By Dharamveer Singh Chouhan
When we think of slow travel, the initial picture in our mind is that of a person sitting by the window seat of a slow-moving train, enjoying the beauty of travel and time at its own pace.
Or, a wanderer treading from one place to another with no pain of planning the trip from the beginning till the end. In reality, slow travel has a more significant meaning. In a world that values speed, efficiency, and productivity, slow travel is a refreshing concept that emphasises the journey over the destination.
Picture this: You’re in a cottage overlooking a mighty river, surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, sipping on a steaming cup of coffee and revelling in the beauty of the panoramic view. No busy itinerary, no city hopping, no going around busy, crowded malls and streets. All you have at that moment is nature, tranquillity, and a close-knit local community. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? Slow travel is all this and much more.
The antithesis of mass tourism, slow travel, focuses on mindfulness. It is intentional, conscious, and experiential tourism that is meaningful. Slow travel is a travel philosophy that encourages travellers to stay at a particular place for a significant amount of time to fully immerse themselves in its beauty and leisurely forge a deep connection to its people and culture.
Why it’s gaining traction among Indian travellers
Many of us are mentally exhausted and long for a slower life. Gone are the days when being in a constant race was considered productive. In recent years, more and more Indians are opting for slow travel experiences, shunning the quick-fix holiday packages and instead choosing to savour the moments and create memories that will last a lifetime. Today, more and more Indian travellers are gravitating towards slow travel for multiple reasons.
For one, slow travel is easy for the environment. With minimal transportation, sustainable living with the locals, more walking, and less consumption of resources, slow travel is inherently sustainable for the environment. And since slow travel steers clear of the typical touristy places, fewer crowds mean a more relaxed, immersive experience.
Besides, slow travel facilitates enriched travel experiences. It is also the best way to truly understand a region- the culture, lifestyle, food, and folklore of the place. Especially in a rich and varied country like India, where no two states follow the same cuisine, language, or landscape, slow travel is enriching that way. With slow travel, people can truly unwind, experience new things, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. It’s about immersing oneself in the local way of life and experiencing the destination as a local would.
Slow travel is also preferred by digital nomads who can work remotely and want to indulge in niche experiences. For instance, one can learn surfing in Kerala, where several surf schools provide courses that range from 5 days to a month. Or try farming in Himachal Pradesh from the natives and immerse in local culture and practices. In such ways, slow travel is rewarding in terms of the experiences you gain.
Another reason that is driving more Indians towards this concept is that slow travel is far more cost-efficient than country or city-hopping. You’ll not only find better accommodation deals when you stay for a long time but also be able to minimise transportation costs significantly.
Slow travel is an art that one must experience and enjoy to fully grasp its power on us. Moreover, the pandemic has led to a shift in travel patterns, with travellers looking for more offbeat and remote destinations and focusing on the experiences that allow one to connect with the local culture and place.
As a result, between 2021 and 2023, we have seen a trend of at least a 40 per cent increase in long stays made by travellers and digital nomads. Hence, given its numerous benefits, slow travel will likely continue growing in popularity. After all, slow travel is about rejuvenating the mind, body, and soul and cultivating a sense of mindfulness.
The author is Co-Founder & CEO of Zostel.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETTravelWorld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETTravelWorld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.