If you feel like your days are basically a race against the clock this post is for you!
I have been recently writing about the idea of slow travel. Today I would like to tell you more about the idea behind the whole “slow movement”. I found it inspiring especially nowadays when all tend to be instantaneous, rapid, and very accessible. Efficiency and speed are what the society praises.
The beginnings of the “slow movement”
The history of the slow movement is really interesting. It all started with… food! and Mcdonalds!
And luckily rapidly spread throughout the globe!
The beginnings trace back to Italy, a country well known for its simple yet admirable cuisine! In the 1986 Carlo Petrini, an Italian activist, led a protest against opening first Italian franchise of McDonald’s fast food “restaurant” in the heart of Rome, next to the famous Spanish Steps.
The local was opened, but Petrini strengthened his position and managed to lead, in 1989, to the signing of the Slow Food Manifesto by representatives of 15 countries. As a consequence, international Slow Food movement was born officially that year. It is mostly concentrated on a preservation of both traditional, regional cuisine and the methods of food preparation, as well as on local and clean farming (which means that the production does not harm the environment).
In 2004 TIME, American weekly news magazine (published in New York City), described Petrini as “a revolutionary who changed the way we think about eating.” Pretty impressive if you ask me.
If you are interested and want to read more about the slow food movement, visit the internet site of the organisation: slow food.
The idea behind the Slow Movement
In 2004 Carl Honoré, a Canadian journalist, has written a book titled - “In Praise of Slow: Challenging the Cult of Speed”. It quickly became a best seller and, by many, is described as the bible of the Slow Movement.
This is how he understands it:
"It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savouring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting."
He continues to write about the idea of slowing down in various aspects in his other two books. Especially being a father he finds a topic of raising children important to him. In his second book “Under Pressure (putting the child back to childhood)” he develops the idea that parents should not overwhelm their kids with as many after-school occupations as possible. On the contrary, they should let them function more at their own pace! According to Honore this approach will allow children to grow up as a genuinely happy and satisfied people.
If you would like to hear more about his idea of slow life in various aspects I warmly invite you to watch his presentation on TED conference that took place in 2005. It is really informative, simulative and insightful, but made in a funny and light way. He starts his performance by saying “Everyone these days wants to know how to slow down, but they want to know, how to slow down, really quickly”. Such an irony!
The so-called “slow travel” is a state of mind. It focuses on experiences over sights, on the quality of those experiences over their quantity.
But let me be clear. In my opinion, slow travelling is, in a way, a luxury. I believe that not every trip can be “slow”. If you are heading to your dream city, let’s say Paris, and you only have a weekend to your disposal and on top of that, you know that you won’t be able to visit the city another time soon… you will not wander around the little, lost streets and chit chat with locals. You will rush to those magical places that you always wanted to see. Time is money. If you have more time and you can stay slow, it is an amazing privilege!
So what are, in my understanding, the basic ideas behind the “slow travelling”?
Don’t rush and run from one touristic attraction to another. Try to take it slower, immerse yourself in a place you visit.
Usually it means you stay a little longer in one destination.
Be open to socialise with locals. Even if it means stepping out from your comfort zone. Even if you don’t know the language. And yes, you definitely should make an effort and learn at least a few words. It will show that you are genuinely interested. In most cases, locals will really appreciate your effort and attentiveness.
Get a habit to frequent local places: markets, bars, restos, cafes, galleries, small cinemas, discos. All depends on your interests. Maybe a dance or local cuisine course? Often locals will show you the attention and will make the experience easier for you. To put it simply, skip drinking coffee at Starbucks and head to locally owned café!;)
Nowadays Internet makes meeting local people much easier. I would definitely recommend giving the couchsurfing community a try. It is a platform where locals offer home-stay for a night or two, often show you around or simply share their knowledge about their city, country, region. You can really meet amazing, open-minded people and if it clicks, make life-long friendships!
Open yourself to public transportation, especially trams or busses because that will allow you to see more than touristic sights ;)
When you need to travel across the country, open yourself to local busses, trains, ferries, or ride-sharing. By using those means of transportation you expose yourself to not only meeting people you wouldn’t probably meet otherwise, but also to situations that wouldn't otherwise have space to happen.
Dear Steemians, I am really curious what are your thoughts on the topic of being slow, and especially on "slow travelling"?