Seeking a new depth of understanding and immersion, whether into local culture, cuisine or just in getting to know a city….
… and perhaps just a little over indulgence.
Why Slow Travel?
I was first inspired to travel the world slowly whilst watching others travel fast. A past time of sorts was to sit in Kings Cross or St Pancras Station on a busy evening watching the queues form for the Eurostar, and the commuters rushing towards the underground, in a seemingly endless tangle of tie and navy suit. I would do the same whilst in airports – taking flights from Heathrow, Manchester and even Liverpool. I would watch from a safe distance as crowds upon crowds of people push and shove in the lines for the budget airways – sweaty Brits in travel-(in)appropriate attire – floral shirts and white narrow brimmed hats, excited for their first foray into the Mediterranean sun.
I realised then, that those great epic adventures from the likes of Homer and Dante could only be fiction but how I longed for them to be reality. Of course I wasn’t yet quite ready to take a plunge into Dante’s Divine Comedy – though his journey through hell could quite easily be compared to a train ride through South Yorkshire or even a rush hour ride on the Victoria line from Green Park to Walthamstow – but I was certainly ready for something different.
Slow travel can be anything but for us – it’s a luxurious, slow and indulgent lifestyle.
The question was simple: how could we travel and see the world while indulging our tastes for good food, fashion, live music, and the luxuries of a home? The Answer? Slow Travel. Of course we may stay in some places for a shorter time than others, and even weekend breaks – but our base will be ever-changing. So for the first few months we began to change around our work lives while still in London, and then we took a train ride through Europe to officially begin our adventure.
What Is Slow Travel?
Slow Travel for us, is perhaps slightly different to what it is to many others. We aren’t about going green – though we try to make an effort whenever we can – but rather we are quite literally travelling slowly. We travel by train wherever possible and have made several incredible journeys already, we prefer going by boat and we try to avoid planes wherever possible – though we aren’t naive and know that many long distance journeys will of course require such sacrifices – though we’ll be creative with our travel planning. We won’t only write about the major sites of every city having visited 50 countries in a year – we don’t want to – it simply isn’t what travel is about. We are more likely to talk about the train to Paris than the Eiffel Tower, or a little known, though nonetheless fascinating museum over the Louvre. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate the grander things – we do and we will explore them – to their very core.
We take our time to explore regional culinary practises, we taste local, independent wines, drink coffee in independent cafés, buy locally grown ingredients, attend local events and we try and learn from the people we meet – even if we only understand half of what is said to us – and we do all this whilst lingering for days, weeks and months to try to truly understand what makes a community what it is. Finding the places and things that mean something to them – not just what’s hot. We connect with the city.
We believe that one should learn as they travel, uncover lost secrets, listen to fairytales and local legends, converse in foreign tongues, eat foods never dreamed of and uncover minor sites that, truth be told, can be even more wonderful than the top 10 attractions on Trip Advisor. It’s a cliche but the journey is as important as the destination – and sometimes it can be even more special – not the inconvenience that many see it as.
We love to uncover details, succumb to intrigue and temptation, take wrong turns, explore alleyways and the diverse things in life, linger over mountain top views and change plans at a moments notice. Slow Travel isn’t about striving to complete lengthy lists of goals, it isn’t about promotion or self discovery – it is about living long and far, and taking each and every step with unparalleled curiosity, delving further into the unknown and, for us at least, telling wonderful real and true travel stories.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.C. P. Cavafy