Slow Travel

BlogHer Original Post

“Handed about like parcels from Venice to Florence to Rome, unconscious of anything outside Baedeker, anxious to get done and go on elsewhere…you know the American girl in “Punch” who says to her father, “Say, Poppa, what did we see in Rome?” and the father replies, “Guess Rome was where we saw the yellow dog.”

A reader posted that quote from A Room with a View to my site recently. See, I'm suffering from a little travel fatigue - I blogged about it here. The blur of seeing too much at once and not having enough time to process it is just starting to pass.  I'm convinced that "Slow Travel" is, if not the cure, than certainly the prevention.

Enter slow travel. I've just returned from a rail trip across Canada--Cornwall, Ontario, to Vancouver in style, stopping off in Jasper, just because not to stop in Jasper would have been a crime. I tell you, this is the way of the future; there's time to look around and take in all that incredible scenery; an opportunity to meet and talk to other people you wouldn't normally take the time to get to know; lavish meals served on real china with real knives and forks (no chance of pronging the engineer to death here) at a table with a damask cloth, by cheerful homegrown staff who live in cities along the route. In short, an adventure of a most agreeable kind.  --Not Just Another System

IACP's food blog mentions the growing popularity of Slow Travel and it's companion, Slow Food.

Torino every other year hosts Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto, a showcase for foods which risk disappearing or becoming illegal in the globalization of the world market. Gourmets risk becoming outlaws in search for quality. Culinary traditions and history are also spotlighted.

Walking Village to Village is devoted to the ultimate form of Slow Travel - seeing the world on foot.

It’s when you approach them slowly, not on a highway, but along centuries old footpaths and old country roads and actually see the villages begin to grow out of the landscape, that you can truly get to know and appreciate the countryside and villages in an intimate way. They become more than just “another village with a castle and a church”. Somehow, by experiencing the world this way you become a part of it, a traveller in the landscape, and not just an observer heading from one tourist attraction to the next.

If you want to convert from the Tuesday=Belgium model of travel to something a bit more leisurely, check out the Slow Travel site. There's an active community, trip reports from slow travelers, and, of course, services to help you plan your trip. SlowTrav also hosts a handful of bloggers who are traveling slow. And naturally, there's plenty of explanation about what, exactly, Slow Travel is.

Staying in your own temporary "home", even if just for a week or two, lets you experience a place more intensely because you get involved in the community where you are staying. You shop for groceries and supplies in the local shops, stop at the same café every morning, see the people in your village or neighborhood each day.

The advantages are clear to me. Crushed in a group in front of Venus at the Uffizi, or having a stumbling conversation with the barrista at the coffee shop where you've been dropping in every morning? Yes, I think I will have another caffe latte, grazie!

Pam blogs about travel and other adventures at Nerd's Eye View.