Opinion by Carlo Boselli, general manager at Eurail
Do you ever feel like taking a vacation from a vacation, because you had so much to do, so many places to cover, so many cuisines to try, in so little time? By the end of it, you may often conclude that all you wanted was an effortless getaway, where you could meet the locals, unwind and escape the world.
Imagine coming back from your holiday and feeling a connection with the culture and the people of the place you visited, as if it were your own. That’s the magic of ‘slow travel’.
The term ‘slow travel’ emerges from the ‘Slow Food Movement’ that started in the 1980s in Rome against the opening of a Mcdonald’s. The movement was aimed to preserve regional cuisines, local farming, communal meals and traditional food preparation methods. Millennial terms like ‘JOMO’ or ‘Joy of Missing Out’ are a part of the current slow travel movement emphasising a leisurely attitude towards travel.
The new age Indian traveller today, seeks everything to utilise their vacation and break away from the norm. Slow travel is becoming popular, especially among solo travellers and young families from India. This trend has mostly come about as a response to the hectic travel schedules, especially in the western hemisphere. European trips are normally associated either with hectic professional commitments or manic sightseeing schedules covering everything from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the French Alps. However, in recent times, Indian travellers are choosing a more relaxed version of European travel, especially on trains where you get to see the countryside as you pass through. Moreover, when you choose to travel slowly and stay longer, you also help in reducing the amount of fossil fuel needed to propel your journey, which makes you a responsible traveller.
Trains and slow travel
Imagine travelling in a train compartment through the Italian countryside, chatting with your co-passenger and then voilà, a story starts. The Eurail Pass, which is an all-in-one train pass giving you flexible access to trains across Europe, is ideal for this kind of immersive travel. Train journeys tend to help you ease out your schedule by helping you travel through the countryside and experience it in a more involved way and at a steadier pace. With a Eurail Pass, you can customise your trip according to when and where you want to go. The beauty of trains is that while you are travelling, if you fancy a spot, just hop off and explore — then continue with the next train. It’s the ideal way to start your slow travel trip.
In terms of budget, slow travels are always kinder to your wallet where you do not need to spend money on a hyper strict itinerary. When you are travelling slow, you do not need to buy a new ticket for a new museum or adventure park every day. Instead you can live and travel for a week, in a small town in Switzerland or any other place of your choice. You will find solace amidst the peace and tranquillity of the destination and enjoy reduced transportation costs that come with living in vacation rentals, where you can cook your own food and stay for longer durations. This leads to money saving and exploration of your surroundings without having a checklist of places you need to tick off on a trip.
In today’s modern world, it has become exceptionally important to be mindful and aware of your surroundings. It is fundamentally important to go deep into versus touching the surface of a new culture you engage with, or else, it leads to superficial ideas that travellers tend to forget over the years. However, the pace at which the world functions makes it impossible to have the patience to enjoy the minor attributes in life, like a kind gesture or a small anecdote. Slow travel urges you to re-engage with a community, in some cases escaping real life and discovering a new you.