As I have said loads, it can be overwhelming planning and preparing for this trip. This week I spent a lot of time looking to connect with other families on line who have done or are doing similar trips. It isn’t too easy reaching out, especially as I’m not yet using our official ‘Slow Travel Family’ Facebook account, so getting in touch via Facebook simply as Rachel Wise does feel a little less genuine.
Looking into it, there are a lot of other families living a vagabond/digital nomad/slow travel adventure, I want to know how they are managing, what they need and what resources they can recommend. I found one family who seemed to have done everything and know it all. The Mum runs the social media side, writing five different blogs, keeping a very busy website full of advertising and affiliate links, Pinterest, Twitter and a closed Facebook group. She could be just the person I need to talk to! I was pleased to be added to the closed Facebook group and quickly introduced my self to the others:
‘Hi, Thanks for adding me to this group.
We are a family of five living in Switzerland, I’m originally from NZ. This year we are taking our kids out of school and leaving home to do a gap year of ‘slow travel’. Our flights are booked for August, we are busy saving and planning but I still feel as though there is so much to do, sometimes it can be pretty overwhelming. I would love to reach out and get in touch with someone who has done something similar and can give us some tips or advice. Right now we dont know anyone directly who has done what we are planning, it’s a little daunting doing it alone. I’m looking into blogging and setting up a website -I’ve not had experience with either yet. So… would love to hear from you! Kind Regards, Rx’
It wasn’t long before said Mum got in touch to say I’d be her perfect client, for $50 p/h she would give me some tips over Skype. I didn’t jump at her offer but I did say I’d love to look at her blogs for more info. I was surprised when the following day she got in touch again to let me know we couldn’t possibly see the world in one year. I politely replied we weren’t planning to see the whole world just yet and I gave her the low down of our itinerary. She quickly replied to tell me what we are planning to do isn’t considered slow travel, and true ‘vagabonds’ like herself spend longer in each place.
‘Shit, I’ve got it all wrong’
What are we doing, if it isn’t slow travel? Are there others out there also thinking we have it wrong, am I a fraud to call ourselves ‘The Slow Travel Family’. I was gutted. I needed to look into this further. After dwelling on her comments and totally over thinking it I asked Google for the definition of Slow Travel:
‘Slow Travel is a mindset that rejects traditional ideas of tourism and encourages you to soak in your environments and keep yourself open to new experiences.’
“Slow travel is not so much a particular mode of transportation as it is a mindset. Rather than attempting to squeeze as many sights or cities as possible into each trip, the slow traveler takes the time to explore each destination thoroughly and to experience the local culture.”
‘The Slow Movement emphasizes connection — connection to food, connection to families and, in the case of travel, connection to local peoples and cultures.’
Thanks Google, of course what we are doing is slow travel.
The whole essence of this trip is to ‘Slow down time’, to meet the locals, live within a community, skip tourist traps, hang out with our children, enjoy quality time together and avoid shipping ourselves from one destination to another ticking places off a list of ‘must see sights’. We are the Slow Travel Family and we intend to travel slowly for 12 months. We wont see everything this time, perhaps we might not spend long enough in each stop, but we will connect, we will make the effort to really know and appreciate each place and the people there. We will have the time to give back and to make a difference, we will soak in our environments, experience new things and continue to grow and learn together.
So I’ve dusted myself off, recovered from the minor knock to my self esteem and I’m ready to get back on line and reach out to other Slow Travel Families, knowing that we do belong in their club.