When and Where to Slow Down

Slow travel is one of the things I’m most looking forward to about my RTW trip. In fact, if you never slow down, I don’t think you’re really experiencing long-term travel. Moving at a slower pace is a major part of what distinguishes RTW trips from vacations.

When I was first dreaming of RTW travel, I imagined a two-year trip, where I would pick 12 artistic cities to settle down in every other month and use the interim time to travel from one stop to the next. Sooner or later, reality kicked in and I scaled my plan down to the more common year-long trip. I’d rather adapt my vision to my budget than wait for the “perfect” time to go. The “perfect” time doesn’t exist.

In reevaluating where I’ll go and when I can leave, I must also  reevaluate when and where I’ll enjoy the benefits of slow travel.

Berlin has such a vibrant underground arts scene, you really do need to spend a few months there to get a true sense of the city, but if I only have one year for my RTW trip, I'd prefer to focus on places I've never been.

Berlin has such a vibrant underground arts scene, you really do need to spend a few months there to get a true sense of the city, but if I only have one year for my RTW trip, I’d prefer to focus on places I’ve never been.

I think it is critical for me to start my trip by spending 3-4 weeks in a single place, in order to break out of the vacation mindset. Starting slow will ensure I don’t burn out early on. I’d also like to end with 3-4 weeks in one place. Just as you warm up and cool down on either side of a workout, I want to give myself built-in periods of transition for RTW travel. On the same note, I will probably slow down as I change continents.

I hear Barcelona is a huge city – impossible to fully experience on a typical vacation, so that will be stop one. I’ll trace the Mediterranean coast over the next two months before spending all of October in Istanbul. As the gateway between East and West, this seems like a natural place for transition. After three months backpacking around India, Nepal, and Southeast Asia, I’m sure I’ll need another break, so I’ll spend a full month in Bali – a prime relaxation destination. Once I move on to South America, I’ll spend extended periods of time in Buenos Aires and perhaps also Mexico City.

While I certainly grant myself the freedom to adjust my plans and slow down or speed up as needed on the road, having these four or five scheduled stops every few months will be a huge step towards pacing myself properly.

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