Yes. Slow travel is making a comeback. Admittedly not at great speed – but that’s the point. People don’t want to do so many things as fast as possible anymore. Fast living, fast lane, fast food. You name it, and people are are slowly pushing back on it.
Word has it that a group of Italians invented the term ‘slow food’ when McDonalds sought to open an outlet in Italy in the mid 1980s; they took affront to the idea of being served ‘fast food’ as they thought it ran counter to everything they associated with food; conviviality and the pleasures involved in the buying, preparing and sharing of food.
Clearly not all Italians agreed with them as the outlet they were complaining about went on to become one of the company’s top 10 franchises worldwide! But the idea grew as more people realised that preparing, serving and eating food slowly means the meals are being created with greater precision, care and, dare we say it, love.
Slow travel then, joins a growing list of other slow things. We’ve seen references recently to slow science, slow gardening, slow cities, slow fashion, slow education and even slow parenting. This last one concerns us. Toddlers have been known to move at great speed and usually in the wrong direction – so slow parenting may not always be appropriate.
And slow travel may not either, especially when you just want a quick weekend break or a dash to New York for some Christmas shopping.
But consider just how many holidays you can have that constitute slow travel. You can’t get much slower than a walking holiday which involves simply putting one foot in front of the other for miles and miles. Depending how fit you are, then a cycling holiday can get pretty slow, especially going up hills. Canoeing, kayaking and sailing probably count as forms of slow travel – especially when the wind drops. Lots of train journeys definitely count as slow as do coach journeys that involve motorways. And let’s add river cruises here too.
So there you have it. Lovers of slow travel unite. But don’t rush.