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Discover The Benefits of Slow Travel

Natasha Wharton

Natasha Wharton

Author

Lifestyle

When was the last time you really travelled? 

Do you tend to quickly pass from place to place, simply arriving at your destination? Maybe it’s time to embrace slow travel instead - gently roll through the countryside by train, or explore on foot, taking the time the enjoy the sights and sounds along the journey.

At a time when the emphasis is on fast – food, travel, entertainment, shopping, the ‘slow’movement is growing in popularity. The movement has gradually grown in popularity, developing in response to the opening of a fast food restaurant in Rome in 1986. As a result, locals opted to focus on slow food. The idea of the movement is that mealtimes are savoured and enjoyed, quality time is spent with friends and family and a calm, careful and unhurried way of living is embraced.

The same can be applied to slow travel. This approach to holidays is the opposite of a busy week away, full of trips to places you must visit and things you must do, trying to pack as much as possible into just a few short days. Instead, you make meaningful connections with the people and the culture that you encounter along the way. It is about living better in a fast-paced world.

You will soon find that although you are doing fewer things, you gain time and your holiday feels longer. Take the opportunity to indulge your curiosity by going to places you might not usually visit, even if that means being a traveller in your own home town. This is your holiday experience, so take control of it, always with the emphasis on relaxing, reconnecting and reflecting. Enjoy the journey, connect with locals and be mindful of your impact on the environment.

Wherever you do journey to, be your own guide. Rather than opting for a conventional tourist guide book, read a fictional novel or biography set in your chosen destination. It can add a new dimension to your travel experience, as well as immersing you in the world of your chosen book.

Of course, the journey to your destination can be as much a part of the holiday as the destination itself. Rather than taking a flight, opt for a more leisurely mode of transport, such as long-distance train or boat. Unlike a flight, travelling this way allows you to appreciate your surroundings so much more. Perhaps it will inspire you to consider travelling to new destinations you discover along the way!

Finally, with slow travel, just go with the flow. This style of holiday isn’t about tight itineraries and check lists. Keep your schedule flexible and do what feels right day by day, moment by moment. When you return from your travels, you should feel refreshed and relaxed.

If you’re inspired to discover ‘slow travel’ for yourself, here are some ideas:

  • For a real treat, travel in luxury through Scotland on the Belmond Royal Scotsman. Relax in the splendor of your very own cabin and enjoy fine dining whilst taking in the stunning iconic sights of the Scottish Highlands
  • If swimming coves and shady trails appeal, then head to the Greek island of Evia for a walking and cruise trip aboard a traditional Greek sailing boat. Visit sites left behind by Roman and Byzantine empires and explore sleepy villages
  • Escape the crowds and disconnect from technology for a few days by going off-grid with a cottage break in the remote Scottish islands. Although water and heating are provided by wood burning stove and cooking and lighting are by gas, Egyptian cotton sheets and a fully equipped kitchen ensure a comfortable and relaxing break.

Alternatively, take inspiration from McCarthy & Stone homeowner Sylvie Morgan who enjoyed her own ‘slow travel’ road trip. Sylvie travelled across the UK, visiting friends and family and staying in the guest suite at various developments they visited along the way.

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