stay.
I also like traveling this way because it gives me a better opportunity to get sponsorships with various accommodations, restaurants, and tour companies. When I’m in an area for more than a week or two it gives the sponsors time to accommodate me.
If you have the time and chance to slow travel, it’s definitely something that you really need to consider. I highly recommend it if you want to really get to know a country, it’s people and culture. I hope you enjoyed my post, Slow Travel – Why It’s Definitely For Me! and will consider this type of travel for yourself.
Have you slow traveled before? Did you like it? Is it something you would recommend? Share your experiences with us!
Are you a female traveler? My kick-ass community of female travelers is a wonderful group where we support, encourage, and learn from each other. Click here to join!
If you’re interested in sponsored travel check out my info here.