I rush a lot of things in life; waking up in the morning, assignments, eating, talking on the phone – mainly because I want to get things done quicker, to fit more things into my day. But there is one thing I don’t rush, and that is travel. I try to travel as slow as possible; the longest distance for the longest time. I never want travel to end and so far it never has. It has been 5 years now since I left ‘my old life’ as I like to call it, the one with routine, secure jobs and secure relationships. My ‘new life’ is inconsistent, unpredictable, rid of routine and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, you won’t see me counting countries, or only going places I haven’t been – I’m in no rush to travel to every country in the world, or tick off every American state. Sure, that would be great, but I want to take things slow, and here’s why I think slow travel is imperative to a good life.

The Importance of Slow Travel

Travel is the best education you can get, and you’ll never stop learning

It’s crazy how much more I learn when I’m traveling compared to when I’m not. My brain feels like a sponge and my energy levels feel unlimited. In a way, when I learn so intensely like this, I feel naive. Naive that I didn’t know yesterday what I know today, and foolish for going through these small 27 years without knowing useless things like elephants only walk on the tips of their toes. But also important things like the Ebola virus kills 4 out of every 5 humans it infects. Both of these facts I learnt in the most random ways while allowing my time to be spent learning.

Removing the rush and avoiding the crowds

I love being able to ditch the guidebook and ‘must-sees’ and let myself discover everything for myself. When you are not in a rush you allow yourself to stumble upon things you never would have before, and get lost without stressing about how to get home. However, one of my favorite things to do is visit a tourist attraction on the break of dawn or just before sunset and get it all to myself. For example, when I was in Cappadocia in Turkey, my friend and I climbed up onto a hotel’s rooftop at 5am to watch the hot air balloons rise, for at least an hour there wasn’t another person in sight. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as experiencing something that magical without the crowds.

The Importance of Slow Travel

 

Connecting with the culture

I really don’t understand how you can learn much about a country or a culture within a weekend? Yes, you can get a feel for it, but can you really learn? I remember heading to Colombia for just 4 days, I had been warned of how dangerous it was for a solo traveller, and naively I thought the rumours were true. So I kept my head down and gave myself 4 days. Those 4 days turned into 7 weeks. As each day went by I learnt more and more about the people, the country, the food and the language. I fell head-over-heels and it remains my favourite country in the world. Thank God I decided to open my eyes to what was in front of me rather than listening to other people’s opinions.

Doing less is actually more

My absolutely favourite thing to do when I am in a new country is to grab my camera and go for a walk, stopping at whatever coffee shop takes my fancy. I can spend a whole day just people-watching, taking photos and drinking coffee. Another thing I adore is taking my watch off and not worrying about the time, allowing the day to take me where it wishes. Slow travel gives me this luxury.

The Importance of Slow Travel

I’ve got my head in the clouds most of the time, but that’s exactly where it belongs, slow travel has got me hooked and I love being able to explore one footstep at a time. Who’s joining me?


This is a guest post by Sarah Richard.

Scuba diving in Micronesia Sarah is a 27-year old digital nomad, who has been on the road for the last 5 years, working as a Divemaster, travel writer and editor while running her blog www.coffeewithasliceoflife.com. Follow her coffee-drinking ways over on her Facebook and Instagram or give her an email at sarah@coffeewithasliceoflife.com.