Slow travel has been buzzy for a few years now, but the pandemic has travelers leisurely strolling in droves. Slow travel is, of course, traveling with the intention to connect with, learn about, and appreciate a destination and culture. Slow travel asks travelers questions about sustainability and environmental considerations regarding the destinations visited, as well as traveler impact on the local economy and communities while there. Slow travel offers the opportunity to stand still, stretch out, and take in more, growing a connection to a place. With more dedicated and thoughtful time, the quality of both life and travel in a destination can be bettered. Nowhere is slow travel better accomplished than in the road trip.
My slow travel trip centered on Greece, and Athens in particular. Some of the slow travel was “forced” upon me, and some, by choice. It was so hot from late morning that my normal outdoor activities (cycling, exploring, walking) were severely curtailed.
But it did force me to enjoy other activities, like museums, the Greek coffee culture, poolside leisure (admittedly very minimal), wine tasting, and reading.
Likewise, getting stuck in a monsoon in Hawaii does the same thing, except everything must be indoors. Though I skipped the hula lessons and cooking classes, I managed to “shelter in place” during the storm. We only lost power twice!
Wherever I go, I really try to make a strong connection to the native people. I made such good friends in Athens; they now call me their brother. So, here’s to George, Vasily, and Stavros, my new brothers.
Speaking of slow travel, how about a two-week train trip across Siberia and Russia? Yes, I did that back in 2014, with only two stops, Lake Baikal (Irkutsk) and Yekaterinburg. The trip was interesting but realize that each kilometer and each 100 meters are marked off with signs!!! Perhaps a bit mesmerizing, but when there is no internet, and when there was no more cold beer or vodka, why not? The total trip was 9289 kilometers (5772 miles) and 8 time zones, the longest railway in the world, covering one third of the earth’s surface!!! If you want my blogs on the TSR, let me know.
Like many travelers, I have a desire to see as much as possible. But sometimes, it pays to just stay put, relax, and enjoy the country or city where you land. Returning to countries previously visited also provides opportunities to make a better connection.
I feel so fortunate I can call people I know in places like Thailand, Malaysia, Greece, Cambodia, Peru, Mexico City, Poland, England, Toronto, Tokyo, Switzerland, and many more.
Likewise, the same goes for people here in the US.
I strongly encourage you to enjoy slow travel.