Tell me about slow travel

Old Jul 3rd, 2021, 04:24 AM
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Tell me about slow travel

Like many people I've fantasized about visiting a place for a period of months instead of days. For example, staying somewhere in Europe for a couple of months. It sounds amazing, at first glance at least.

But, for those who have done this, what is it really like? You're not there long enough to make friends or meaningful connections. And then you run out of local things to see and do. Do you then do the sorts of things you do at home? I think it would certainly be a very different experience staying in a city as opposed to a small town.

My heart says 'it would be a wonderful thing to do' but my head is saying 'what would it really be like after week 4'. Holidays are such precious times that we feel like we need to 'make the most of it' but that means different things to different people. Certainly if you stay in one place for a month you are foregoing seeing maybe 5 other places. But it's quality over quantity, right - or is it?

What are your thoughts and experiences? Although I can't go anywhere right now, it's not an idle question as it's something my husband and I have been discussing for when travel becomes possible for us again.
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Old Jul 4th, 2021, 05:10 PM
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We kinda sorta did quite a bit of 'slow travel' for a number of years, like maybe 10-12? We would choose a destination/area that had some tourist 'infrastructure', but at the same time we'd ask ourselves 'could we live here?' So, for our purposes, we would combine some touristy stuff along with testing the waters for a retirement destination. So it didn't matter if we ran out of things to 'do', since we also wanted to see what living in a certain place was like anyway. Most of our travel was to Latin America, so we would on occasion study Spanish for weeks at a time. Which kept us occupied when we did that.
As a PS we settled on Central Mexico.
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Old Jul 6th, 2021, 03:04 AM
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Thanks, baldone. It does seem like a purpose other than just visiting is a good thing.
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Old Jul 6th, 2021, 04:27 AM
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dreamon, in 2010 my SO and I were lucky enough to do exactly what you're talking about. He was on sabbatical from his teaching job and we lived in London for 4 months while he did research at the British Library and gave some papers at conferences in Europe. I have a long thread about it (almost 800 posts!) if you'd care to read it. We had a wonderful time.
goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)
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Old Jul 6th, 2021, 05:40 PM
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A week at one place was the longest I've done. But I found this wonderful place on the former Slow Travel forum.
Can't wait to return.
Our week was too busy. NOT "slow" enough. Tried to do too much and missed gtg in Cortona.
www.letorri.com
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 03:49 AM
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Thanks for sharing your post, goddesstogo. London offers so much to see and do, wonderful place. I think if we were to spend a couple of months somewhere, I'd prefer to be in a city but my husband would choose a small village.

Starrs, I'll check out that website. I used to read the Slow Travel forum and didn't realise it was defunct.
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 04:14 AM
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starrs, I have several friends who've stayed at Le Torri, some more than once, and they all love it. I'm tempted but I really prefer to stay in a town. LT has a wonderful reputation, though.

dreamon, (I like your name.) There are lots of nice towns that are just a short train ride from London and lots of 'towns' that are part of London. We stayed in West Hampstead but Hampstead was just a few minutes bus ride from us and it feels like a little town all on its own.
Also, I wanted to add that when we were first thinking about doing this and where we might go, we both agreed that we were not up to learning a new language so an English-speaking place was important to us.
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 08:34 AM
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dreamon - it's something I've contemplated and but for covid it's something that I had in mind starting this year, beginning by spending a month or so in Italy. Hey ho. The longest I've managed in one place that wasn't a holiday with family has been 2 weeks in Bologna doing a language course and then another 11 days in Venice where I did a week at a language school there. I find that having a reason to get up in the morning is essential plus it helps with meeting people. It did help me make connections sufficient for when I was there even in quite a short period of time.

As for town or village, in a town, if you pick a big enough one you will have far more to do, but in a village, if it is the right one, you will soon meet people if you want to. Go to Church [even if you don't believe, most people there probably don't either] and stay for the tea and biscuits afterwards, go down the pub and join in the quiz night or darts match. And many villages are close enough to a station to make visiting the nearest city regularly a real possibility - London is surrounded by commuter villages like the one I used to live in in Kent.
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by goddesstogo View Post
starrs, I have several friends who've stayed at Le Torri, some more than once, and they all love it. I'm tempted but I really prefer to stay in a town. LT has a wonderful reputation, though.
.
A lot of the other guests were return guests. One couple was returning for a two week stay. The "village" is tiny but our plan was to go out and about during the day, returning from our shopping with food we had gathered for dinner. We just planned too much travel on the "day" trips. I hope to return and take it MUCH slower and take advantage of the pool and the location. The new wife (of the son) is offering cooking classes and other classes and the welcome feast for the week's stay is fabulous. I hope to combine it with more days somewhere else more "busy", but Le Torri is enchanting. I don't think I mentioned it but we were driving back from Cortona after dark and came across more than a dozen wild pigs in the middle of the road. THAT was an adventure! I hope I get to go back relatively soon.
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 11:10 PM
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I think I've come to the conclusion that I would need to either choose somewhere with lots of things nearby that visitors would naturally like to do - or have some specific purpose such as education, volunteering, etc. I'm just not the sort of person who can be idle for very long. If I end up going by myself, I think I may well stick to my usual pattern of 5-6 days in each place. Academic at the moment, as Australians aren't allowed to travel overseas (another year is being mooted by government) and even domestically it's challenging. Plenty of time to think it through and come up with a plan.

Thanks for your feedback everyone.
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Old Jul 16th, 2021, 05:24 PM
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I've done a month several times. It was in a place I often vacation for a week or two so I knew my way around and had things to do every day (beyond normal tourist stuff). Honestly the amount of time didn't feel any different. I could have easily stayed a few more months.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 10:02 AM
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Quite honestly, I really hate anything longer than a week in one place just to cook, shop and clean. Although I like to visit a local grocery store and do some cooking, I don't want to travel to be a domestic.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
Quite honestly, I really hate anything longer than a week in one place just to cook, shop and clean. Although I like to visit a local grocery store and do some cooking, I don't want to travel to be a domestic.
Well, I do love staying in a hotel. In fact, I'm not going to go to a retirement home. I'm just going to check into a hotel with their long-term rates and stay till I die.
All kidding aside, there's a big difference between traveling/touristing (hotel) and living somewhere for a longer term (apartment). Even if I could afford to stay in a hotel for four months (which of course I can't), I wouldn't want to do that. The whole purpose for me of staying somewhere for a long term is to feel like I really live there -- shop in the supermarket, have a library card, go to the laundromat and, yes, occasionally clean the apartment. I'd have to do all that stuff at home anyway and wouldn't I rather do it in London?
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 04:56 PM
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Not really. And not in the rain carrying groceries home on the bus. Or dealing with opening bank accounts and starting utilities, etc.Getting landlords to repair things and waiting for tradespeople. Taking the trash out. And all of that red tape stuff.

Not when I could be out "touristing".
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 05:40 PM
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I can understand that preference. I want to do both, though.
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Old Jul 20th, 2021, 08:41 AM
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We're also planning to do some extended traveling beginning next year, presuming this covid horror is sorted out by then. We plan to spend most of our time in larger cities which I suppose will provide enough diversions to keep us happy. I think enrolling in language classes as described above would be an excellent way to add some structure to our time. We had first planned to start with a month or two in Mexico City, but lately have been taken with the idea of buying RTW airline tickets and spending our first extended travel (since living and working in London, a long time ago) that way.
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Old Jul 20th, 2021, 10:40 AM
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I wish I believed it could be "sorted out" by then.
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Old Jul 20th, 2021, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post
I wish I believed it could be "sorted out" by then.
Yeah. Me too.
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Old Jul 20th, 2021, 01:30 PM
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What mlgb says resonates with me. It costs an awful lot of money to travel for an extended period and one of the reasons I love to travel is to get away from the routines of normal life. So filling each day or week with new things to see and do is very appealing. It has been helpful to think this through as my husband would much prefer to stay in one place for the whole time away, where my views are a bit different, although I can see the appeal of staying much longer too. The other factor for me is that there are so many places that I would love to visit and in spending the whole holiday in one place, I would feel like I'm missing out on seeing the many other places that I wouldn't be able to visit.
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Old Jul 20th, 2021, 01:44 PM
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<<The other factor for me is that there are so many places that I would love to visit and in spending the whole holiday in one place, I would feel like I'm missing out on seeing the many other places that I wouldn't be able to visit.>>

OTOH dreamon, you can't see everything. So whilst you might be missing out on some places they are just being added to the myriad places you could never see. And if you use a place as a base there's no reason why you shouldn't see other places as well as day trips or even 1-2 night stays. And there are many ways of "seeing" a place - a small village might require just a day to see every nook and cranny but a city like Rome can take a lifetime.
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