Written by Mandi Forrester-Jones
Talking amongst friends over the last few weeks, and with more meaning behind RUOK day this year than every before, one thing we have discovered is the need to slow down and enjoy some of the simpler things we used to take for granted, to relish in the smaller joys of life.
Travel has been curtailed severely, which has opened up doors to exploring our own country, and we have a lot of it to explore. But what about once the borders reopen and we can travel internationally again? Are we going to change our ways?
Once it was almost a given you had to pack as much into your holiday as possible. It was common to look at itineraries with 8 countries in 2 weeks in Europe, but is that really travelling? Is “if it is Tuesday it must be Amsterdam” really doing it justice? “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” Said Dr. Seuss. Exactly, but why hurry?
The rise in popularity of experiences such as homestay style accommodation, offering a more unstructured and immersive experience, has shown that we are searching for more, or really less. Discerning travellers want to experience new places, different ways of travelling and new cultures. We are desiring more space, culinary adventures and really soaking up the feel of a place rather than staying in a soulless blank hotel. We are also looking for less-touristy destinations, and more off the beaten track choices. Leisurely paced travels can be a smarter way to enjoy the trip. The moment you slow down you can connect with your surroundings much better. As you travel slowly, your connection grows stronger with the place. No rush is the word. Going by its philosophy, it’s more important to get to know one small area well.
Until COVID-19 hit, we were in a race for a better life, we exploited nature, we over consumed and took advantage of everything that we had available. Then it was almost as if Mother Nature had enough. She stood there with arms crossed and told us to go to our rooms, she took away our privileges, told us to think about what we had done and come out when we were sorry!
Are we going to head back to that pre-COVID world of over consumption? Or are we going to honour nature, start living in a better world for all? And what does this mean for travel and tourism?
Let’s learn to travel slowly, stay in one place for longer, appreciate the local food, meeting people and learning about their culture and lifestyle. There is a lot more focus on holidays incorporating health benefits, yoga, meditation, and retreats. You can learn to cook, or discover local arts and crafts etc. All allowing you to experience the slow pace of life.
Think consciously about what you want to do and where you want to do it. Also consider who you are buying from, support your local travel agent who is doing it tough rather than lining the pockets of the multi-national off-shore online companies. After all, the rich experiences that you gather becomes your personal treasures.