Vagabonding And The Art Of Slow Travel

As we seem to be working harder and vacations seem to be getting shorter, our capabilities of not having action-packed holidays seem to have ebbed, making post vacation burnout inevitable. In this supersonic day and age, has “slow travel” become a pipe dream?

Slow travel and vagabonding overlap to a large extent, although they may be perceived differently — depending on the traveler and his/her travel ambitions.

The slow travel concept is subjective depending on where you source its meaning, but its core focuses on connecting with where you are traveling in a more authentic way, possible because you are doing it slowly and leisurely. It is a mindset where you travel, not to see every morsel of your destination, but to see things different from what the crowd sees.

On the same lines, in Rolf’s Vagabonding book (2003) he says: “Vagabonding is not like bulk shopping: The value of your travels does not hinge on how many stamps you have in your passport when you get home — and the slow, nuanced experience of a single country is always better than the hurried, superficial experience of forty countries.”

So while vagabonding is a way of life, slow travel may inadvertently be a large leap towards such a way of life.

A slightly different spin on these thoughts manifests as you see big publications send travel-writers on assignments to rediscover this concept of ‘slow travel’. For instance, Conde Nast Traveler sent writer Mark Schatzker to travel around the world in 80 days, Phileas Fogg style. The rules were that he could not fly, and could not travel more than 100 miles per hour. Schatzker kept a daily blog, and a 9-page feature on his trip has just been published online. It’s ironic though, that the venture had an 80-day deadline.

Perhaps what can be considered a more extensive as well as ‘green’ endeavor to explore the slow travel notion is that of Guardian’s Ed Gillespie. Neither will Ed fly anywhere on his low-carbon circumnavigation and will be on the road for a year. Although owner of a company specializing in corporate sustainable development (Futerra), Ed is not an eco-fundamentalist nor an anti-flying fanatic; the journey is in prospect of a responsible, real adventure that “revels in the slow movement through landscape, culture, people and language rather than just passing over it all in an aluminium sausage.” Ed maintains a blog and has a Google Map where you can find where he is now, and where he is off to next.

Posted by | Comments (2)  | September 18, 2007
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

2 Responses to “Vagabonding And The Art Of Slow Travel”

  1. Lois Sealey Says:

    Another increasingly popular form of travel, that fits into both concepts, vagabonding and slow travel, is home exchange. Although swapping homes is a money saver (no accommodation costs), most home exchangers do it for the chance to live in a real home in a real neighbourhood, rather than in a tourist ghetto. Home owners’ friends and neighbours often enjoy introducing the temporary residents on home exchange to lesser known attractions in their area.

    As well as running a home exchange service based in London for the last 23 years, I also publish a blog, trying my best to cover all the questions that come up about home exchange. Hope you will visit!

  2. Laura Says:

    I have the perfect suggestion for slow travel!Vacation home, condo and luxury villa vacations have long been perceived as an option for the “rich and famous.” In reality, a vacation home rental, condo or even a villa, is often comparable in price or even less expensive than a traditional hotel room. You can learn more about renting vacation homes and take advantage of special vacation deals at the Vacation Home Expo, April 12 – 13, at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about the Expo visit