The World of Slow Travel

Very nice article in the Wall Street Journal magazine about the various definitions of “Slow Travel”. They included the definition that I used when I created the website and community – spending a week in one place instead of moving fast to many places on a trip.

Wall Street Journal magazine, Easy Rider, Nancy Keates, April 29, 2010. “Like the slow-food movement, slow travel offers an antidote to today‚Äôs fast-paced lifestyle. “

I wish I were as eloquent as Carl Honere, the spokesman for slow with his book “In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed”, and Ed Gillespie, who spent a year traveling around the world without stepping into a plane (he call them “aluminum sausages” – I might try for a more appealing vegetarian metaphor), but I think my definition fits well with theirs.

Over ten years ago, when I was having fun learning web design and decided to put up my own website, Steve and I sat down and tried to find a name for how we traveled. We did our “year in Europe” trip in 1988-89 and realized that for us it was more fun to spend a week or two weeks or a month in one place, instead of seeing more places. We discovered European vacation rentals as an accommodations alternative. They suited us because we like to do most of our own cooking, we like to settle into a place and see everything and they were less expensive. We thought the term “slow” described our type of travel, so called it “Slow Travel” (I even trademarked it in the US).

After our big trip, we returned to Europe frequently, always staying in vacation rentals. In 2000, when I started, most Americans who went to Europe stayed in hotels. The world of European vacation rentals was too complicated to break into. That all changed with the boom of vacation rental agencies and websites on the Internet. My lucky timing was to start just then and we formed a wonderful community of travelers, many of whom had already been traveling that way and others who thought it sounded great and wanted to give it a try.

I loved running that community, but the time came to move on and now Internet Brands owns the trademark and the community. “Slow Travel” is no longer mine.

But, I am on my soapbox screaming about vacation rentals in Europe with my new website “Slow Europe”. If you like to travel, and you love going to Europe, give vacation rentals a try (if you haven’t already). This form of accommodation may suit you perfectly as it does us. Read my Vacation Rentals Guide for more information about vacation rentals in Europe.

Examine your travel life, decide how you want to experience travel, don’t travel so that your experiences “sound good” to others but determine what makes you happy and do that.

Steve and I (and our cat) leave next week for five months in England, staying in one place and living (and working) there. A new travel adventure for us.

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

2 thoughts on “The World of Slow Travel”

  1. Hi Pauline, I enjoyed reading your post. I feel so lucky that I was able to find Slow Trav when I did and it has truly changed the way I travel for the better. I really like your website Slow Europe too.

    I am beginning to enjoy staying in apartment/vacation rental more and more as my travel style slows down for the better. I look forward to reading your blog about your upcoming trip. Hope you, Steve and Buddy have a smooth flight over and have a wonderful trip.


  2. For years, we’ve rented flats, apartments, cottages, condos and lived like locals…if only for a short while. There’s no better way to get a feel for the flavor of a place, to meet people who live where we’re visiting (as opposed to meeting other travelers) than rent a home and not a room.
    We’re just back from a couple of weeks in London, rented a flat and made it our base while we visited around. Absolutely grand!
    Enjoyed your article and, having grown up “slow”, find all the talk of slow this and that amusing. We still live slow, here at Thistle Cove Farm, and think it strange when people rush to and fro. I make my own bread, cook meals from scratch and, some days, churn my own butter; there’s always plenty of time to hold down the porch furniture.
    Now, I’m off to check out the rest of your wonderful website, Slow Europe.

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