The art of Slow Travel

28th February 2020

When was the last time you took things slow? We have come a long way from a time where ‘slow’ was considered a bad thing: slow transport systems, slow service, slow activities. Yet now, it is a heavily desired commodity. The pace of everyday life isn’t slowing down and it’s affecting the way we travel. Below, we detail what it means to take things slow with travel because the return on pleasure and satisfaction is far greater under less haste!

What is Slow Travel?

The concept of slow travel is to encourage individuals to return to the roots of why we travel. Being warped in an era where ‘slow’ sets off an unsettling impatience, fast is now a predetermined ideology seeded into modern urban society, reflected in our approaches to travel. Rather than swapping landmark-hopping tours for beachside decadent loungers, slow travel is a mind-set more than a swap out of speed. It is about engaging, embracing and connecting with the destination, the people, the food, local traditions, customs and the language. 

How will this impact my travel experiences?

Some of us may think that slow travel leads to lessened opportunities to explore and experience. However, the idea of slow travel is not to limit the benefits of growth and development of travel, but to help individuals experience more by taking things slowly. It is the opportunity to be fully engrossed with the beauty, art and soul of each destination and to be opened to spontaneous experiences. Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures so why limit ourselves to a contrived and scripted journey? 

In simpler form, slow travel is about accepting and integrating with the destination in order to prevail the full scope of benefits of travel. There is more to travel besides learning, relaxation and refreshing the body and mind. By letting go of the superficial definitions and approaches to travel, we expose our hearts and minds to a new, fun, wild and positive way of life that will not only serve the 7-day journey but life at home too. 

Will slow travel affect the environment and local communities?

Most definitely! Although flight travel is becoming an increasingly common mode of transport, it is not only responsible for 2.5% of global carbon emissions. The time an individual spends behind the glass window can be invested more efficiently and effectively into building and creating memories, on foot or on a bike, in a unique, undiscovered destination. When done right, this form of responsible travel not only benefits the environment, but the local communities, biodiversity and economy too. 

Where should I start given my busy lifestyle? 

Begin by establishing a clear goal for your next trip. Ask yourself questions: “do I want to break-free from timetables and technology to spend time in nature?”, or “do I want to do something creative and learn a new skill to incorporate back home?” Answering these questions will not only give you clarity in deciding what experience to choose, preferred activities and destination. It will also set the overarching theme throughout the overall experience, the core goal of slow travel. 

Another tip would be starting local. As mentioned earlier, slow travel is not just about reducing our speed and spending days cross-legged on a Yoga mat. It is about redefining the way we travel by being fully immersed in an authentic experience, making sustainable choices for our personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of the environment. Some examples include, choosing an experience in the UK, which is accessible by train and choosing to shop fresh produce sourced from local farmers. Start with small, incremental changes and it will ultimately feed into a natural shift in pattern, settled into a mind-set of admiration and appreciation for the big and small pleasures and joys, overlooked when we’re busy rushing around!

An official Slow Food supporter

We are pleased to announce, Balance Holidays is a proud supporter of the Slow Food movement. Founded in Italy in 1989, Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement linking pleasurable food with a commitment to the local community and environment. Not only does the movement promote awareness to better eating and an emphasis of local culinary traditions, they strive to protect the edible biodiversity. 

As a business with the wellbeing of our planet held close to our heart, the philosophies and values of Slow Food UK neatly mirrors those of Balance Holidays’. As a curator, designer and booking platform for exclusive, high-quality wellbeing retreats in Europe, we believe we have an obligated responsibility to answer for, ensuring we create a positive ripple effect in the local communities and environments of each destination.