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The Fantasy of Slow Travel

You don't need to follow the "European summer" TikTok itinerary

Everyone has heard of the “slow travel” trend.

I think that it makes sense, it helps tourists gain a deeper insight into the local culture of the places they are visiting while also staying sustainable for the communities and environments.

Hi! I'm Sophia Pedigo, a 20-year-old student at AAU (big shoutout to Liza for that one!) who spends most of her time traveling, writing, or writing about traveling. You might've seen my name at the bottom of these blog posts; I also work with Liza on this blog and figured it was time to share some of my own stories. :)

As a warning, I understand not everyone can do this!

Maybe you only get a few days off a year, so when you go on your “European summer” trip, you want to knock out as many countries as possible.

You can return to the office and say you have now officially been to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, and France!

Then someone asks what you did on your trip.

The response might be: “I have officially been to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, and France!”

But what did you actually do on your trip? Rush around train stations and airports to step foot in one country and then bounce to the next?

I know I am privileged to be able to consider slow travel a possibility in the first place, able to travel at my pace and contribute to the local economy while still enjoying my vacation.

This stems from my mother, and how she taught me to travel. We never took those trips that zipped around the continent, we went to one place and really explored the area. She has also found the places that she loves (like Costa Rica) and continues to re-visit because she has embraced the culture, the language, and the local businesses.

Shoutout to the condo that my family has in Coco Beach! Just helping out the fam, I don’t get anything if you click.

My ideal future has always been writing and traveling; taking my time to explore countries at an easy pace, and writing about my experiences with the community. Now, as I’m turning into a real adult (I am twenty years old; I’ve been an adult for almost three years), I have to make those life-altering decisions.

What will I do with my Journalism and Media Studies degree? How will I sustain a “digital nomad” life? What part of Spain are we moving to? Will anyone even hire me? Am I perpetuating the white colonist traveler idea if I do this? What if I die broke?

So, why should you consider slow travel? It doesn’t just have to be for retirees who have nothing to do, it can be for anyone who has the time to travel and would like to be cautious of their vacation.

You can save money — Instead of having to book a billion flights all over, you’re in one place for a longer period.

The money that you are going to be spending will (hopefully) be going into the local economy, unless you’re just eating at McDonald’s and shopping at ZARA.

You also don’t have to pack in as many excursions as possible because you have the time to explore for yourself. This isn’t to say excursions aren’t fun, especially if you are traveling fast on a cruise. If you have the time, try to book with local tour guides or make friends who can give you the best recommendations.

You can make real connections — Sure, you could make friends with fast travel, grabbing the number of one of the other tourists you’re with.

If you ever decide to reconnect is up to you.

With slow travel, you can make real, face-to-face connections to the people around you; this is something that popularized the trend of “slow travel” after COVID-19 quarantine.

You can eat like a local — I, too, am a victim of visiting the cafes and restaurants and art galleries that I see on TikTok. And I’m not saying that just because a place got popular online, it’s not worth it to visit.

However, you just have to be cautious of what types of places you see on your feed. Is it a place where the decor is more aesthetic than the food is delicious? Would you have visited for the menu if the pictures weren’t cute?

Slow travel allows you to do those things you see online and support local businesses. Speaking particularly about restaurants, you may discover that with more time in one area, you can diversify your food palate by trying new, local foods.

This wasn’t supposed to turn into a “10 Reasons You Should Slow Travel,” but I just wanted to highlight some of the positive things that you should consider when planning your next trip.


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