Announcing the new Slow Europe Travel Forums! Drop by, have a look and join in the conversation.
Forums (message boards, bulletin boards, news groups) were one of the first things to become popular on the Internet. In the mid-90s, when we connected by dial-up, many of us were logging in and talking to people around the world about a variety of subjects.
My subject was travel, mostly travel to Europe. Steve and I spent a year in Europe in the late 80s, and in the mid-90s started traveling there every year. At that time, the best travel forums were on AOL (America OnLine). I was a devoted member of the AOL Italy board. Their members were helpful and generous with their travel advice. I learned a lot and liked being part of that community.
I started the Slow Travel website in spring 2000 because I wanted to learn how to create a website. I had years of notes about European travel, so thought I could use them to create a website. I wanted the site to focus on vacation rentals as a way of slowing down the travel experience. I made lists of resources for finding vacation rentals and wrote some travel notes.
These were the “before” days – before VRBO, before Trip Advisor, before vacation rentals agencies were on the internet – when it was hard to find and book vacation rentals in Europe. Mary, the moderator on the AOL Italy travel board, kindly let me post links to my new website asking people to send me vacation rentals reviews and I published them on my site.
In January 2001 I started the Slow Talk message board because I was receiving many emails with travel questions. I was amazed that minutes after I had installed the software, people started posting on it.
Around this time AOL changed how their travel boards worked and cut back their support of the boards, making their moderators and community members unhappy. Some of the AOL regulars came over to my message board.
Exciting times as the website and community grew.
At the end of 2006, I sold Slow Travel to Internet Brands, a company that was buying up a lot of small websites in various sectors. The site and message board are still going strong, but for many it is not the same as it once was. I left the community in 2008, feeling that I needed to leave things to the new owners. Nothing lasts forever. I was lucky to have been part of that wonderful Slow Travel community. It was an amazing experience.
Around 2010, after we moved to England, I started using Facebook regularly and was able to re-connect with my Slow Travel friends. It has been a good way to keep in touch, but using Facebook or Twitter is different than using forums. New social media feels to me like a party that is going on, and you drop in, chat a bit and then leave. I can do travel planning on Facebook because my friends are all great travelers, but you do not get the same in-depth conversations that you get on forums. On a forum a conversation can go on for weeks and you may get advice from people you would never have connected with on Facebook.
A few years ago I started a new website, Slow Europe, to focus on resources for finding vacation rentals in Europe, just as I started out with Slow Travel. This site has progressed slowly because Steve and I were busy moving to England, hiking in England and traveling in Europe. Now we are back at work on the site and plan to do a re-launch soon, with a different focus.
After all those years on Slow Travel, I did not join another travel forum. I never found one that suited me. Recently I spent the weekend reading an expats living in France forum and it made me realize how much I miss using travel forums.
Which brings us to the present. In January 2014, I started the Slow Europe Travel Forums. I felt the time was right to start again. I have in mind a small, friendly forum, where travelers can share their delight of traveling in Europe. We can help each other plan trips, share our travel experiences and just talk about travel. I know it will take time for the forums to grow, but already many of my travel friends have joined.
When Steve and I moved to Santa Fe, NM in 1990, I had my one and only reading by a psychic. It seemed a perfect “Santa Fe” thing to do. She told me that I would be involved in a big communications project. I thought she meant the computer training manuals that I spent most of the 90s writing, but I think she had Slow Travel (and now Slow Europe) in mind.
Fingers crossed for another great travel message board experience! Please come on over and join in!