Week three on The Nomad MBA was travel week. And I know what you are expecting given the character of this blog. However, I actually decided to stay in Valparaíso and not travel. Given the intensity of the week before, I was in desperate need of some downtime. And with all the travelling I’ve done during the first three months of the year, I wasn’t really in the mood to pack my bags and hop on yet another plane anyway.
Instead, I poured myself into my studies and spent many wonderful hours with my fellow homebirds. My lovely Icelandic beauty Hildur was also kind enough to let me move into her apartment for the week. With its big sun terrace and the amazing weather we had all week, we all agreed that it was way better to work there than at the coworking space. Delicious dinners with wine and great conversations in the evenings created the perfect balance to our productive days. I also used our last weekend in Valpo to thoroughly explore the city’s colourful streets and countless staircases.
The case for Slow Travelling
Life is becoming more busy and hectic every day. And that certainly applies to the travel industry as well. We tend to cram as much as possible into our short vacations, want to tick off all the bucket list items and get all the Instagram-worthy shots. FOMO – or fear of missing out – is a real thing. And once we are back home we wonder why we are feeling even more exhausted than before we left.
Travelling these days is more about ‘been there, done that’ rather than discovering all the hidden secrets and grasping the essence of a place. And sometimes, I am definitely a victim of that, too. I’ve been on trips where all the things turn into one big blurry mess and two weeks afterwards, I’m having trouble putting things in order and remembering what I’ve actually done. My most memorable and connective experiences, however, were those where I did – very little. The most recent example is my spontaneous escape to Bali during which I was really able to connect to the island and – more importantly – myself.
But why settle for less if we can have it all?
Because we can’t. Yes, you might be able to see everything. But in order to really appreciate it as well, you need time. And Slow Travel has many other benefits on top of that.
You can actually relax.
Our bodies need time to unwind and process. And we usually don’t know we need it until we actually take time off to unclutter our minds. Slow Travel allows you to do just that and come back home more energized.
You can begin to understand a place and become a temporary local.
Think watching people and their habits or finding the best places for local foods. You gain so much insight just by simple things. And then suddenly you recognize people (or in Valparaíso dogs) you see every day and know where to get the freshest fruit, cheapest vegetables or most delicious chocolate cake. You can actually ‘be there’ instead of just ‘see there’.
You can be spontaneous and be surprised.
By not planning everything in advance you leave room for spontaneity. Stumble across a shop you like? Go inside and explore and have a chat with the owner. Need to escape the city for a bit? Go on a day trip to the beach or the countryside. Spend a complete day in a place you only wanted to check out for an hour? Why not. No plans, no rush. Whatever you feel like, you have the time to do it.
You can meet people.
After all, it’s them who tell the stories of a place. Not ‘The 10 Things not to miss on your Sightseeing Tour’. You might not make lifelong friends but you’ll certainly be exposed to insights and opinions vastly different from your own. Even just by striking up a conversation with the market vendor around the corner. And while you’re at it, you’ll almost effortlessly improve your language skills, too.
You can save money. And empower the local community at the same time.
Renting an Airbnb for a month is usually cheaper than staying at a hotel for the same time. And chances are you won’t eat out for every meal but instead cook at home. The best part though: the money you spend for rent and food usually benefits the local community rather than some big company. It benefits real people. With that knowledge, spending money has never felt that good. Trust me. 🙂
You can do something good for the environment.
Slow Travel is more environmentally friendly. That alone should be reason enough to give it a try. And since you have the time, why not support a local green initiative – either by donating or by getting your hands dirty and planting a tree or collecting rubbish.
I’m definitely starting to see the benefits of slow travel. Or, in our case, very slow travelling. All in all, I truly felt well rested and relaxed at the end of my spent-at-home travel week. And I think it’ll come in handy, given the disruptive schedule ahead. The whole tribe is moving to Cusco, Peru, in the following week. That’s exciting on one hand, but I guess it’ll be pretty exhausting as well. I am looking forward to seeing what difference the change of scenery and pace will make in the end. For myself as well as the whole tribe and its dynamic. I’ll keep you posted in my next posts, so make sure to come back soon to check! 🙂
Not a fan of Slow Travel?
No problemo. There is always plenty to do and see wherever you go. The rest of our group, for example, spent travel week exploring the Atacama desert. And from what I’ve heard and seen, it’s an absolutely magical place. I know, a desert doesn’t really sound that exciting. But this one has so much more to offer than just dryness and vastness. Think salt flats, geysers, mountain ranges, bonfires and stargazing. It definitely belongs on every bucket list and is just one of the many wonders Chile has to offer. I have a feeling that I’ll be coming back for that.