I have traveled for 5 years almost uninterruptedly, yet only in the past few years have I realized what it means to travel slowly.
Until a few years ago, my movements were frantic . The amount of time spent traveling compared to the number of countries that I have visited tells me everything but that I’ve traveled slowly.
A journey that began as a joke has become a way of life , the months have passed quickly and it has taken me a while to learn how to slow down the pace .
I have rediscovered what it means to live without frenzy, making decisions one day to the other without having any hurry, the phrases ” should I do this or must I to go see that ” are now old memories of a life that for the moment is not mine anymore.
The rush to reach a destination because a plane is waiting for me is gone , and a lost ticket for me means only a few hundred dollars gone but the joy of having time , all the time I want.
My mother the other day asked me when I ‘m going to come back, I keep losing planes, to say that I will move and then not do it, and to postpone the return to Europe to indefinite dates. My indefinite answer continues to be always the same: I do not know.
I travel slowly, live slowly, even the pace of my walk has slowed down a lot.
Slow travel means traveling without a travel itinerary defined at the beginning and feel free to stop when you want for as long as you want.
Decide what stops to follow without having an actual plan, without having to write next to the name of the destination how many days to stop there , without a calendar except to note in it the birthdays of your friends at home.
To feel free to say I’ll stay or go away without having any external pressure.
The hurry and rush are realities of our time of which we feel duty bound to do everything and immediately.
Often we find ourselves saying that we have no time. Too much and all together, so that we return home at night wondering what more we could have done without asking instead what more we could have enjoyed and benefited from.
I’ve never been a woman in a hurry actually, I have always thought that the time must be calibrated and distributed between what we must do and what we want to do.
So also travel should be distributed between doing things and enjoying them, a slow movement that allows me to savor the small cultural and social details of the countries I visit.
It is hard to understand a country in three weeks, not that it is impossible but it can only be a rough summary, sometimes when I have traveled in a hurry, it seemed to me that I was nothing else but a figure in a postcard.
I can say how beautiful a cathedral or the highway is , but what I was missing was the human contact that can be established and understood only if you stop a while longer and if you go beyond the sites indicated by the travel guides that we have in our bags.
Slow travel becomes a state of mind, which leads us to see and discover places that are not a “must do ” but rather a “want to “, it matters little that the crowds will all go towards one direction, whoever travels slowly is conscious of being in a new place that deserves much more than a quick glance.
A square is not made to become a tourist attraction but rather a point of meeting between people , a market is not only a place where to take colorful and characteristic pictures, but it is where the lives of many populations take place and where, ideally, will lead you to their homes.
Macchu Pichu is very beautiful, as is the Salar de Uyuni, the temples of Bagan, or those of Bali, but if you do not have the time to stop and see beyond what is easy to find in guides or books then that important and essential element which is the comprehension, will be missed out.
Not everyone has months or years at one’s disposal, it is true. I ultimately had to run for months to catch the plane I had booked months before. Having missed the flight back to Europe was a kind of liberation.
Knowing to have all the time I want and feeling free to laze on a couch for a whole day without feeling guilty for not having done that given excursion was a conquest, as is a walk strolling around the city without having a definite destination and losing myself without having to think of going to the museum or to have an agenda full of things to do.
Because when traveling the problem for many it is to do as much as possible in a short time while perhaps the best thing would be to do little and live the travel experience without any hurry and to take the time necessary to understand and become part of what is around us, without having a camera lens as a constant intermediary between us and the reality, but to devote some time to look with the naked eye and to develop our five senses again.
Slow Travel means being able to and know how to stop
The travel plans were others, according to my plans on paper, South America I would have had to travel in five months. Obviously, I didn’t succeed and to those who want to do it, I wish them good luck.
It ‘s easy to get yourself carried away when you are traveling, so that for experience I can say that it is hard to say: I will stop.
As it is difficult to make the decision to drop everything and go away it is just as hard to make the decision not to continue on your way for a while.
It is as if on the one hand you want to stop for a while but on the other you are afraid of losing other wonderful things that you can see in another country.
A war of sentiments, among those known and unknown. A sort of I like this but I might like the other more.
And yet it is only when you stop that you take full consciousness and awareness of being in a new world made up of traditions and cultures that probably fascinates more than a world-famous UNESCO archaeological site, for the simple fact that it is great to be there.