The Art of Slow Travel

1 min read

Since setting off on my climbing adventure 4 weeks ago, I have been pondering the things I have learnt and observed during times of Slow Travel. Here is a shortlist that I made, in the back of my van:

1. Slow Travel requires a minimal mindset. Many everyday things—such as a shower, dry towel, fresh drinking water, and (yup, I'm going to say it) a toilet—become a luxury during Slow Travel life. These things are not to be taken for granted. They should be carefully rationed, strategically refilled, and timed to pit-stop-perfection. With this change in mindset comes an added appreciation for how lucky I am to have access to all of these things on a day-to-day basis.

2. Slow Travel warps time. Time moves at a different pace compared with day-to-day life. As routine makes way for spontaneity, everything seems to slow down. Last week's sunrise feels like a month ago. Perhaps it's the breaking of routine. Perhaps it's the changes in location, landscape, activities or temperatures. Either way, with new experiences, time moves slower—much slower—during periods of Slow Travel.

3. Slow Travel is about The Journey, not the destination. In today’s fast-paced world, travel can often be about speed and convenience. An international flight to anywhere in the world at the click of a button. A journey can be reduced to check-in, boarding time, and arrival. But many people are starting to revert back to the old ways, exploring the wilderness on our doorstep at a slower pace. This new mode of travel brings the freedom to change direction, re-route, get lost, and discover the unexpected along the way.

4. Slow Travel is about the highs and the lows. Van roofs leak. Gas runs out. There's a 'petrol crisis'. But on the flip side... when things do go wrong, plans don't get cancelled, they get rewritten. Unexpected yet awesome people can be met. Relationships grow stronger (teamwork is essential).

5. Slow Travel brings you closer to the elements. Teeth are brushed under starlit skies. Armpits washed in flowing rivers. Drifting to sleep to the sound of nature; waves, wind, rain, owls (and if you're lucky, all of the above).

One day I will take slow travel a step further and abandon the internal combustion engine of this van, to take another long, slow journey by foot or bike.

But for now, I am going to close my laptop, take in the sunset, and enjoy my journey in the slow lane.

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