Stop counting countries: Travel slow and travel further
Why do we travel? To meet people, to see amazing sights, to learn new languages, or purely just to get out there to see the world? Whatever the reason we travel, have you noticed how we have become obsessed with counting countries?! Uploading the most Instagrams and trying to conquer every continent? Why do we travel with so much urgency now? In an order to maintain your ‘online presence’, to upload pictures by the pool saying “I’ve had worse Mondays?”. This crazy connected world we live in is starting to do exactly the opposite and disconnect us completely. Disconnect us from places that aren’t tourist attractions, flights that are longer than a few hours and roads that are only pathed on Goggle Maps. But yes, we get it, some of us aren’t blessed with time, we have jobs and responsibilities and can’t take months out at a time. So we’ve reached out to some travellers to ask them what slow travel means to them and some tips to travel fuller:
“ When I was younger I would rush through countries just to tick them off the list. I went to China once on a 72-hour visa and hated it. For years later I would tell people I didn’t like China. Then I went back by chance on a much longer visit and completely fell in love. I managed to travel further and a lot slower, and realised that my first impressions were only because I wasn’t looking hard enough or letting myself get too involved. if you travel fast, you only scratch the surface.”
– Workawayer Kate, USA.
“Slow travel makes me learn more, It lets me see whether I really love a country or not. Even if I don’t like a country straight off I give myself more time there to see past my initial impression”
– Derek Freal, The HoliDaze
“ Choose a destination within a country and conquer that specific place. Don’t try, for example, to go to the Philippines and try and see every island there in record time. Set your bag down and see as much as you can within the time frame you have. If you love a country so much, promise yourself you’ll come back and see it again rather than try and rush through it.”
– Richelle Gamlam, Adventures Around Asia
“ I haven’t got enough time to travel slowly as I have a full-time job, so I find a destination I love and keep returning until I feel like I really know it and then choose another one. For me, that is slow travel.”
– Random guy on the bus to Taipei
“ I’ve been travelling for 5 years now and I honestly don’t know how many countries I’ve been to I don’t count. I like getting to know every inch of a city, and every part of a country and I know, from experience, that takes a long time. So I stay until I have a reason to leave. I find ways to work on the road so I can travel longer, from teaching to volunteering and even writing a travel blog.”
– Sarah Richard, Coffee with a slice of life
“Do what makes you happy, but I’m sure travelling slow will make you that”
– Dave Brett, Travel Dave
So it seems we all have different ideas of what slow travel means to us, and here at Workaway we truly believe in the gift of time. Throughout our hour’s volunteering around the world, we have learnt how valuable it is to travel fully, to be in the present moment, and to really take in what is around you. Whether that be for one week, one month, or one year; just travel, but let’s stop making it a competition. Who agrees?