Traveling Slow

Michael L's picture
Have you ever been on a vacation or at an event and took a step back from the swirling world around you…and suddenly the world stopped spinning?
Traveling Slow
Enter stage right a level of clarity and focus you have not felt since you were younger, when you were less connected.
How about the adult population that was born in the 80’s or early 90’s? There was a time when you knew all the shortcuts, hideouts, and the best places to gather with friends. 
This level of connection to the community is something that has been lost due to many variables, but mostly the level of connectedness we experience today. The technology progression is only going to continue, for better and for worse. 
The impact of technology and connectedness on vacations has degraded to the point where tourist locations are attempting to limit the number of visitors. Everyone wants a view or a like on some social media platform—and acts accordingly. Living in the moment and connecting to the community has been lost. By the end of this article, hopefully you will be able to implement the traveling slow motto and take back rest and recovery.

What is traveling slow?

From the article Benefits of Slow Travel and How to Embrace it, “Slow travel is a transformative approach to exploring the world that encourages travelers to break free from a checklist-driven mentality. Instead, it encourages you to immerse yourself deeply in the essence of a place, embracing its culture, and making meaningful connections with the people who call it home.” 
In the age where we have dopamine hits around every turn, and our yearning for instant validation on media platforms, it’s critically important to slow down and take in our surroundings. So much opportunity sits right in front of our face, but we miss it because we cannot seem to get our head to look up off a screen. The article linked above also puts it plainly: “rather than rushing through multiple destinations to tick them off a list, slow travel invites us to savor every moment.”  
With the ever-increasing reliance upon technology...and admittedly, life has become easier, I feel as if stress levels are just as high as pre-cell phone times, if not higher. Nowadays, traveling loses the whole point of creating memories and actually enjoying a location to the point you feel you have added to the very fabric. 
Now, traveling is just another chore, where rest and recovery were prioritized but have somehow faded into the background. Have you ever wondered what it would be like escaping from the Microsoft outlook calendar tether? Me too, and apparently a lot of others as well. Put the computer or that phone away. Only use it when necessary and ensure that people understand that when you depart, you will be off the grid. 
My experience with slow travel began on a Navy deployment in 2013. We generally only receive 3-4 days at any one specific port and one of those days is always spent providing a duty on the ship. Not a lot of time to experience the location. Thailand was our third stop, and by then my friends and I were disgruntled about not being able to actually enjoy or port visits. We did a little research this time and picked a location that was more remote and took about an hour to get to by vehicle and then by a small boat. It was called Coconut Island. We were able to actually take in the culture and pop our feet up, as there were no other Americans in sight. We spent a few days at the location hanging out with the locals at the restaurants and bars. It was the experience we had been looking for.
So, what places would be good to start your own slow travel movement? Your own back yard. If you cannot make it out of the country, no problem. Traveling across state lines works as well. Most suggestions or recommendations point to the seasons where travel is at its lowest; the way that I thought about this was when I was doing my undergrad and spring break rolled around. The two most popular locations were to either go to a beach in Florida or travel to Mexico. If I was a business owner in one of those locations, I am capitalizing on supply and demand—within reason, of course. 
There isn’t really an exact guideline that you should follow for slow travel but there is a time—and “it’s the perfect time to travel slowly, spend longer at each destination.” You should by now have deduced and envisioned what it actually means to slow travel. 
I am fully aware what the challenges will be or the temptations to reach for the prized piece of technology.
Habits are hard to break.
This is where discipline and your health need to take the forefront.
You are the only person that can decide how you spend your time—and so the choices that go into making a trip meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable are yours to make.
Michael is a dedicated student writer currently pursuing his M.B.A at Lindenwood University. He brings with him 13 years of military experience and passion to share his
life experiences with the world. Through his writing, he invites readers to explore the rich tapestry of human experience and discover the transformative power of storytelling.