An ode to Ancestral wisdom

Atlantic coast nearby Sintra (Portugal), January 2022. Photo by Alexandra Mateus

We face a point in history that requires us to act decisively on how we approach life to reverse the countdown of fading us away from ancestral wisdom.

Honoré describes the concept of slow living in his TED talk: In praise of slowness. He came to research the idea of slowness by realising how his fast-paced life was profoundly affecting him physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Adopting a slower pace of life increases our wellbeing, the quality of our relationships, and energy and is nothing new. It also helps us to clear the mind. However, it is still challenging to integrate it into our daily lives fully.

I always feel intrigued by enjoying beauty in small details in the present, and the slow movement quickly caught my attention a couple of years ago. Quality time has been something I value even more nowadays, to balance the fast pace that we immerse ourselves in depending on the circumstances.

It is about time we spend tasting organic food from a farmer’s market nearby while enjoying the wide-open views with friends, family or people who connect with us to our values, tastes, caring exciting conversations around a table. Visiting a new spot in the city or experiencing something different that heals us during the week also embraces slow living.
At the same time, I experienced slow travel more regularly unconsciously with the mindset I have been embracing for the last years.

I have found awe while fully immersed in different cultural backgrounds and nature, being far away in a retreat and taking care of my health, watching diverse landscapes, listening or learning languages, and tasting or smelling various flavours of quality food. Once I immerse in different sensory experiences out of the fast pace of contemporary life, I feel to reconnect with the ancestral wisdom.

“A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this, and it mattered to me.” — Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel.”

Aligned with this set, I came to running and meditation to enable myself to feel in the now and be more aware of current events wherever I am. Moreover, slow travel is a way to thoroughly experience journeys, culture, and the environment. When I am not travelling, embracing slow encourages me to invest more quality time daily or weekly and take more control over the experiences I include in my days.

People love what is natural, and that appeals to the wisdom of nature. I smiled when I read a report named Sustainable Futures by The Future Laboratory and took one of the references: Tribal communities have all of the natural qualities we’re interested in terms of ecosystem services. — Julia Watson, author, LO-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

This thought inspired me to uncover that people love what is natural, and it appeals to the wisdom of nature. As part of our revaluing of the environment, there is a renewed understanding of how many communities of the global majority have strong ancestral — and inherently sustainable — relationships with the Planet. Living in balance with natural ecosystems as indigenous cultures do, we tend to create resilient futures for both people and the Planet. Understanding and implementing that mindset can be vital in collectively nurturing empathy to help us understand the broader effect of our actions. Then we can reverse personal tension and collective issues from social, economic and environmental levels. Slow travel can help develop our wisdom, as it focuses on ourselves and the collective.

Environmental wellbeing becomes interconnected to our individual and collective wellbeing, as we all relate to one another, and the Planet’s health reflects in our health.




Senior UX designer • Writer • Slow Traveler • Systems thinker advocate • Circular design • Material futures •

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Alexandra Mateus

Alexandra Mateus

Senior UX designer • Writer • Slow Traveler • Systems thinker advocate • Circular design • Material futures •

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