Slow Travel – the journey not just the destination
We live our lives today, rushing towards the next job, the next pay cheque or the next holiday. We don’t always have time to enjoy the journey and moments can pass us by.
Travel can be a rush to make it to your destination and difficult to switch the gears towards a slower, more mindful pace. Slow travel is all about taking your time and making the journey as (if not more) fulfilling as the destination.
There are so many slow travel options to make your experience more of a journey to remember:
The romance of railway travel
Rail is undergoing a resurgence in popularity for many reasons not least as travellers try to minimise their carbon emissions as the climate emergency becomes more pressing. Train travel offers a more carbon friendly method of travel, but its also a wonderful way to see the world hopping from country to country with the chance to view the changing landscape and stop when you choose. Depending on your route it can be an exciting, relaxing and even luxurious way spend part of your holiday.
There are many resources to help you choose your train journey including the wonderfully comprehensive www.maninseat61.com which can help you plan a route by train, pretty much anywhere.
On many a bucket list is the long distance Trans-Siberian Railway, a slow travel adventure that offers the opportunity to travel across the enormous expanse that is Russia, Mongolia and China. There are different route options but we particularly like this 20- day Trans Siberian Railway adventure, which takes you into the heart of Siberia and Mongolia crossing 8000 kilometres from St Petersburg to Beijing. You can stay in a nomadic ger camp in Terejli National Park, experiencing some of the traditional Mongolian culture. This epic rail journey gives you the chance to travel vast distances but with the romance of the railway.
Go by bus
Travelling by bus can sometimes be the only way to reach more remote places in a country. It can also be cheaper and more flexible as a transport option. There are many bus journeys you can take around the world that will indulge a slower pace of travel with an adventurous spirit.
We love this Alaska Salmon Run Overland long distance trip on a converted school bus through the wilds of Alaska, seeing the stunning natural beauty that the state can offer. On this 20-day adventure you travel from Anchorage into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, taking in the national parks, stopping off to camp, hike and bear watch. The bus offers a comfortable way to travel through the day and at night you’ll camp and cook under the stars listening to the sounds of nature.
Cruise by Camel
Camel trekking may not be the most comfortable means of travelling for some, but it is undoubtedly a slow way to travel and can offer the chance to experience nomadic culture and experience the wilderness of the desert.
We love this remote and challenging expedition to cross Sudan’s Bayuda Desert – a journey of around 280km – on foot and by camel, as the desert nomads have done for centuries.
You will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Meroitic people, learning to ride a camel and camping under the African night sky. This is truly a once in a lifetime journey, where you can really slow down and enjoy hospitable nomadic culture. You can visit the Meroe and Nuri pyramids and absorb the ancient history of the meeting point between the Arab and African worlds.
Sail the seven seas
An ocean voyage adventure may be the ultimate in slow travel. Swap your 8 hour transatlantic flight for a 3 or 4 week sailing adventure on board a tall ship or yacht on an epic voyage across the Atlantic ocean where you are the crew. Or how about journeying across the infamous Drake Passage to reach one of the world’s last true wildernesses – Antarctica – and its glorious flora and fauna. It won’t all be plain sailing; you’ll be venturing into the unknown, testing your limits, exploring new ways of being and giving your mind space to breathe, but what a journey! Set sail and gain a new perspective on the world.
There are so many ways to make your journey more than just a plane ride to your destination whether you choose to dog sled, hike, cycle, sail, horse or camel ride your way around the globe. You can make your journey more than part of your trip, instead enjoy the process of taking that journey, savour it and really slow down.