Slow travel is about focusing on the innate aspects of a destination – be it the main attractions, food, culture, or people. It also gives weight to sustainable practices and respects local communities. It is about prioritizing on the ‘now’ rather than simply covering a tourist destination or ticking off a to-do travel list.
So, if you have been wondering about ‘what is slow travel’ then it is nothing but an emphasis on taking in the essence of a place rather than just visiting it on the periphery.
For instance, instead of capturing moments only in photographs; also capture it in your memory. Scan the landscape and immerse in the experience that is the way of the locals. Instead of running from one attraction to another; explore just one thoroughly (at a time). Traverse through the local markets just as the residents are doing. Breathe in the experiences. Eat where the locals do and not at places highlighted on tourist brochures.
In short slow travel focuses on quality (how much of an experience you amassed) than quantity (how many attractions in a destination you covered).
It is an ideology. A code of travel conduct.
Slow travel movement is the buzzword these days. But it is not for everyone. It requires commitment to what is considered the opposite of traditional travel or commercial tourism.
Tips for Slow Travel
Avoid a planned itinerary.
Simply book your tickets and accommodation and leave the rest to spontaneity. Let the vibe of a place be your guide. For instance, if you are in Rajasthan, India; choose a day to simply travel by road to a village; observe their way of life as they go about their day; find a local host (you will not have difficulty here), and taste regional delicacies (homemade and commercially-prepared food in restaurants). Once you land in a destination, simply follow your instincts and let the slowness take you where you have never been before.
Take time to explore an attraction.
Instead of flitting from one tourist place to another; become a student. For instance, if you are in Chennai, India; study the temple you are visiting. Survey the intricate art on its pillars. Learn about its fascinating history. Know about the legend behind the deity residing in it. Visit the temple town and observe the buzz of the visitors in the morning and evening and murmurs in the afternoon (when temples are mostly closed for darshan but usually sightseeing is still permitted).
Choose an experience.
And focus on that one experience only. For instance, attend a local fair and spend the day enjoying it. Or participate in festivities when visiting a country like India (Krishna Janmashtami, Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi; all upcoming festivals in India in the next few weeks) and completely take in the local traditions and witness a way of life. Or participate in a local art workshop such a puppetry in Rajasthan or coir-making in Kerala.
Benefits of Slow Travel
Ever wondered why you feel so tired and stressed after a holiday (that was supposed to be relaxing)! Now, who wouldn’t be tired running from one airport to another; one destination to another, and one attraction to another. Slow travel will actually rejuvenate you at the end of your trip. You will feel more energized and revitalized – in every way.
More for your Buck(s)
Immersing in experiences and local culture is informative and almost always an eye-opener. Studying architecture in forts, temple, and palaces is educational. Learning about history of a place and finding evidence for the same is a different experience than reading it from a brochure or a website. Such first-hand education is priceless.
Because slow travel is about local culture and communities; you are likely to stay in homestays or opt for couchsurfing than choose expensive hotel chains for your accommodation; you are going to end up saving money as well.
When you stay with the locals during your travels; you are bound to make lifelong friends or connections. Such associations can be priceless just by way of learning and experiences. Imagine making friends with people despite language barriers. Imagine the depth of it and the fun!
Local Economy and Community Support
Via slow travel, you can actually contribute to a destination’s local economy and community-building. Why not trade skills? You can learn something from your host (local delicacies, some craft, words in a new language) and you can teach something (whatever you can).
Good for the Environment
And yes, slow travel is way (way more) kinder to the environment. You will commute less. You will use resources mindfully. You are more likely to eat like the locals do and waste less food (if you are prone to it).
Becoming an observer. That is what slow travel is all about – just be in the moment wherever you are and enjoy each one. And travel without expectations. Let the slow rhythm take you where you need to be and make the most of it.
So, are you ready for slow travel? India is one of the best places for it. There is a new experience to have in every corner of every region. With such diversity in terms of cuisines, languages, traditions, and more; you can bask in one enriching thing after another. You can easily book flights to India via your reliable booking partner Indian Eagle and engage more deeply with your new surroundings.
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