Make a connection with the places you travel, don`t just be in perpetual transit. Ever come home from a holiday more tired than when you left? Ever heard people mention they need a holiday after their holiday? In the age of more and faster, and of short annual leave mixed with big expectation, the temptation is to buy a series of flights to a country or region you`ve always dreamed of experiencing and pack in every single monument, mountain, museum, and making sure that you have pictures of your tired face smiling at every must-see site, just to prove that you`ve been there. Tours that start early in the morning and last all day do offer comfortable buses, tight schedules, pre-planned meals and perhaps local drivers and guides but trained by foreign tourist agencies, so no real connection to the people. The tour guides are on a never ending cycle of repetitive tours- same sights, same information, same questions, a blur of faces with no names and a strict schedule to stick to. Everybody gets the same photos and the same limited experience. Who are we really trying to please?
This is not set in stone but is a concept of taking a step back before you take your next holiday and making it personal. Research but don`t overschedule, and allow yourself the luxury of deciding what you want to do moment by moment. coffee slow Enjoy a Coffee on the Road Find some general information about Thailand at: Thailand on Wikipedia The slow travel movement is about the quality of the experience and not about cramming in as many sights and photo opportunities as you can in short periods of time. It`s about letting life happen while on holiday. See a few places well and linger, take the time to have a coffee (or a few) in the square instead of snapping photos all afternoon with your head intermittently in a guidebook. Use your own eyes to see. Check in mentally and spiritually with the place you are visiting, instead of checking off to-do lists. Some great Thailand guides: Rough guide Thailand Lonely Planet Thailand Another great guide for scuba diving Khao Lak Explorer Liveaboard Similan islands and the Fodors Thailand Guide
Get Lost, Run Late & Don`t Worry While on a traditional holiday a missed plane or delayed train might be a disaster, to a slow traveler it`s all part of the adventure. If you get lost, that`s your chance to see things that other tourists don`t see; a chance to see the real life and chance to meet locals of the beaten path. This is where you pull out your camera and take the picture that nobody else has, a unique moment in time. Take time to connect with the Locals to get a better experience of the country you are traveling. So plan, know what and where is safe in the city. But don`t over plan. Go with the flow. Immerse Yourself in a New Culture The core of slow travel is connection on many levels, including with locals. Alternative ideas to hotels include subletting an apartment or renting a country cottage for a month. You might even consider doing a homestay with a local family. Live in another culture for a few weeks or months.
By renting a house, apartment or doing a homestay in a residential area you get to see daily life and by going to the same café each day or the same corner store you can meet real people. Slow traveling can also be cost effective with holiday-makers renting a house and slow cooking at home from produce bought in the market. Eat where the locals eat and shop where the locals shop. Slow travel encourages you to eat in locally owned restaurants and eat mostly food produced from ingredients that are local grown. colombian_market Eat Local Food Go down to the market and ask the stall holder about how to cook his produce and get to know the family who run the corner store where you’ll buy your milk. Find a favorite café to linger with a book. Whichever way you go food is part of the experience and should be savored. By avoiding fast food you are also helping local small business and producers.
Make friends with locals and other like-minded tourists by doing courses and getting involved with programs. Here are some ideas: Language Courses Culture classes (dance classes, surf classes, cooking, yoga, art courses… it all depends on your interest and the country you are visiting) Voluntourism (do conservation work with animals or plants, teach underprivileged children in afterschool programs, or find an organization that could use your specific skills for a few hours a day) Indulge with a Social Conscious Slow traveling isn`t necessarily about penny pinching, in fact it can be high-end traveling with a purpose. For example spending a month in a single destination eco-safari lodge in Africa can bring you up close to the circle of life in Africa and the money you spend helps keep locals employed. It can help protect the wildlife by letting the local government and people know a live animal is more precious than an extinct one. You can take horse safari and volunteer in conservation centers too. An ideal resort would hire local guides and staff, and have a local chef produce gourmet meals for local produce. But check the background of the resort before you go, and favor locally run and owned ventures.
Slow travel is often single destination travel and once you are there you can ride a bike or take the local buses to see the region, which is part of the novelty of living like a local. Travelling slowly can mean less ground travel and less destinations leading to less consumptions of fossil fuels used.