What is Slow Travel

Coen and I have always traveled in a way that felt good to us, which happens to be traveling slowly. We enjoy lingering, getting a feel for a place, meeting people and becoming part of their lives.

When I learned about the Slow Movement, of which Slow Travel is one aspect, I came to appreciate the term and concluded it fits our style of travel.

Here is what Slow Travel is all about:

Slow Travel is about Connecting & Sharing

Connect with your surroundings: people, food, climate, nature, animals, (historic) culture. Meet local people, learn about their lives if they wish to share it with you. Follow up on tips from locals, whether this is about sights, food, dress or any other matter. Exchange and share. Care about your environment and behave accordingly.

Slow Travel is a State of Mind

Allow the world to show itself on its own terms. Feel comfortable without a plan or itinerary. Notice the other, your surroundings, that particular taste or smell of a local dish. Be where you are right now (rather than in the future or the past). Travel with intent and intensity. Be mindful. Let go of fear and open your heart – to others, the unexpected.

Slow Travel is about How you Travel (not how long)

Slow Travel is a way to visit Paris for the day or weekend, to hike in the Rocky Mountains for a week, to go on a sabbatical for a year, to make it your lifestyle, or anything in between.

Slow Travel is about being somewhere, rather than passing through – no matter how long.

Slow Travel is about Having a Unique Experience

Sit in a local cafe, enjoy a drink typical of the region and chat with workers who come there for an after-work drink.

What happens to you when you sit in that cafe? What goes on in your mind? What are your feelings, observations, interactions? And how do they help you define your experience?

Slow travel is not just about sitting in that local cafe. It’s what happens as a result of that action which makes slow travel so valuable.

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Photos by Coen Wubbels. Follow our overland journey on Landcruisingadventure.com or on Instagram.

16 thoughts on “What is Slow Travel”

  1. I like the idea of slow travel. All I have to do is convince my husband (and my yellow lab) that slow travel is the only way to go. Or…I could just run away and become a gypsy, leaving no forwarding address. I am especially curious about Brazil. I’ve spent a few days in BsAs and got seasick going around Cape Hoorn on a ship, but somehow we didn’t get to see anything of Brasil.

  2. It great to hear someone talking good things about our country – Brasil. European people are always afraid and scared of coming!
    We are travellers, not slow, not fast… just curious and open minded travellers. Welcome in our home, whenever you need! Paula & Paulo

  3. Hi Paula & Paulo, Thank you for your words of welcome. You’ve just said what Brazil is all about: hospitality! Unfortunately, the European image of Brazil is largely distorted but I know that through our stories other travelers have taken the courage the come to this so called dangerous country too, and just loved it.

  4. Good people like you make the difference in the world!
    Our house door is open for you, guys! Whenever you need help from São Paulo state, count on us! With a small black hot coffee waiting for you!

  5. We’ve been travelling around Australia for about 13 years now, I don’t really keep records any more and we’ve slowed down a lot in the last couple of years but but last I checked we averaged 137k per week

  6. I greatly admire the approach and philosophy that you embody. I try to emulate what you have made a life’s effort in a meager way by having participated with like-minded sojouners in what is known as “overlanding” by driving/camping through East, South and West Africa and Ethiopia, Mongolia, Peru, Thailand, China, the Middle East, Russia, and Central America. I would love to spend even more time with the Indigenous Peoples of these regions and hope to do so in my own “Slow Movement” return visit to Namibia and the Himba People and the Desert Elephant in the near future. Thank you for your inspiring work!

  7. I like the term, “Slow Travel”. Years ago in 1974 I made a plan to travel on an open ended journey by Land from my home in Minnesota to South América,only traveling by land …or water as the situation presented itself.
    I had saved some money from my work as a pediatric nurse in Washintong D.C. and set off to see how far and how long this journey would be. I did not have a time frame in mind other than taking each day as it came. My modes of travel included bus,train, sailboat and in Bolivia,riding on the back of open air trucks transporting people ,produce and small animals. Many months later, I found work as a volunteer in an Orphange in Sucre, Bolivia where I worked ,half days,7 days a week with infants under a year old. I was given room and board in exchange and fell in love with this beautiful country. many of the friendships I made have lasted until now, 40 years later.

  8. I have never heard of the term ‘slow travel’ before but after reading your page, it gives me a whole new perspective. About 6 months ago, I moved to the middle east from the US in search of exploring new things, new ideas, meeting new people, and learning about the world in which we live in. I have meet so many amazing people from different parts of the world. Like you said, just sitting in a local coffee shop and talking to the people, can completely change your life and introduce you to new ideas, and concepts, and lifestyles. After I save up some more, I plan to travel more and really connect with people. It truly is an amazing journey!

  9. Hey – great post.
    I’ve just started to write about our slow travel experience – the first of what I hope are many. We are at a different stage in our life to you but I found it easy to relate to what you said perhaps most with “Slow Travel is about being where you are, not about what you do”


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