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Slow travel has become more and more popular amongst the  digital nomad community. The term “slowmad” is the expression of a slow nomad, which means taking as much time as possible to enjoy one location at a time for usually longer than 1 month, most commonly, 3- 9 months. It’s become a movement & I don’t think it is going anywhere anytime soon.

Slow travel can also apply to anyone who is on vacation. It is simply a mindset and choice to spend more one location or move slowly to get to the planned destination.  

Slow travel examples include planning some time in a layover going to your destination. In order to not feel rushed to shoot through a 24 hour flight and break it up, with some time spent at your layover destination. As a slow traveller, I have even taken a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, stopping at in n out, 7 magic mountains, and other coffee or food stops. I would extend a trip that would take 5 hours to shoot right through with a mindset of:  “however long it takes”. It is literally, taking your time and not feeling like you have to be anywhere too quickly, rushing through a cross off items on your list.  

Here are some of the benefits of Slow Travel:

In Depth Discovery of Local Culture

It’s easy to breeze through a country, try the food, learn a word or two in their language, take a tour and then leave by just scratching the surface.No judgment to this way of seeing the world, as there is a time and place that I do these trips as well.  However, when you can immerse yourself more deeply into the culture, you get a sense of their lifestyle, the reason for their traditions and rituals, and how they think differently than you might. It provides you with a personal development aspect where you  see what you like from each culture and can adapt to your own.

 I remember when I was in Greece, the slower rhythm, “parties’ ‘ were local bands, friends hanging around the dinner table, sipping wine,  talking, and sharing dishes.  It really gave a sense of community, and more intimate connections. I much preferred this way of staying up late, than going to a club. 

There is also a bonus of the surprise of getting lucky and falling into local festivals and celebrations that are not widely known to the public, such as local music festivals, artisan fairs, and of course, traditional ones that take place only once a year. 

You’ll also have more time to talk to the locals and expats that live there, which will give you a more authentic, well rounded experience. 

In Koh Lanta, Thailand. I get my breakfast at Galapagos and chat with the owner Taa. I love my chocolate protein smoothies at Fulfill Cafe and have become friendly with the owner, Jaime. I am developing a deeper sense of community, which is a highly sought after experience for digital nomads and longer term travelers. All you have to do is stay still long enough and embrace slow tourism. 

Exploring More Nature

One of the biggest benefits of slow travel is being able explore nooks and crannies of the secret local nature spots. As opposed to signing up for a tour, where you are shuttled in what I like to call, the “Disneyland” experience of nature in each culture. Being able to travel at a slower pace,  taking your time and enjoying it, rather than having a strict schedule on a group tour because you have to see 5 other spots within 4 hours, really reminds you of how important nature as a way to really slow down. 

Learning New Skills

I didn’t value or think about this for many years throughout my travels. It wasn’t until I really slowed down that I felt I even had the time to not only learn a new skill, but decide what new skill I even wanted to learn. In my day to day life, I would have a million ideas that sounded interesting (photography, editing, yoga teacher training, jewelry making, cooking lessons), yet I couldn’t pick one and commit. I wasn’t about to slow down long enough to pick the skill that felt the most truthful to what I wanted or needed at the moment. 

  • For those that like challenges, slow travellers benefit from taking the time to learn new skills. For example, when I studied in Spain for 3 months, and then circled back to the canary islands for a month years later, I got to improve my Spanish from a total of ten sentences to about fifty. Just like being a slow traveler, I can also be a slower learner. It matches the lifestyle pretty well, don’t you think?
  • You have the advantage to try new activities and get certifications that might work out for you down the line. I ended up extending my stay on the Gili Islands in Indonesia to get my open water Padi scuba certification. I am currently exploring Yoga Teacher Teacher Trainings & Reiki Teaching training in India now! 
  • Learning new skills doesn’t always have to mean that it is specific to the country where you are. The opportunity to slow down provides more time to get in the groove of a day to day routine, with new inspiring ideas that flow in. I’ve always wanted to write and decided to slow my pace to  even challenge myself to commit more to the process and learn the tech skills of building a website, crafting a blog and wallah- this blog was born. 

Creating Longer Lasting Memories

Travel for me, ultimately has become all about the people. The majority of my most coveted memories include another person or people. Remember, even if you are on a solo travel trip, a solo digital nomad, does not mean you are alone. 

There are so many times I ended up staying in destinations I did not love because of people I wanted to stick around for. Those memories are some of my more precious. I had the most miserable time in Georgetown, Malaysia, but met a good friend Raad, who was an expat originally from Yemen. We hit it off and hung out for a couple of days, eating our way through GeorgeTown. 

In Vietnam , I found myself in HCMC, where big cities are usually my nightmare. I made some friends there and wanted to stay to develop those friendships. I also wanted to see if I could gain clarity on teaching English Abroad (more on that later). 

Traveling slowly allows you to make more well rounded connections with individuals that surpass the light,  “where are you from?”, “where have you been?”. “Where are you going?”, more slowly uncovering, ‘What’s your story?” Let’s get to know each other! Those special moments are imprints that are unforgettable. 

Saving Money

Who doesn’t want to save money? Even when you have loads of it, even wealthy people still think about deals. I am friends with the 1% and I can assure you, they are asking for  discounts and deals just like everyone else. No matter your income level, everyone loves a great deal and saving money.

Side bar. I feel obliged to say, it is wise to work on a mindset of either making money and/or trusting the abundant flow you won’t be stressing about it. Nevertheless, life throws us unpredictable situations (Covid) and having money saved for a rainy day is of huge value for our emotional and mental health states. 

  • More budget friendly experiences-I remember chasing cheap accommodations for a while, thinking that would save me money. I was always so shocked when I splurged on fancier spots and ended up saving money for that month or months. It should not have been a surprise to me as everything was more low key. I established a routine, where I wasn’t eating out or doing activities every other day. I also was in the know of some more budget-friendly activities.
  • Not falling into obvious tourist traps- It’s easy when you are in a time crunch and throw money into quick tours that end up becoming tourist traps. When you travel slower, you gain a sense of what a trap vs what is a more authentic experience. 

Exploring a More Sustainable Lifestyle

I’ll admit, I don’t know all the ins and outs or follow a sustainable lifestyle. Yet, here are some benefits of traveling slowly and creating a more sustainable future for you and all of us. 

  • Limiting your environmental footprint. suggested that with the slow travel trend, slow travelers have created more sustainable practices by staying places longer. Also, things like I walk more within my own area and take public transportation when it is available. National Geographic also explains that also helps with eating locally grown food.
  • Supporting local businesses and economies. When you are a tourist, you are trying new things, which is great. When you slow down, you go into the same places to support my local friends, and build up their economy, one restaurant at a time. 
  • Being an advocate for responsible tourism. I find myself making sure I am taking care of the environment and setting an example when I can. For example, I naturally collect trash or plastic on the beach daily. In fact, I found a yoga mat floating in the water that I adopted. Talk about manifestations. 2 weeks prior,  I was telling my landlord that I needed a Yoga Mat. There was one, simply floating in the ocean with no owner. 

Exploring Off-the-Beaten Path Locations

Getting off the beaten path happens the most when you get to know the locals, or other travelers that have stuck around long enough to point you towards  secret spots. I’ve been blessed to have locals take me around, show me hole in the wall restaurants, nature beauty spots, even pointing out the deals on cosmetic products and clothes I would never even think of googling, or finding on my own. 

Bonuses include: 

  • Uncovering the hidden gems of your location
  • Avoiding overly crowded tourist activities and attractions. 
  • Getting creative with finding unique experiences. 

Cultivating Inner Peace

This has become one of my most valuable experiences. Nothing compares to inner peace.  In fact, this is the #1 reason I started to slow down. I didn’t realize it at the time, until I actually paused long enough to understand that this is ultimately the most important skill I want to cultivate. For me, finding deeper ways into a practice that promotes inner peace has become about slowing down. I seek out smaller towns and quieter locations for an extended period of time.  I was going a million miles per hour to nowhere. Well, somewhere, just the same places I have been a million times before. I didn’t have much of a direction but I was running in sprints, here to there and back again,  circles and loops, on a repeat cycle. 

My inner voice was screaming, we need to stop and the external vocabulary expression sounded like,  “I just need to be on my own island, my own mountain top so I can hear myself think!” Time was speeding up and I had lost my center and my balance, probably for years now, maybe even since I was a child.  My mind was so cloudy with different voices and opinions in my head that had faces of the people who put them in there, or snap shots of the small versions of me that believed them.  I forgot which voice was Morgan’s anymore. I had to zone out, exit all my comforts, friends, family and do this part alone. This required me to  slow down, eliminate distractions, walk in nature daily, have a small community, and get connected back to my true self. 

My mental health and sanity was depending on me to be strong and go out on my own away from all my comforts, for a while. Being brave to travel out on my own was one thing, being brave to stay in one place, go through a more inward travel experience, was another. 

When I started winding down my desire for outward travel became less and less.  I started making choices to explore  inward travel. I went from scuba thrills to daily walks on the beach.  

Slow travel is a great way to find inner peace. It’s a time for reflection, disconnecting from the world, taking time for yourself and ultimately, hearing what your soul wants. 

Final Thoughts

The benefits of slow travel go beyond a short vacation, it is a long term thinking mindset. It can be anything from taking your time to get to a close destination, moving from point a to point be, anywhere really.  A journey of self discovery and cultivating new skills to assist with slowing down,  is priceless. 

Or as one of my closest friends from Sydney explained, it is embracing the Aussie traveller mindset, of “no worries”, moving slow, not overthinking and taking time to enjoy the scenery

I know no better way right now than to find a place to slow travel and move into yourself, which is a world so large, beautiful and endless you will realize home is anywhere and everywhere and slow travel is a simple action step to get there. 

How slow can you go? Follow along or reach out for any questions or support. I am here for you!

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