Everyone seems to extol the virtues of "slow travel". “Slow down, get to know the culture, take your time" is wonderful (although sometimes condescending) advice that travel writers and, yes, even travel professionals give to clients. We sometimes have the benefit of being able to spend more time in one place and have a flexibility that others may not. But, to me, "slow travel" isn't about moving at a snail's pace or spending weeks in one destination. It is simply avoiding the urge to cram in as much as possible into a short period of time...and eliminating the possibility for one of those happy "accidents" of travel.
I wish I had a dollar for every client who wants to "do" Venice, Rome, Florence and Tuscany in a 7-day Italian vacation. Or all four major Hawaiian Islands in 8 or 9 days. Or join one of the "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" whirlwind escorted tours of Europe...8 countries in 14 days! I understand why people feel like they have to squeeze so much into a visit, but let's really think about this:
Every time you move locations, you have to get up, pack, grab breakfast, transfer to the airport or train station, go through security, wait for your flight or train, fly or rail to the next destination, possibly fight immigration & customs, wait for your luggage, transfer to the next hotel, check-in, find your room and throw your suitcase on the bed. All you really want to do at that point is take a nap! But you can't...you have to hurry out the door to see everything that awaits in your new location...because you only have 2 days here!
Figure that each move also has a price tag attached for transfers, checked luggage fees, the cost of your train ticket or flight, taxis and expensive junk food you pick up in the airport or train station. It can add up quickly
Most importantly, you will burn out. You will be exhausted with no memories of your vacation except for the photos on your iPhone. The faster you go and the more you do, the less you EXPERIENCE.
Slowing down and enjoying your surroundings also opens you up to the possibility of experiencing one of those "happy accidents" of travel. Like the time you start talking to a cafe owner and end up sharing a bottle of wine and laughing the afternoon away. Or take a left turn off the hiking path because that mountain looks like one that needs to be climbed. Or follow the sounds of some amazing music only to find the rehearsal spot of an incredible family of jazz musicians whose father used to play with Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong...and they invite you in to listen! (That one really happened to me and my kids in Haleiwa town on the north shore of Oahu). THOSE are the memories you will always treasure!
So slow down! Spend less time in train stations and more time in the cafe getting to know the local people. Duck into that book store that looks fascinating. Destinations are more than check marks on a "bucket list". Instead of seeing things quickly...why not experience them DEEPLY?
Are you ready to start planning your next vacation where you can slow down and enjoy the local culture? If so, then contact me HERE or reply to this email. I'll be glad to spend so time finding out what will make a vacation special for you.