Last modified on November 11th, 2018
Constant travel from one place to another is a tiring thing that can burn you out in the blink of an eye.
Since the moment we figured that out until this day we’ve been always trying to stick to slow travel, without a hustle. But unfortunately, hustle takes place sometimes too.
Allow me to tell you a story.
During all the years I spent in the hospitality business I was meeting different types of people. They were coming to our hotel for different reasons.
Some guests were families or couples who came on vacation or romantic getaway. Others were long-term travelers whose stay in our hotel was more like a treat. And then there was this other group of people who always interested me the most.
They were business travelers.
They have been tripping all over the place. And stayed in nice hotels, ate yummy foods, made new acquaintances while making money and letting their company pay for them.
It sounded like a dream life.
Who wouldn’t like to receive a salary for travels around the world? Of course, everyone would love to!
But grass always looks greener on the other side. After observing and talking to our guests I realized their story was not that bright as it seemed to others.
They shared how many long hours they worked while traveling for business. And how many days they were spending away from their families and loved ones. They all had a tight schedule, pressure to meet deadlines and travel very quickly from one place to another.
Psst: Are you planning to travel long-term? The next post can be very helpful if getting ready to start your travels:
Talking to long-term fast-paced travelers provided some fascinating details as well. It made me wonder if being a full-time traveler was an exciting thing to do at all.
All those travelers seemed to be always looking to find a place where to rest their head, find out what to do next and how to save an extra penny on everything they had to pay for. Their “always on the go” lifestyle sounded more like an obligation and struggle instead of exciting and charming adventure. They were getting tired and needed a break. A few nights stay in our hotel provided them an opportunity to rest and recharge the batteries.
Together with business and leisure travelers, I had guests who were coming to our hotel to unwind and get back to reality after their weeks or months-long vacation. They were not interested in tours, events or special offers. Everything they wanted to do was just to swim in the pool, nap, eat and go to the spa.
All those conversations and some of my personal experiences taught me that non-stop travel sooner or later wears a person down. We, as people, get sick of something that we keep doing day after day after day.
No matter how much we love something, it may become too overwhelming one day. Everything new becomes too familiar and loses its popularity and excitement. Travel is no exception here.
Jetting off to exotic islands, trying new amazing foods, checking out fantastic sights, talking to locals and exploring hidden gems becomes one day a burden. If everything we do is just going places and being tourists for weeks on end then we know we’ll hit our breaking point and get sick of it.
Instead of adventurous everyday life we’ll have some exhausting work to do.
We feared this feeling before going on our open-ended trip.
This is why we decided for ourselves from the beginning that we were going to travel slowly. Meaning we were planning to stay in one city or country longer. We had a plan to rent an apartment, volunteer, work, connect with locals through Couchsurfing experiences or homestays. We needed to sleep more hours, cook favorite meals, read a book and just live our regular life.
If we want to spend the entire day hiking or exploring the city, we can easily do that. Yet at the end of the day, we have our own place to go to. Sticking to this plan helps us, first of all, enjoy and appreciate every single aspect of travel and, second, balance things out.
Additionally, traveling slowly helps us have in-depth experiences.
We choose experiences over sights. We choose to spend more time in one place trying to get to know locals, attend events, learn some language and customs.
Going off the beaten path and fully immersing ourselves in local culture is another reason why slow travel is important.
Our travel is not about how many sights, cities or countries we can squeeze in one trip. Neither is it about showing off how many destinations we have been to. Skipping tourist attractions is not always a solution, but avoiding the hustle and doing less presents a destination in a totally new light.
Being a slow traveler helps to notice and enjoy the simplest things around that are famous or important in local travel guides. Actually, we rarely follow a travel guide and often head in the opposite direction, away from tourists. Getting lost or finding ourselves in the middle of nowhere allows us to discover unexpected hidden gems and get the feel of a place.
At the same time, when we travel slowly we are able to follow our diet, stay fit while on the road and just have some routine.
There are so many countries in this world we want to see and where we want to live. From time to time we get this occasional urge to see as much as we can.
Yet, we know rushing in and ticking off as many places on the list as possible will make us miss an opportunity to embrace life around us. Because at the end of the day what matters most is not how many sights we have seen or how many new meals we have tried.
At the end of the day, we want to know we grew, we loved, we spent our time qualitatively and we gracefully let go of things not meant for us.