Before taking off.

Locally produced and cooked food, Nåttarö island (Stockholm archipelago), 2021. Photo by Alexandra Mateus

Slow travel is an offshoot of the slow food movement, which began in Piedmont, Italy, in the 1980s as a backlash against fast food. The slow food movement started to promote local, traditional food made with love, produced with care and served graciously. After the protests of fast-food restaurants opening storefronts in Rome, local food producers rallied to call more attention to the local chefs, farmers, and artisans already producing the best local food.

Today the term slow movement refers to food, living and travel. This intentional appreciation of food (and food service) inspired many travellers, including me, to adopt the same philosophy regarding travel, and what began as the slow food movement expanded to include travel. The slow travel approach emphasizes local people, cultures, food and music. It relies on the idea that a trip is meant to educate and have an emotional impact in the present moment and future while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.

When I contacted the origins, it led me to deeply understand its roots and why it is not just a way to travel but a mindset. I became even more curious and identified the importance of slow travel communities worldwide. It is the outlook that the quality of the travel experience is more important than the quantity of the experiences when travelling — involving myself in every aspect of travels, savouring each moment, immersing myself in experiences fully and wholeheartedly. It is about deciding to enjoy sights and activities with an embracing attitude but not bombarding my itinerary with them.

Embracing everything I experience abroad is an essential aspect of my trip, including a passive and relaxing morning cappuccino at a local cafe to support the community or a long conversation with neighbours. Taking the time to enjoy the simple things, not necessarily the popular destination points — a significant perspective shift for most travellers — but it’s worth it.

As more travellers become aware of their impact on their destinations and the planet, you’ll see more slow travel opportunities emerge. It’s important to remember that travellers can foster a pull-through of tourism marketing by demanding more slow food and travel experiences.

Here are a few sources: A retreat in the Greek Peloponnese, the blue lagoon in Iceland, a peaceful retreat in the Parco Nazionale Della Val Grande. I will share more in my following writings according to the type of slow travel experience and budget.

Senior UX designer • Traveler • Circular design • Material futures • http://www.alexandramateus.com/

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Alexandra Mateus

Alexandra Mateus

Senior UX designer • Traveler • Circular design • Material futures • http://www.alexandramateus.com/

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