Why You Should Embrace The Art Of Slow Travel

Faster isn't always better.

By: Charlotte O'Neill
June 13, 2016

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My skin is hot. Salty sweat chases its way down, gravity pushing the droplets as they fall flat into the dirt. The rocky road holds pitfalls for the cows pulling our cart, and the driver calmly ignores the black mass of flies hitching a ride on his back. I sit in the rear of the car, cornered, holding on to the cart’s side, watching the passing clouds above. The smell of dirt, cow poo, and rotting jungle floor fills my mind, leaves it blank.

So much of the time we zip around the globe. It’s become the modern convenience: to travel, and to do it as quickly as possible. But I cannot believe that one can understand the intricacies of a culture in a lifetime – let alone a couple of whirlwind weeks. 

The art of traveling slowly is a commodity that is being reclaimed, largely explorers and those willing to get down and dirty with mother nature. But the slower we go, the more everything stands out, and the really beautiful things stand out all the more. Here’s five reasons you should slow it down on your next trip: 

12 Brutally Awesome Biking Adventures | Photo: Noah Couser

1. Sweat it out. 

Whether you’re biking, hiking, trail running or stuck in the back of a hot truck ducking away from rush of the odd semi truck by your bare arms, it’s a thrill that will catch in your throat and make you feel alive. If you take up road biking or trail riding, it is an excellent way to get to know the land near by and work it out.

2. You’re self-propelled. 

Not only are you burning calories and creating fresh endorphins, each step you take pushed onwards by your own legs is a giant leap towards reducing harmful emissions and raising CO2 levels through environmentally toxic planes, trains, and cars. You’ll see more, and feel good about your impact. 

3. Increase your cultural understanding. 

We’ve all seen (and most of us have probably been) the tourists that took the bus up to a beautiful mountain view, clicked some photos and left. While this is sometimes all you may have time for, traveling slower means you will have more time to converse with the locals and potentially gain some insider knowledge that isn’t on the travel brochures.

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4. More opportunity to be creative. 

If you’re a writer, photographer, or film maker, taking journeys by foot or independently gives you the freedom to take photo breaks, record the beautiful oft-missed moments on the road, and provide you with unique memories.

5. The best places are the ones away from the roads. 

The easy access lookouts and drive in campsites are often still a fair walk off from the most beautiful and special sights that each country has to offer. When you dedicate yourself to taking the time to travel slowly, you can take those off road opportunities that lead to remote adventures.  

Cover photo: Charlotte O'Neill

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.