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The Lowdown Hub

The grey guide to slow travel: 20 memorable breaks that are perfect for midlife From languid cruises

Slow travel is about steering clear of over-touristy places and seeking out hidden corners instead

Typically, we don’t like slow. Slow-witted is stupid. Slow service irks. Slow movies are dull. Slow clocks are wrong. And slow runners don’t win actual races (only allegorical tortoises do that). Then there’s the inevitable slowing of age – muscles, mind and metabolism all gradually losing vim. We’re in no rush to dwell on that.

But slow travel? That’s different. While these other forms of slowness seem to equal less, slow travel is about getting more. Slow travel is booming in the wake of Covid, as we’ve all had time to reflect on what we really want from our holidays and found the answer might be experiencing the world in a different way. Slow travel is about steering clear of over-touristy places and seeking out hidden corners instead. It is exploring in a more mindful, measured and immersive fashion – perhaps by boat, train or on foot. It is digging to the bottom rather than skimming the surface, peeping behind the scenes, being led by the locals. It’s about eating nonna’s chicken cacciatore rather than KFC, directly benefiting small, independent businesses rather than “the man”. It may mean visiting fewer places overall but will likely mean logging a greater number of truly memorable moments. Slow travel is the friend of memory – which is a massive plus if you feel yours is losing its edge. When we grind along in a cycle of sameness, days, weeks, months become an amorphous blink-and-miss-them blur, nothing remarkable enough for us to really stop and take note. But head somewhere different and throw in new sensations – like learning to cook tortillas, swimming with the world’s biggest fish, losing repeatedly at backgammon in a spit-n-sawdust taverna – and the mind perks up. Time doesn’t feel quite so fleeting. Going to new places, trying new things, meeting new people and engaging more in the present can help you feel you’re not missing out on your own life.