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Published: September 15th 2013
at Chris' and Stacey wedding
(a few more photos of our time between trips)
We learnt a lot about how to travel sustainably from our 6 months “One Summer” van tour around Europe in 2009. I remember we went hell for leather in our first 6 weeks, so excited were we by the prospect of finding out what was just around the next corner that ultimately we forgot to stop and smell the roses. Reading our European blogs back over, it is quite easy to recognise the traveller’s burn out that we endured. We re-evaluated the way we were travelling a few times during our 6 months, and I remember at one point in Nice, France, we were close to packing it all in and returning to the UK. Thanks god we didn’t.
I have read a lot of Travel Blog blogs over the last 3 years, and it is sort of refreshing knowing how common this ailment really is. Travellers are constantly pushing their minds and bodies to the point of breaking, so much so that a few of the great bloggers I have followed over the years actually did shut up shop and return home, defeated by their
not surgery! Going in for my knee reconstruction
own enthusiasm for “seeing it all”. It’s so unfortunate that sometimes it has had to come to such an extreme. Travelling doesn’t come with any rule books or how to guides, and if it did, would anyone actually wish to read or follow them anyway?
So this time ‘round we are, I guess you could say, more equipped to not just notice the signs of travellers burn out but actually prevent it from occurring at all. We certainly aren’t getting any younger, and whilst we know 30 is not old at all, our days of being shacked up in a flee ridden 10 bed dorm room, eating packed sandwiches and a packet of crisps for lunch, are well and truly in the past. Our mantra is going to be a marriage between backpacking and flashpacking. I’m calling it slackpacking. Not in the definition of the word slack being “lacking in activity”, because it will be action packed, but moreso in the definition of “moving slowly”. So perhaps it could be called “action packed slackpacking”, or even “slack-actionpacking”. Whatever it is called it isn’t important, however the mantra certainly is.
It’s all about more time
Suz and Furbey before soundwave
in less places. Experiences and activities over sights and attractions. Conversations over fleeting greetings. Sit down meals over maccas on the run. Observation and contemplation over snapping cameras in haste. Keeping sight of living life like a local not a local living life out of sight. Focusing on the terra firma beneath our feet before counting our success by the miles we have trodden. And I could go on, but I think you get the point! I’ve read some amazing words and stories about how others have achieved this mantra themselves over the last few years. I’d like to share some such words that really hit home with me, from a digital nomad travelling couple, Simon and Erin, who write at “Never Ending Voyage”. I have edited the words a little, however the message intent is still clear.
It’s the participation in ordinary daily activities to learn how people live: their food, culture, language, the quirky details that make a place unique, and the similarities that wave a common thread through humanity. It’s about getting to know one place well and connecting with its people. It’s about discovery; looking past the
chaotic confusion and cultural haze to make sense of your surroundings by developing an intimate understanding of how things works, and why they are the way they are. It’s about being in the moment and taking pleasure from the simple things. It’s about pursuing personal growth by using travel as an opportunity to challenge yourself and your current knowledge and understanding of the world. It’s about immersing yourself and thriving in the most uncomfortable of encounters and situations, knowing deep down that they are more often than not the most rewarding. It’s about searching out the best of humanity and finding the people who are passionate about what they do. They are proud of their homes, their culture and their heritage. You shouldn’t visit an attraction because you think you should, but because you really want to. There are no such things as “must-sees”. Whether it be wandering down side streets, lounging in parks, or people watching in café, slow travel (slackpacking) lends itself perfectly to refining the art of doing almost nothing.
And so that my travel blogging friends, is our Mantra for this 12 month trip through certainly SE
if I do say so myself
Asia and the sub-continent. May the slacking begin, in just a few short months. We fly out on 2nd March 2014, and we are so very excited!
Action packed slackpacking!
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