I was asked at the start of the year to give a definition of slow travel to accompany an article I’d written for a website.
I thought about it for a while. Although slow travel has its roots intertwined with the slow food movement which began decades ago, when I write about slower travel it’s from a modern perspective. This is my interpretation, for a world where our phones are forever in our pockets, and the term ‘overtourism’ has its own Wikipedia page.
For me, slow travel is not just about reducing the speed by which we reach a destination, it’s how we experience it when we’re there.
The phrase is often associated with trains, boats, walking—antidotes to air travel—but, arguably, it’s also a mindset.
Can we notice the layers of the landscape with our eyes first, rather than a lens? Could we research the hidden histories of a place, rather than simply search for the ‘shot’ we’ll post later on Instagram? Might we even forgo the ‘top ten’ lists and instead create our own itineraries, based on our likes, interests, moods?
Slow travel may not involve going to a country’s most popular places (or necessarily outside your own borders or local authority area at all) but instead making your own memories beyond what you’re told you should see.
Thanks to the speed in which we go about our lives in this technological age, I think the concept of slow travel is more important than ever.
What does the phrase ‘slow travel’ mean to you?