Some thoughts on local slow travel (LoST)

Some thoughts on local slow travel (LoST)

In this post I’d like to introduce some ideas that I will continue to expand upon through this blog – the idea of local slow travel – what I call LoST.

As a practice, slow travel entails those means of travel which allow us to experience a greater connection with the landscape through which we travel. These often include walking, cycling, sailing, canoeing.  But I would suggest as a practice, the journey and the destination are linked. So slow travel is concerned not only with the activities at destinations, but also with the journey itself.

Brian Feathertop 4When we see slow travel as both the means and the ends of a journey, then we integrate what I describe as a philosophical dimension. Slow travel links into a range of thinking and a range of socio-cultural values reassessing various aspects of travel and why we do it. Do we rush through locations and destinations, ticking off to-do lists and bucket lists? Or do we re-vision all this – look towards a greater understanding of people’s (and through that, our) connections with landscapes, locations and histories? Here is a different form of engagement with not only destination, but journey.

As an ethic, slow travel reflects not only this somewhat philosophical reassessment of what travel might (should? must?) be, but it adds to this an engagement with a landscape in terms of education/understanding, awareness and, perhaps most importantly, sustainability. It therefore reflects a set of values which slow travellers share – at least to some degree – around why we travel the way we do, what we want to get out of it and, most importantly, what kind of positive footprint we want to leave through it.

Finally, as a contributor to sustainable futures, local slow travel provides a means by which the benefits of travel are shared locally – through the travellers’ interactions directly with local communities, local people and local landscapes. There is therefore a very direct connection with local economies, local communities and the local landscapes we, as travellers, are part of. These landscapes are not something we pass through, but something we engage with.

Which brings me to this blog.  One aim for the blog is to provide a forum for some thoughtful discussion on all sorts of aspects to slow travel in addition to other relevant topics.

I’d like to share my 20 years worth of experiences in working for sustainable futures at local, national and international scales in terms of the ideas and concepts and debates, and also in terms of locations, landscapes and opportunities. This focus is a little about developing the philosophical/ethical components to our journeys, without being too precious about it all.

And, in any case, what good is discussion without journeys and activities themselves???

Another aim is to share suggestions for places to go, experiences of locations and journeys and through that to encourage the kinds of slow travel explorations that really do lead to an engagement with the landscape and, through that, a greater understanding of our travels and our surrounds. So it’s also about the journey, the locations, the motivations and the benefits (community, ecological, personal) that this type of travel can foster.

Stay in touch,

Brian