Slow Travel - The Art of Local Connection

Joao & Sara - No Footprint Nomads

Slow Travel vs Normal Travel

Slow is the opposite of fast or hurried. It’s the opposite of quick selfies, touristic check lists, hop-on hop-off buses, guided tours, resorts, and if you only go for these it means you will only experience the place lightly: you will experience its culture and identity the way the national tourism board wants you to, and not how it really is; you will leave Paris thinking all French are arrogant and annoying; you will leave Rio de Janeiro thinking they dance samba all day long; and you will think that bacalhau is the only Portuguese speciality.

When you travel for a longer period, or when you decide not to jump from place to place every day, you can start seeing things that otherwise would escape you. This is true for any kind of traveller, from nomads like us that can spend a full year in the same place, to anyone with a two-week vacation.

slow travel

With lower speeds comes higher responsibility

We have been traveling now for more than eight years and, for the last three years, we have been focusing on learning and sharing how to travel with the smallest footprint possible. There is no doubt that the challenge of responsible travel increases exponentially with the speed at which you travel. The main reason for that is the impossibility to plan, which is the key success factor for responsible travel.

We’ve recently done a plastic-free challenge in Vietnam while traveling for eight days, and posted an article describing our experience. Some days we had to eat bread and banana for breakfast, the only things we found we could buy without any packaging. We were on an Island (Cat Ba) which makes produce availability much harder. Because of the way we traveled, with very few days to move between cities, even finding a market was a challenge. Planning was essential but still not enough, we did miss the benefits of slow traveling, and we try to avoid it as much as possible.

slow travel

Our life is really slow travel and no footprint

If, like us, you consider living for a while somewhere, you can definitively go the extra mile and try to live a no footprint lifestyle. How do we do it? We rent houses with a garden, plant our own food, compost, reuse and recycle, we do all the things anyone can do with some time to plan. We like to share our experience to help others have the same lifestyle. We are taking a new step and decided to leave our beautiful house in the suburbs and exchanged it for a small apartment downtown. Still, our goal is to keep our footprint to a minimum and to find creative ways to live more sustainably.

About João and Sara – No Footprint Nomads

We are Joao and Sara, a Portuguese couple traveling since 2010 and with no intentions of stopping. So far, we’ve lived in six countries: the UK, Cayman Islands, Nicaragua, Brazil, Portugal, and Thailand, where we are currently starting our Asian exploration.

We’ve gone through many transformations since we started traveling, with volunteering experiences in Nicaragua, bartending in the Cayman Islands, Permaculture immersions, yoga retreats and many more. We even became vegetarians in Brazil, the world’s beef capital!

We see no end to this road and one doesn’t need a famous quote to realise that humans learn throughout their lives and travel has the marvellous effect of speeding up this process. The travels continue and so does our evolution, and we want to share our experience to inspire you. You can have a look at No Footprint Nomads for this inspiration.

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