Gone are the days when I’d hop from monument to monument, pebbled beach to pebbled town, attempting to pack in as much of a country as possible in a week-long holiday. Returning home after what was supposed to be a relaxing break always required a few days of rest, ironically. Nowadays, my approach to travel has changed. Waking up naturally, taking in the local atmosphere and creating my own memories are more important to me than visiting every must-see spot. Slow travel is the way I choose to experience places, both new and old.
Starting with something simple, like a beach holiday in the Mediterranean or the Balearic Islands, is the best way to dip your toes in this concept. Holiday Gems have a selection of easy breezy destinations to practice, where your biggest concern will be finding a shaded spot on the sand to claim for the day. Two years ago, we enjoyed nine days in Mallorca, splitting our time between the beautiful Puerto Pollensa in the northern part of the island and the historic capital Palma. Our days during the first half of the holiday were spent in a very laid-back fashion, waking up naturally to fresh fruit and pastries, followed by a lazy wander down to one of the tiny cove beaches not far from our hotel. In Palma, we used our eclectic apartment as a base for exploring around the rest of the island, from charming train journeys through Mallorca’s orange groves to meandering around the delightful artists’ village of Deià.
More recently, the setting for our annual summer holiday last May was a little further afield, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Fresh smoothie in one hand, a book in the other, and with nothing but the delicate ocean waves before us, each slow morning that week got off to an ideal start. Peckish moments called for a wander over to the snack bar for fish baja tacos before returning to our beanbag on the sand. Sometimes we would stroll into the resort centre, or take a taxi slightly further afield for a more authentic taste of Mexico. With the days long and hot, we were in no rush to get anywhere; everything would still be there later on. This mindset allowed us to truly relax and appreciate our time away.
Taking a slower approach to travel is easiest when we simply let go. Allowing ourselves to be immersed in our surroundings and forgetting about long to-do lists makes travelling that much more refreshing. Some of my favourite ways to achieve this are also some of the simplest. Switching off the morning alarm, long lunches outside spent people-watching, and plenty of downtime ensure for a very happy holiday. Slow travel doesn’t restrict us to lounging around by the pool all day. For me, it is simply a mentality.
In collaboration with Holiday Gems.