Slow travel: the feeling of connectedness.

Heart Rock Amami Oshima (Japan), October 2018. Photo by Alexandra Mateus.

Travel has always offered me a window of rich experiences. Getting away, I escape the routines and the jadedness of every day, embracing new ways of living and learning from them.

However, today’s challenges on a planetary level affect everyone in every geographical location and culture. It manifests itself in diverse economic, environmental, and societal crises, affecting how we live, travel and experience the world.

All the events during the last years until now make me question how we might experience travelling today with ethics in mind, as we live in a world of immediate consumption and overload of information, part of which is fake news. Moreover, the events we are witnessing reflect human activity’s impact on the planet and the Anthropocene epoch.

The parallels between the biodiversity of the earth and its cultural diversity are evident — the planet’s diversity, people, and nature must be respected, cherished, and supported. Nature and ethnic diversity should be protected as humanity’s most incredible legacy.

We need a systems approach toward a more conscious, responsible, empathetic, and solution-oriented future in connecting with people and cultures. Ethical travel resonates with the mindset we need to have.

My encounters with nature and different cultures have taught me about the world’s richness and other ways of living. Also, it has been inspiring me to adjust habits to a more minimal lifestyle, which I have acquired from particular travels, especially those out off the beaten track. It has shown how sublime and vulnerable the planet, people and beings are and has inspired me to take good care of it.

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.”
Ralph Crawshaw

Seeing different people’s lifestyles has helped me to embrace empathy and how I use my choices to create change. I attempt with the essays I write to nurture a community of like-minded people for communication on how we might successfully make behaviour change toward the long-term future on a micro (interactions) scale.

In that case, we create a future, including more sustainable, equitable and desirable travel for us, sustaining communities and the planet. It is about gaining new skills, undertaking mental and physical challenges, and practising empathy to connect people, cultures, and the environment. It helps us discover and understand many other aspects of our global connectedness.

Senior UX designer • Traveler • Circular design • Material futures •

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Alexandra Mateus

Alexandra Mateus

Senior UX designer • Traveler • Circular design • Material futures •

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