Traveling slower...Baby Steps

Spending a longer time in one place helps me find things like this. 

When I look back on the travel I have done up until this point in my life, which includes about 32 or so countries, I realize that I have never traveled slow (with the exception of study abroad in Spain). I am constantly running from one place to the next. Even during my two previous backpacking trips, I was running around all over the place, like 14 countries in 3 months running. This is for three main reasons, one, I am always trying to beat the clock, two, I am trying to beat my bank account and three, I am just so darn curious I want to experience it all.

It is clear, I do not yet know how to travel slowly. That is why with just two weeks of vacation I did both Nepal AND Bhutan. Or there was that time I did nearly 3,000 miles in New Zealand in two and half weeks. Now don't get me wrong, I am grateful for every experience no matter how long or short. I tend to absorb things quickly and can stay present regardless of the time crunch during travel, so it is always time well spent. Even with such a short amount of time, I still meet lots of people and learn a lot. But as I approach the next chapter in my life I am looking to learn to travel slowly. I am trying to learn how to travel slowly. This is one of my major goals during my RTW, career break, new life, whatever you want to label it. I'm going to be checking in with myself to see how I am progressing, if I am in fact, traveling slow.

Traveling slow means something different to everyone, for me, right now, today, it means spending a week in one place and a month in one country. Hopefully as time goes on it will mean spending a month, or two or five in one place. Baby steps.

So nearly a month in, how's it going? Well I am still doing a lot, but I am more stationary. This has been a huge transition for me. I have had to let go of all expectations and desires to "see it all." The reality is that you just can't. You have to make decisions and prioritize. I have set aside my desire to see an entire city in one day. I have set aside my lust for driving for miles upon miles just to see one thing. I am choosing to do only one major thing each day instead of five. I have to tell you, it's incredibly liberating. I am still taking a lot of pictures and getting a feel for places, but in a whole new way. A big component of this has been my ability to stay with locals. This is something that I have always liked to do, but when you are traveling slower, you have more time to get to know them, pick their brains and find out what they think is great about their area, instead of what a guidebook says is a top spot. It also lends itself to more organic exploration. I have been down more roads to nowhere with something fabulous at the end of it than I can count. 

Road to "nowhere."

A big reality of RTW is burnout and I think learning to travel slowly helps guard against it. It might not cure it, but it sure does help each place feel like home and keep you grounded.

Do you travel slowly? Do you pack it all in?