Have you heard this term recently? It refers to a way of traveling that is gaining more and more followers in the world.
When we started Colores de India, we knew we wanted to offer a different way of traveling, not just focused on small groups but based on more lax times, at the opposite end of a race to see similar monuments one after another.
Our initial purpose was to make the destination passionate for those embarking on the chosen travel adventure. To achieve this, we strongly bet on design, thinking in detail about the order in which we would go to each place, continuing with the selection of activities until to think carefully about what "important" things we would leave out and what places we should include outside of the well-known ones , knowing that the latter often provide us with more authentic experiences than the "must see" places.
India was where we began carrying groups, wiht the intention that that, in the limited time of a trip, the travellers could make a strong interaction with culture, people and everyday life. That in an extreme country, even for the most experienced traveler, who awakens intense emotions. We were always encouraged by the idea that the experience should be of total immersion, being clear that to do so we would not offer marathon days to spend 10 minutes in each place. So, if in a tour package Delhi's visits take one day, on our trips it would take two or three.
Our idea was the travel should be as similar as possible to having the feeling of traveling alone, but easier and in a group to get company and support each other in such unusual destinations.
"We understand that traveling is not seeing a list of places, but taking time to be, enjoy and understand, with all the senses and emotions that each person awakens."
Slow travel was the chosen way of traveling since we started Colors of India.
You'll have an idea of what slow travel is all about, let's take a closer look.
To understand it from its origins, it is an extrapolated concept of gastronomy instead of "fast food", linked to fast food chains around the world, which are based on offering similar products and services, regardless of the country you are.
The same can be said of high-end hotels of international chains, where the idea is to maintain a standard experience, without the reality of the environment entering your room. In this way, those who travel reside in a perfect bubble.
Although the literal translation of "slow travel" would be "going slower" from one place to another, this is not what defines its essence. Why? Let's look at an example: if instead of taking a plane you choose to travel three days by train, but on the way your attitude towards everything is of distrust or fear, you do not exchange smiles with the curious people is staring you, neither have a conversation, you do not savor local food because you think it is going to sick , you should ask yourself: what did you learn from your culture, what do you know about its people, what did you enjoy, what was your most pleasant memory, what anecdote does it bring to tell?
So, more than traveling slowly, it's about traveling with awareness and taking advantage of what the environment has to offer in a relaxed way. It is not just about the rhythm but an attitude of opening the mind to other cultures. It is about of enjoying the journey and not just the arrival.
Sometimes it is not so comfortable to travel like this, because when entering other enviroments and ways of life, unforeseen things can happen which are not always comfortable. We have the conviction that it is those little unexpected moments that give us the opportunity to be part of the landscape instead of looking out from the security of a window, which are more or less comfortable depending on how we choose to live them.
Slow travel is an option that defies mass tourism, which is based on seeing the maximum possible in a short time, so whoever buys the package believes that they will get more value for their money by photographing themselves in all the iconic sites, at the cost of never approaching to know, even minimally, nothing of that place, its people and culture.
How does Colores de India practice the concept of slow travel?
- When choosing quality over quantity, we prefer depth over extension.
- Supporting us in local and family businesses where we go, collaborating with small economies.
- Respecting the culture of each place.
- By using local accommodation before large international hotel chains, which gives us the opportunity to establish a more direct treatment and cultural immersion from the beginning we arrive.By providing information and advices before the trips, we recommend books, movies and music to facilitate understanding of the destination.
"We believe that travelling it is a bridge for the understanding between cultures, allows us to nurture ourselves from other experiences and value diversity."
- Designing a viable program to carry out for the duration of the trip, thinking about enjoying the tour and contemplating personal times.
- Balancing different forms of transportation. We will not spend a whole day in a van if it is not strictly necessary, but we will not take flights if there are routes that can be traveled using another transportation in a reasonable time.
- We walk, we use bike, tuk tuk, subway, boat, to enjoy experiences that bring us closer to towns and people.
- Including local guides when they help us better understand a place, its history and its context, but not all the time, we do not like endless explanations of dates and data that they are easily forgotten.
- Encouraging people in the groups to go out alone and mix, take a cooking class or eat with a local family.