4 years, 4 countries. So our conclusion as a family when we talk about “our journey”. We define ourselves as slow travelers. As a slow traveler. But what is slow travel actually and what we like so much about it just not a lot of places and attractions to travel in a short time? Looking back, we started as an emigrant. Dissatisfied and with little opportunity to be happy as a family in Germany, we moved to the vicinity of the Arctic Circle. About Norway and Germany we are back to Sweden, this time in the southern part. We just traveled terribly slowly without having planned it in the beginning.
What does Slow Travel or even Ultra Slow Travel mean for us?
We have learned to make the most of our journey. It was not about seeing as much as possible, not even about how many countries, cities or places of interest we could see in a week or two, just to prove we were there. For us traveling means to know more. More about mentalities, more about cultures, more about the country. If you do not stay, you will never get over the holiday feeling and miss the land with all its advantages, but also all its disadvantages. On the edge of the Arctic Circle, the Swedish Lapland, we learned how fantastic a winter can be. On the other hand, the summer with all its mosquitoes was hard to enjoy. The Swedish “knott” are very small mosquitoes, which one does not see and unfortunately does not hear, but recognizes the result in the evening on the troubled skin. So if we had only enjoyed the winter or even just the summer, we would never have been able to judge whether we would settle there permanently there.
So Slow Travel is a complete experience for us, especially with longer and deeper interaction with the locals. It’s about enjoying and doing other activities. It’s about taking time, time that is missing in our everyday life, yes, why we actually go on a journey to just recover. It’s not about doing what everyone does. Just stay.
Communication and confrontation, otherwise the travel experience becomes too sterile for us.
When we talk about our travel experiences today, it’s always been the moments with people who made our trip memorable and that we will talk about for years to come, because they made an impression. Leave a mark that any places, buildings or bridges can not give us in the long term. To look behind the facades is only to stop, to be slow. No glance. No Snapchat Message. Slow Travel is like a detailed book of new words, ideas, smells, tastes, sounds, and people who create it all.
Also we were the ones who were resting through places. At the beginning of our emigration, we made a 10 day journey by motorhome through Sweden. We only spent a maximum of one day per location and had very little contact with locals because of the stays on the campsites.
Planned trips do not provide moments for the unexpected. There are no anticipations or surprises.
There are people who need to know what their daily menu looks like before they arrive, even before they arrive.
What do these people take with them from their travels? Can you relax? Definitely. But do they have to travel if they just relocate their comfort zones to another location, even though they all have it at home? We all enjoy life differently in so many areas and situations. For some it is traveling, we would be bored with such a kind of incredible travel. So what! Individuality makes us special!
We love the unexpected, the unknown. For us, Slow Travel is a kind of tailor made trip without the right tailoring for it.
Nobody chooses what we eat. Nobody chooses what we do or how long we stay.
How to travel slowly?
There are many ways to travel slowly and no one is perfect. You can travel like us for 4 years. You go on a fortnight’s holiday and travel slowly, for example, by train or bicycle.
You just let yourself go there on a long weekend. The experience and impact of each trip is priceless. Do not think about what you have to do. Just do it and do it slowly. Especially when you have time.
Learn a language on your journey. Get in touch with people and order in a local language bar. A simple “hello”, “thank you” or “goodbye” breaks in every wall. You will notice it.
You have the opportunity to find a home base for you and your family. A place where you can always return. It is important not to feel like a tourist, to lay the non-binding, build relationship, adapt, and see if everyone in the family can cope with the circumstances. You should gather with your family what is most important to everyone. If you want to go to the city, you want to go to the countryside. Which hobbies play a role? Are there any schools and kindergartens? Do you have to work and look for a job? For us it was clear that we travel as long as and change places until we have found the perfect home base. Our moves are now over after 5 years (first time). Why do we want a homebase in which we feel well? Yes, of course we are concerned with the safety of not cutting off the last emergency anchor if, for example, someone becomes seriously ill or we feel too old to travel. But also because we like the feeling of coming home somewhere.
Today we feel, despite having found Homebase in Sweden, not at the finish line. Again and again we have quit jobs, have literally packed house and farm and moved to a new country, with ever new circumstances. Memories stay. But our head just can not stop, it will always be traveling again.