I believe there are two types of travelers in this world, the Bucket List Travelers & the Slow Travelers. Both are equally amazing & empowering, but a travelers passions, priorities, time abroad & budget will determine which type of traveler they are.
The Bucketlist Traveler wants to see everything. They squeeze as much sightseeing as they can into their day. They prepare a full itinerary for each day of their trip to make every minute count.
The Slow Traveler’s passion falls in experiencing the culture. They want to live in synch with the city they are visiting. These travelers won’t get as many checks on their bucket list, but they will have truly discovered & experienced a city’s local atmosphere.
I discovered I was a slow traveler within the first few weeks of traveling. I find joy in walking/biking/scootering around a city with no sense of direction. It’s invigorating being able to discover things that aren’t in the Lonely Planet guide book. I discover beautiful grass walls, simple cafes, local markets and lonely side streets. I see kids playing in the street, locals moving to the city’s beat & dogs running free. I try local food, I eat from the market & with every bite, I start to feel part of their community.
I find a home away from home everywhere I go.
Slow travel is also about connecting with people. By staying in places for weeks at a time, I am able build relationships with those around me. Local shops begin to recognize me, the juice lady knows my order, children of the couple I bring my laundry to play with me & I slowly pick up their language. I learn about local’s childhoods, backgrounds & everyday life. I am invited to their weddings & into their homes- I am fed their home cooked meals. Most importantly, I am taken to parts of the city undiscovered by tourists. & now, I have a place in their city when I return. I have people to say goodbye to & people to miss.
For me, feeling a part of something is far more valuable than adding check marks to a bucket list.
Note: I afford to travel slowly by volunteering in cities I visit. I use a website, Workaway, that connects me with businesses looking for help in exchange for accommodation. It is also easy to find volunteer work once you reach a city, just walk around & ask.