Whether you’ve planned to sun yourself on a beach for a week or will be in the midst of a new city, we have a few pointers to help you slow down and soak in your new surroundings, instilling the all-important unrushed ethos wherever you are in the world.
Even on a tight schedule you can implement slow travel rules. If you have just a week or less, pick one place and settle. Find a less tourist neighbourhood, park yourself there and get to know your immediate surroundings -the local markets and your neighbours. Think quality, not quantity. Sites such as AirBnb and Couchsurfing allows you to be transported into residential enclaves far from the hotels.
See the locals? Copy them. To truly adopt the pace of the city, look to those who live there.
Eat when they eat, eat what they eat. From traditional dishes to regional produce, there’s nothing like local food to keep you in pace with the culture of an area.
If you invest in one book, make it one of the local lingo. Even a few words in the language will speak volumes with the locals you meet along your trip. If you’re worried about mispronouncing words, don’t sweat it. Listening is the key and the rest will follow.
Slow travel, is probably easier to do by yourself. Without a companion to chat to your eyes stay wide, looking out to your new surroundings. Travelling solo means you can truly travel to the pace you feel changing plans when the moment takes your fancy, sit in a little cafe for hours, miss a train bump into locals.
Slow travel is a way to explore your new surroundings deeper. One way to help is to read books on the culture of an area before you go. Not the pile of Lonely Planet and Time Out guides, but historical novels, narrative non-fiction and classics that highlight the unique culture and a time in the place’s history.
Walking by nature is slow. Walk at a pace where you can stare at the details of a city and view the layer of time. Walking tours are a great way to discover a history about a city and stories and myths that guidebooks miss out. Wherever you go, there’s likely to be a walking tour to go on, larger cities will cater to all sorts of interests from food markets to old ruins.
Ditch the to do list
Sometimes when you see a little less, you experience a lot more. You may have ticked off every tourist attraction but just glimpse through the crowds of the Vatican works of art is hardly experiencing the essence of Rome, so perhaps travel a little more like the good old saying goes…
Do something different
Away from the stresses of the day-to-day, why not try something a little different? When we’re experiencing something for the first time we naturally slow down to interpret it. Ever listened to Opera? Why not try it next time you’re in Italy, or how about renting a rod next time you’re by the sea? With time for trial and error you can immerse yourself fully in it. It might not be your next hobby, but that’s okay, it’s all in the discovery.