Slow travel brings us back to the roots of why we travel! In our fast-paced world, we often prioritize speed and efficiency above all else, including when we travel. We rush through airports, cram activities into jam-packed itineraries, and snap quick photos to check off sights from our bucket lists. But what if we approached travel in a different way? What if we slowed down and embraced the journey instead of rushing to the destination?
Slow travel is a way of travel that focusses on connection: to local people, the culture, food and music. It relies on the idea that a trip is meant to give inspiration and have an emotional impact, in the present moment and for the future, while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.
Like the Slow Food Movement
In Italy in 1986 there was a revolt against the first McDonalds in Rome, this led to the Slowfood movement. This movement aims to preserve the regional cuisine and traditional cooking methods and support local farming. People started to realize that tourism was not doing the food industry any favours, instead it changed the way people consumed food. Large, chain-based restaurants pooped up with prefab food while taking away the profits from local, family-owned restaurants. The slow food movement worked to draw business back to traditional restaurants by using regionally-sourced fresh ingredients, home-cooked food with as goal to stimulate the local economies.
Different industry, same concept
One of the main benefits of slow travel is that it allows you to truly get to know a place. When you're not rushing from one thing to the next, you have the time and space to enjoy where you are. Focus on things that locals do everyday which allows you to really connect to that place. Wander through local markets, strike up conversations with locals, and explore lesser-known neighborhoods. You can take the scenic route instead of the fastest one, and stop to admire the landscape along the way. By taking your time, you'll discover hidden gems and experience the true essence of a place. This is where Plinius Travel guide comes in, for every destination we have collected the best and off-the-beaten-track places, restaurants and shops.
We asked the Plinius team what slow travel means to them.
"I love to make connections with local people. Last month I stayed in a small village in Tuscany. Every morning we would go for an early morning run and pick up some breakfast at the local bakery. On our way to the bakery we would pass by an old man, sitting in front of his house. We got to chat to him (in my very poor Italian!) and he invited us in to his home to show us his most priced possession; his music room. In this ancient village house there was one room completely dedicated to music. There was one old sofa, opposite the sofa 2 large speakers and his Jazz record collection. He let a simple life but this was his big splur and every day he would sit on his sofa and enjoy, really enjoy the music. With a twinkle in his eye and full of enthusiasm he shared this with us. I thought it was brilliant, we should all have a music room! He then gave us a bag of tomato's he grows on this land, he had too many and we should enjoy it. It was a wonderful encounter so early in the morning on a sunny summer's day in Tuscany!"
“I always go to the local market. Markets in Italy are the beating heart of food and community, where locals shop for what’s fresh and catch up on the latest gossip. In summer I make sure I go early, get the most beautiful, delicious, organic ingredients for lunch later on… and then we have a coffee and croissant (cornetto) in the shade of a tree on the village square. Surrounded by the locals who have just done exactly the same.”
“When I am in Rome, I avoid the Colloseum of Forum Romanum during the day. I wonder into lesser know area, have a coffee, standing at the bar at a local cafe. Just observing the rhythm of local live and enjoying excellent coffee (too many coffees to be honest!). In the evening I walk passed the Colloseum on my way back to the hotel. Everyone is gone, the gates are closed but the Collosuem stands there, beautiful in the evening mist. To me, that's the perfect way to enjoy this building.”
“For me it's all about food. I can eat my way through a city! However, I packages this as "research". If there is one souvenir I would like to take home with me, it is a local recipe. To find the perfect recipe a lot of research is involved by visiting local restaurants. These are always slow-food restaurants because these restaurant aim to preserve the regional cuisine and traditional cooking methods. I will eventually pick my favourite and learn to make it back home. This way I bring a little bit of Italy back with me to London".
“I get to live my best life in Italy! At home I am always doing a million things at once, but when I go to Italy, I take time to do all those things I want to do but never really have time for. Things like reading a book, my photography (with the light in Italy I make my best pictures). All those recipes I want to try but instead lay in a big pile on the kitchen counter. I bring them with me and my cooking has never tasted better. My secret? Top-quality ingredients (which is so easy to get in Italy). Last but not least, just chill, it's amazing how inspiration comes back while doing nothing.”
Embracing the Journey Instead of Rushing to the Destination
Enjoy the benefits of slow travel because it is so much more relaxing and less stressful. Instead of feeling like you're constantly on the go, you can relax, read a book, or simply enjoy the moment. You'll also have more flexibility in your schedule, so you can enjoy the unexpected or wonderful opportunities that arise when you are traveling. Slow travel is just more fun!
Slow Travel with Plinius