As we have become ‘professional’ world travelers, we’ve developed a unique travel style, one that has certainly changed from our early travel days. In part, that’s simply because we have matured, and we no longer enjoy extreme budget backpacking. We like to explore and have real, meaningful travel experiences, but please—don’t make us sacrifice a bit of style and class in the process.
Another thing we’ve learned is that we prefer to travel slowly. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” To us, that is epitomized in travel. Our most memorable travel experiences have been the unexpected encounters along the way to our final destination, when we can go at our own pace and garner a new perspective on our surroundings.
Now we try to always travel slowly, allowing for at least a few months in each new destination. However, the ultimate in our slow travel experiences was when we decided to cycle over 1000 miles through Vietnam. It took us two months, but we passed through amazing villages, met remarkable people, and saw incredible landscapes, all of which we would have missed had we chosen to travel by a different medium.
Our cycling trip reinforced that we love slow travel, and we’ve been looking for similar experiences ever since. Recently we discovered cycling holidays from Inntravel. They offer self-guided, non-group cycling tours in Europe—which sounds right up our alley. Though we will be spending the majority of our upcoming time in Europe in frigid Norway and Sweden, we are also planning on setting aside time for a journey through France. And what better way to experience Bordeaux or the vineyards and castles of Châteaux then via an individual cycling tour? Plus, wine always tastes a lot better after you’ve worked for it all day. While the cycling tours in France sound especially appealing to us, there are also options for destinations such as Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy… and that’s just the start. We could definitely see ourselves returning to Europe for a complete cycling journey!
Another form of slow travel that we have yet to really experience is walking tours. It’s true—it doesn’t get much slower than that! Some of the more famous walking journeys are the Camino de Santiago and Machu Picchu, both of which are on our bucket list, but there are other gentler walking tours available to any fitness level. Even if you only have a long weekend, there’s more than likely a walking tour available! Inntravel is the leading specialist in walking tours across Europe, and offers something for everyone. We’re particularly interested in pumping up our adventure pursuits for a walking tour in the mountains or even through the colorful fishing villages of Sweden!
One thing we learned from our cycling journey in Vietnam is to make sure that you pack light for your slow travels. We were lugging way too much stuff on the back of our bikes, which made the slow part not nearly as enjoyable! That’s one of the best parts about traveling slowly via a professional organization—they often arrange transport of your luggage for you!
From our experience, a lot of people are turned off by slow travel because they think that they are not in the right physical conditions for it, or that they must dedicate weeks or even months to have an optimal experience. But slow travel is available to anyone, and it is truly one of the best ways to get off the beaten track and discover the nuances of a destination that make it so special.
What slow holidays have you experienced? Where did you go? What made it so unique?