We’ve all heard of the famous “Digital Nomads”, but during this pandemic, travel enthusiasts have been talking about a concept that has become popular. I’m talking about Slomad/Slowmad or slow travel, which is mindful travel in a conscious and sustainable way while still having a source of income.
Without even noticing, I have started this lifestyle 7 years ago and it has transformed and improved over the years. Innitially, I was working as a waitress, doing volunteering or selling art. Then, I was introduced to online work and photography, which I now do full time. It is time to raise awareness of this concept because I believe it is important for the future of tourism. So if you’re here, you’re probably curious to know where to start to adopt this lifestyle. I got you! Here are the topics to cover.
- Slowmad traveling, what is it?
- Top 5 benefits of Slowmad traveling
- My Advice to get started
What is slow and eco-conscious travel (slowmad)
First of all, what is slowmad exactly? When we think of travelling, we tend to think of popular videos of influencers jumping from one destination to another to catch some Instagrammable spot of paradise or all-inclusive one or two-week trips aiming at drinking Marguerritas and laying all day long on the beach (just kidding).
However, when we talk about “Slowmad” we are talking about a lifestyle. The ability to settle in a country for a minimum of 2 months without an expiration date , of course, there is the visa, but you get what I mean. With this type of travel, you can discover the local culture in an authentic way, explore in a more conscious and sustainable way, build long-term relationships, take your time and experience the unknown without the pressure to see as many things as possible.
So, being aware of your impact, how you live, how you interact with people you meet and your chosen activities. For example, when we are on the spot, it is easy to learn about local options and to choose what is more environmentally responsible. Most of the time, these are institutions that don’t have the budget to do well online, hire a marketing agency and it’s hard to find them outside the country. If you are still not convinced or if this is a lifestyle you wish to implement, you should continue reading!
The top 5 benefits of being a Slowmad
1. More sustainable trips and less impact on the environment.
When adopting this lifestyle, developing an interest in environmental sustainability is common. Indeed, by taking a slower pace of travel, it is possible to discover places off the beaten track and take the time to learn more about the culture and the environment, which makes us want to preserve it. We can also observe the impacts that tourism has in isolated areas and reflect on how our consumption can have an impact. So, we ask ourselves: how can we do better?
One of the most alarming problems that I have observed is the excessive use of plastic, either ” single-use ” or harmful activities for the wildlife. This issue leads to habits such as taking time to learn about the activity and choosing a more ethical company or simply bringing your own water bottle, reusable utensils or a bag.
2. Reconnecting with yourself
This experience allows for greater openness of mind through many different points of view, lifestyles, beliefs, and cultures that can be experienced. Before you know it, your perception of things changes, and you start having a more in-depth understanding of things.
Furthermore, travelling for a longer time also means that you have more time with yourself. Having the opportunity to eat alone in a restaurant or discover a new place on your own allows you to rediscover yourself and gain confidence in your abilities. I will always remember when I crossed the Cordillera Blanca in Peru with my backpack alone in the mountains with the flu… What an amazing time to focus on me and feel alive. Of course, a fun time to laugh about my situation while being surrounded by amazing landscape.
3. Feeling good and recharging your batteries
Waking up 1 hour before going to work and having your coffee in a hurry are normal habits in everyday life. A habit that is often replicated on “vacation” when we schedule 6 activities in our week off at the Caribbean turquoise beaches. But, as a result, we come back even more exhausted.
With Slowmad, it is possible to take the time to settle in this new country and enjoy more enriching experiences. You can connect with the locals before jumping from one activity to the next. Take your time and choose the activities that suit your needs at the moment, with no pressure.
Being more mindful also means that there will be an inner sense of having experienced the country from a different perspective rather than visiting as a ” tourist “.
4. Quality over quantity
Along with experiences, encounters are valuable. It’s more about having conversations and getting to know a person further than a: where are you from? I’m going to a waterfall, wanna come? Well, that was fun, see you never!
These encounters often turn into long-term friendships and sometimes even people you might meet again in another adventure.
5. It’s cheaper!
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? How can 6 months abroad be cheaper than a 3-week trip?
In slowmad mode, you can have monthly accommodations, which means that the monthly price is much lower. Instead of being caught in the “tourist traps”, you tend to eat in the local places, which usually costs half the price. Making your own food and having a routine just like you would at home, reduces the costs tremendously.
My Advice for beginners
The most common questions I get are about fear of being alone, safety and budget. My best advice is to just try it. Nowadays, with the pandemic, the opportunity to work remotely is getting more and more of an option and the reality is that once you arrive in a new country with an open mind, it’s much harder to be alone than to meet people. A simple smile could make a big difference. Also, learning basic sentences in the local language is essential to make your life easier.
As the goal is to be able to work online, it is always good to do a little research on the quality of the Wi-Fi and whether there are any coworking/cafes to work from. I personally prefer to work alone in my apartment, but we all have our own habits.
And that’s all for today! I hope I gave you some useful information, please feel free to drop me a line on Instagram or by email if you have any questions!