Let's start with something Nicky Gardner wrote in Hidden Europe Magazine. Nicky evokes the
image of a 29-year-old Robert Louis Stevenson as he travels by donkey through the French
countryside, attentive to every twist and turn in the road. She contrasts Stevenson's trip
(immortalized in Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, 1879) to contemporary travel, in
which people typically "pack themselves "ike sardines into fragile aluminium tubes and speed
through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour."
Speed. Nicky suggests that the real pleasure of a journey may be lost by people who are too
intent on reaching, as efficiently as possible, each successive "target" on a list of "can't miss"
destinations. For such people, speed is essential because the journey itself is regarded as an
unwanted interlude. Speed is of less interest, however, to slow travelers, who take time to
explore communities along the way, to "dawdle and pause" as the spirit moves them.
First there was slow food. The Slow Food movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986.
For Petrini, the art of living is about "learning to give time to each and every thing." Slow Food
began in Italy began as a protest against the opening of a McDonald's near the Spanish Steps
in Rome. But the movement was always about a lot more than just hamburgers.
The Slow Food movement promotes the preservation and enjoyment of local foods, honoring
traditions of gastronomy and food production created centuries ago. Adherents want to
preserve what is sane and healthy, and generally resist all things fast, such as hastily
produced industrial fast foods distributed through global food production chains. Currently
more than 25,000 Americans belong to 225 chapters of Slow Food USA.
|Copyright © 2012-2013
James Emil Flege
In this TED Talk (In praise of slowness, 2005) journalist Carl Honoré states
his belief that speed tends to erode health, productivity and quality of life. He
draws a distinction between "good slow" and "bad slow". Do you agree?
|So why slow? What's the big deal?
Slow travel | Slowtrav | Top 10 reasons to "go slow"
Get a taste of slow travel in this Rick Steves video filmed in Tuscany. Two
highly intelligent dogs, Nick and Susie, have used truffles to train their owner to
take them on long walks in the countryside
|To relax, finally!|
|Avoid crowds & |
|Save some money|
|See things |
|through the eyes |
of a local
|Gain insight & |
|Make a new friend |
|along the way, |
|Re-learn to |
|appreciate life’s |
|You set your own |
|time schedule, not |
the tour company
|No one tells you |
|where to go and |
what to do
|Concrete way to |
|be kind to the |
|Top 10 reasons
to "go slow"
Popularity. Slow Travel is never likely to become wildly popular. It is the antithesis of mass travel by virtue of the
fact that it tends to be self-organized, and sometimes even disorganized! Even were slow travel to become
popular, slow travelers would instinctively seek ways to avoid ending up all together in the same place at the same
Slow travel draws some of its inspiration from the slow food movement but, like the Slow Food movement, it is
multi-faceted. Importantly, slow travel is about more than just de-emphsizing speed. Slow travelers stay put in one
place long enough to really experience it. A common length of stay is one or two weeks, usually in a vacation
rental that includes a kitchen. Some people opt for a cottage in the countryside, others rent a small apartment in
a provincial town which frees them from the need to have a rental car. Families with kids often rent a house near a
beach. Larger parties, or couples with a big budget, rent villas in the countryside and hire a private chef.
Fitting in. Local people like slow travelers more than traditional tourists, especially those being herded around by
a tour guide. Slow travel is, after all, a form of imitation -- and thus flattery. Slow travelers try living for awhile like
local people. They buy fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and fresh pasta in specialized local stores. They ask for advice
on how to prepare local foods using the local ingredients they have purchased. Having demonstrated a
willingness to "blend in", slow travelers are apt to get lots of help and suggestions in a curious blend of the local
language and English.
Making time, taking time. Slow travelers save a lot of time by not moving constantly from destination to
destination. Their actual "travel" is confined to day trips on foot, by bike or bus, or by rented car to points of
interest nearby. So what do they do with all the time they've saved? Some slow travelers sit by a fountain and
listen to it gurgle. Others sketch, read, or explore side streets in the hope of getting lost. Those who are outgoing
try talking to local people even if they don't speak the local language. Nearly everyone takes time to sip coffee (or
wine) in a café as they watch people and clouds pass by.
|Slow travel is a great way
to avoid crowds & long lines