I Like It Slow

slow travelThirty countries before I turned 30.

That was the goal I set in 2010. I had less than 2 years to take my barely double digit country count and more than double it. A hefty task, but I was up for the challenge.

At the time, travel was back in my life with a vengeance and I just had to do and see it all…immediately. Apparently before it all disappeared. Or my passport was revoked. Or something.

Making Progress

In the first several months, I made great strides towards my goal. A few weeks in Europe? Three countries added to the list. Speaking engagement in Italy. Check. Another opportunity for Caribbean adventure, I took it.

At the rate I was going, I could have easily made my 30 by 30 goal. I had more than enough money and frequent flyer miles to fund my trips. And, given that I worked remotely, I had the time to make it happen as well.

But there’s a reason there are no blog posts about Copenhagen or Amsterdam or a handful of other destinations. It was just too much, way too fast. A discount fare popped up. Boom! I had my ticket booked and I was out. But when I returned, I was drained, tired and sometimes sick.

Alas, when my 30th birthday rolled around, I was still 10 or so countries shy of my goal. Why?

I finally decided to slow down!

The energy and excitement of my travel challenge had worn off and honestly, I had already achieved the best side effect and unintended goal of the challenge — to stop making excuses and design my ideal life.

Instead of 30 countries, I’d found something better — the art of slow travel.

What is slow travel, you ask?

There are various definitions across the web. For me, it’s less about the mode of transportation, time frame or the destination and more about the mindset and the journey as Lola Akimade Akerstrom writes in SlowTravelStockholm.com:

“Slow Travel encourages us to slacken our pace, re-consider our motivations (and itineraries) and embrace a “less is more” instead of a “fast is better” ethos. It emboldens us to take pause. To think. To saunter instead of rush and enjoy the details instead of blurring past them.”

It was a rushed first trip to Jamaica for a wedding that started me on my slow travel movement. I didn’t call it that. Hell, I didn’t even know that was a thing. I just knew that in the 4 or 5 days in Jamaica, I’d only seen a quick snapshot. What I saw I liked, and I wanted more.

So I went back. For weeks and then months. I sauntered around the country getting to know the people around me and the culture. I explored, many times the same places, over and over. I made friends…real ones. I became a regular and met my neighbors. I asked LOOOOTS of questions and volunteered my time. I worked hard, partied almost as hard, slept a lot and limed on fabulous beaches. And so much more.

Even after visiting each parish multiple times and as much as others (and sometimes myself) consider me a Jamaica “expert”, there’s still so more to see, do, and learn. I look forward to doing just that in the future…slowly.

Slow Travel Enjoy the Journey

By no way am I saying that slow travel is the only way or that you can’t really experience the world in one week or 48 hour increments. Not at all. I’ve been on some amazing one week and long weekend trips and will continue to do so moving forward. But I’ve. As I’ve stated time and time again, travel is personal. Always do what calls you and satisfies your why, whatever that may be. Because honestly, nothing else really matters.

Are you a slow traveler? Tell me all about it in the comments below?

Happy travels,


P.S. Have slow or long term travel aspirations? Sign up for updates on how to turn inspiration into action.

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  • […] travelers see a place, but how much do they really experience?  Slower travel gives you more time to immerse yourself in your surroundings, get lost and create truly memorable […]

  • Love this take on SLOW travel! When my husband and I went to Asia a few month back I was allergic to rushing and allergic to plans. We let each day and the way we felt dictate how our two month would be spent. The results? Magic!

    • So glad to hear! That’s exactly how I like it! :-) Here in Ghana, it’s been much of the same. I love having the freedom to make that choice.

  • farah says...

    I like the idea of slow travel. Everyone is in a rush to post from the latest place they are visiting, snap their meal and pose and post on fb. I spent 6 months in Australia and just took it all in. Sure, I posted a few times and took loads of pics but being present and really seeing things through my own eyes rather than through a camera lens, makes all the difference and makes for a richer personal experience.

  • Sheena Tatum says...

    I feel you. For me, it was a hurried wedding in San Juan. I never made it past a few blocks from the hotel. I loved what I saw, but wish I had more than 3 days there to explore. When it comes to vacations, I love to lounge around and take in the culture and almost have a home away from home feel. Both of my trips to Jamaica felt like home. I can’t wait to return back with my little family so they can understand my obsession, lol.

    • Exactly! I knew you would totally get it! I can’t wait for you and the family to come back to Jamaica hopefully a lot sooner than later! :-)

  • Krystal Bernier says...

    I’ve never had more than a week or two to spend on a vacation, but I don’t like it rushed to begin with. When I travel its to relax, escape life, and take some time for myself. My husband has the same mind frame. As such we only book a couple of excursions and spend the rest of the time just lounging or getting to know the area we are in at the moment. Because we travel this way we’ve found some great little restaurants, bars, or paradises that we wouldn’t have found if we had a packed schedule.

    • I totally hear you and it’s great you have someone to travel with who is aligned with that philospohy. I started traveling that way, but once I made that goal it just got out of control. Cheers to slow travel.

  • Susie says...

    I think we all experience at some point the surge of traveling without really experiencing the journey! Visiting places with the “Slow Travel” mentality will lead to better and more fulfilled memories. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Totally agree Susie. Glad to be back on a “slower” track. Thanks for stopping by.

  • I love this! I’m all about slowing down right now and focusing on quality, not quantity. Simplifying means moving away from our “get everything you want right now” consumer culture. Wonderful.

    • Yes, you hit the nail on the head. Quality over quantity in every aspect of life is KEY! It’s difficult at times to pull away from all of the shiny objects and distractions, but once you can get focused on your why, it gets a lot easier.

  • candice says...

    Hey April
    This is great. I too have realized that the pressure to do things in an unreasonable amount of time just puts unecessary stress and unrealistic demands on my life. This is especially true when there seems to be a great headline to it, like your 30 by 30. I am slowinng down and letting things unfold instead of forcing some things. I love travel as well and always try to see everything whole there (while not always possible). Now that I am self employed and can work remotely I am loving your idea of staying for weeks at a time. St. Thomas is to me what Jamaica is to you!

    • Thanks for stopping by Candice! Yes, it’s crazy how easy it was to get sucked into and all behind a tagline that at the core was totally arbitrary and really served no point. Yes, working remotely in various destination has been so good for my mind and business! Please do consider it and if you need help getting started, don’t hesitation to reach out!

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