Have you ever felt the need to stop and relax when you zip past a place? Have you ever felt that even though you have ticked your checklist, you are still stranger to places that you have been to? In today’s fast paced world where we are constantly dodging deadlines or rushing from one place to the next trying to catch your breath over slow travel could feel like a distant dream. Who has time? Some will say. Others will argue on if that would even make any sense.
The simple reason why we should give time to a place is because people and place needs time to unfold. Some of my most memorable travel experiences have been the ones where I have engrossed myself in the culture of a place such as Dancing with the locals in Maldives or learning how to cook Thai Food in a traditional home. As I have a heart to heart conversation with Shabrina Koeswologito from Slow Travel Story, she tells us how she manages it all.
So, here are her 5 tips on how you could enjoy Slow and Sustainable travel to enjoy travel at its fullest:
Ditch the Checklist: “I prefer traveling very very slow. It means that I prefer to travel one city in one week rather than several cities or several countries in a week. It gives you more time and you have more in-depth experience than capturing all the great photos”, says Shabrina. She continues “Try not to count how many countries you travel, instead try to count how many people you met during your travel or how can you help others during your travel. My tip is to limit to a city or a country and explore as much as you can. You don’t have to do all the destinations or sightseeing places in one day. For example, if you are in New York, doing Central Park in a day is far better than doing 5 things in New York in day. That way so can get more experience than you can actually capture “
Plan in advance: We all know how limited our holidays can get and that’s one of our primary reasons on why we tend to rush up our holidays. Shabrina suggests that we must look at our yearly calendar and plot the public holidays and then try to work our schedules around the public holidays so that we can add more days to our vacation. Another alternative is if you know that taking many leaves is not possible then aim at least once a month over the weekend to places closer to your city. That means you can still travel at your leisure and slow without having to worry about the traffic, the travel and the commute.
Travel Slow, Travel Sustainable: Shabrina says she learnt about Sustainable travel during her school graduation in NYU when she took the tourism management course. Sustainable travel is the travel where you give impact to the world. One of the many ways to do so that is by taking a local tour that gives back to the community or by shopping at the local markets or at existing mom and pop stores. She continues, “Since I travel slow, I choose to travel one city per week and that ways I have enough time to explore, go through the local stores and talk to more people and try to take the local tour I want that contributes back to the society and sometimes by doing that you can actually get better experience at a lower price. You really know where your money goes and that is directly to the people’s pocket rather than spreading around big corporations or big tours.
Immerse in Cultures: “Actually one of my best local experience was during my trip to India for work. I hadn’t used any local tours because I had friends and colleagues to take me around there. Although, I was free for one or two days by myself and that’s when I found myself enjoying the wedding parade on the street. There was a horse and there were people dancing. It was one of my best experience. It was also the time when I went to my colleague’s home and celebrated Diwali – the festival of lights. There were firecrackers everywhere. An amazing experience indeed, “says Shabrina. “Back in Indonesia, we have a gala celebration of Independence Day where one has to climb a really long oily pole which has presents and gifts on top. People stack up while going up and it’s crazy. We also gather around family and sing.” Festivals are one of the best times to visit a country or a place because that brings out the culture and people together in joyful unison.
Inspire Others: One of the great ways to inspire others is by starting a blog or by writing a book or simply talk more on your experience to help more people learn about other culture as much as they know theirs. When they are inspired, they can fully enjoy the happiness and content slow travel can bring in their lives.