Updated: Apr 8, 2022
Slow travel is a term that is slowly coming up more and more. Being able to spend more than a week in a different city, country or even continent is something so many of us aspire to do. Slow travel makes it possible.
Slow travel emphasizes making connections to local people, cultures, food, music, etc. To do this, most of the time you'll need more time in the location to go beneath the surface and really immerse yourself. Spending weeks, months, or even years in another location is slow traveling and there are a lot of perks that come along with it.
1. Experiencing life in another country, not tourism
Slow travel. I can't sell this enough. I get to fully immerse in another country, culture, language, and way of life. This way of traveling is like the difference between watching a 15 second Instagram story vs. a hour and a half movie. I sightsee and do "touristy" things, but I also grocery shop and go to work every week. I love it here.
When you go deeper than the tourist experience, you get to see a lot more of what a country REALLY has to offer. Making friends, connecting to coworkers and just interacting with people you see on a regular basis can make a world of difference. Locals will be able to show you hidden gems and things that tourists wouldn't even know to look for. From hole in the wall restaurants to inviting you over for a traditional meal, the personal connections will take your experiences to the next level.
Living in another country will also give you an insight look at the day to day people experience in the country. How do people generally get around? What does a carton of milk cost? What do people do for fun? These are all questions you'll get the answer to when slow traveling. Establishing a routine and way of life in another country is truly the best way to really see the country for what it is.
I've now lived in six different countries and each one offered me a different way of life. From the hustle and bustle of the States to the slow life in Mérida, México. From freezing my ass off in a South Korean winter to sweating in my sleep in Senegal. From squeezing in the metro on a daily basis in Italy to squeezing in Tap Taps in Haiti. Each country was something different, but all contributed to who I am today and will be tomorrow.
2. Eating local & not local food
When traveling for tourism it feels like you don’t have enough time to try everything. As a slow traveler, I have all the time in the world. I’m not ashamed to say that my first meal in South Korea was Burger King. My boss drove three hours each way to pick me up from the airport at five in the morning, show me around the school, and take me grocery shopping. After that, we were exhausted. We pulled up to the BK kiosk and did what we had to do.
Since then I've been able to try local spots, Korean chain restaurants and yes, I've gone to Burger King too. There's no pressure. Sometimes I don't feel like struggling through trying to read a menu or finding a place that has exactly what I have a taste for. Do you eat local every time you go out? I didn't think so. Sometimes I eat bulgogi and sometimes I eat a Whopper. I LIVE here. I'm not missing out on anything by getting American food every now & then.
3. Last, but not least... Netflix
It may seem like an insignificant thing, but Netflix is literally all I watch. If it’s not on Netflix chances are I haven’t seen it and won’t until it gets there.
Netflix is different for every country. There’s so many shows and movies that I’ve watched abroad that just aren’t available in the States. In Italy, Senegal, and South Korea I got put on so much. Watching shows in other languages and things that just aren’t on Netflix US. Whenever I’m watching TV, it’s Netflix. Binge watching the Big Bang Theory and Rick & Morty is not something I can't do in the States, but I can do it in South Korea 🤪
I do realize that I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have an American Passport and English as my mother tongue. Everybody doesn't have the ability or PRIVILEGE to live the life I live. I'm forever grateful for my lifestyle and appreciative of all the people that came before me and made this possible.
With that being said... If you do have the ability to experience life abroad I highly recommend it. 10/10. 5 stars. 100%. Come join me on this joyride ✈️