There was a time when I was always caught in a frenzy when I travelled, especially overseas. I used to gulp breakfast and rush out of the hotel, run from one sight to another, go crazy on the shutter – even take pictures from a moving bus or a train and not rest until I have “seen them all.” The FAM trips were no better . Most itineraries are packed and the organisers try to maximise every single moment they spend on us. But of late when am travelling on my own or on personal trips, I have become a great fan of slow travel. I believe Less is More and I get a chance to plan my own trips, at my own pace. Here are some reasons why I love slow travel.
A sense of high
Perhaps it is a bit like having a glass of wine, taking one sip at a time, feeling it in your palate, letting your mind imbibe its flavour, getting a bit giddy and slowly feeling high ! And that probably is why I love slow travel. It is an attitude that you cultivate. Its about savouring the destination, rather than jumping from one place to another, on a manic sightseeing spree. Let the romance of the destination linger in your head than it be lost like an one night stand.
Live like a local
Be it three days or thirty days, I live like a local – going for morning walks, shopping in a supermarket, cooking in an apartment, watching free performances, sitting on squares and observing life pass me by.
This is my second trip to US and I have been living like a local here, cooking at home and going to the neighbourhood stores and walking along beaches. I wake up when I please. And watch Netflix or read a book if I dont have anything to do, or blog like I am doing now. When we were at NYC, the husband used to work during the day and I used to roam around on my own – meet people or sit in Starbucks or head to a museum or walk around Central Park. I used to discover little eateries. In London, I found old pubs in Fleet Street that were once haunted by journalists and writers.
Slow travel is a state of mind. It ‘s about choices that you make as a traveller when you visit the destination. There is no sense of FOMO. You discover places on the go or you plan the day based on your interests. Sometimes I walk on the same road several times and find something different each time. In Barcelona, I would just spend hours on La Ramblas and find a new monument every time. In Brussels I went to different home made chocolate shops while in Bruges, I heard romantic tales by a lake.
When I went to Cannes, I made an impromptu plan to go to Grasse on my own. The choices you make define you. When the husband and I went to Germany for the first time, we did the Rhine cruise on our own. We would stop by at any village we liked, got in and out of train stations and spent time just walking around vineyards.
Experiences rather than sightseeing
Travel in my opinion is not just about sights and sounds. It can be immersive experiences or walks, or vegetating like me 🙂 Sometimes I like to just sit in a square and watch life pass me by. I go on wine tours or beer tasting, do a chocolate course, pick strawberries or peaches, go on road trips or just explore unusual sights. I found a teddy bear museum in Santa Barbara and a heard a ghost story around an inn in Ireland. My favourite experience is a ferry ride to Ile Saints Marguerite in Cannes where I discovered the tryst between the Man in the Iron Mask and the island.
Focus on conversations
People make places – the lady in the museum, the cab driver, the fellow companion in a bus ride, a tour guide – they all tell stories. In Scotland, I met some interesting men who told me why they like lager to single malts. Ireland is a great place for conversations with the whacky humourous people. Step into any bar and they are great company. The men in Turkey are charming and flirtatious and if you go into the bazaars, you will for sure come back with interesting conversations. I am in touch with many people I have met during my travels – tour guides or restaurant owners and they have enriched my travel experiences.
I have probably become a lazy traveller but it feels like am more in love with travel, than with the idea of travel now. This may be the era of selfies and snapchats but I like to just feel the wind in my hair and soak in the moment in silence . Have you tried slow travel ? Believe me, you will love it.