The disorienting speed of abandoning slow travel

We prefer to travel slowly. When we take a road trip, we try to stay awhile to enjoy interesting places along the way. We don’t drive every day, and, when we do drive, we restrict our driving time to just a few hours.

International travel is rarely “slow” travel. As soon as we buckle our seat belts and the plane picks up altitude and speed, we know slow travel has been temporarily abandoned. Disorientation sets in as multiple time zones are crossed. By the time we land, in a fog of exhaustion, we try to instantly adjust to changes in weather, language, surroundings, and food (just for starters).

We started the week with an end to our California visit. The family piled into our daughter’s car and headed up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains, and pulled into the last parking space at the beach in Aptos. This was not the sunny beach you envision when you think “California.”

Sunday: Cool, coastal California was foggy, even in mid-afternoon.   Our grandson raced to get into the cold Pacific Ocean.

Monday: A side trip to Shoreline Lake Park in Mountain View on our way to the airport hotel providing a calming diversion. It would be our last slow travel experience in the U.S. for the next half-year. We spotted surf scoters and a number of other birds we’d not seen for some time.

Tuesday: Liftoff on a foggy morning in San Francisco.   The flight was as comfortable as we could hope for, but the flight was 17+ hours long.

Dropping into Singapore the next day in the late afternoon was a glorious sight.

Thursday: Care for a warm dip in the airport hotel pool?

When we planned the trip we, knew it would be just too much for us to get on another plane after the long, long flight from San Francisco to Singapore, so we stayed overnight at a hotel in the Singapore airport. That was a first for us. After breakfast, we wheeled our bags into the terminal and boarded our next flight.

After landing in Laos, still in a haze of disorientation, we questioned why we put ourselves through this. Then the veil of exhaustion slowly lifted, and the wonders of our new place came into focus.

Saturday: A visit to one of temples in the Xieng Man Village near Luang Prabang.

It took a few days to adjust to the change from California to Laos and to slide back into a state of equilibrium.   We’re happily back to the joys and rewards of slow travel.


January 2018

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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15 Responses to The disorienting speed of abandoning slow travel

  1. You’ve arrived! I’ll bet it seems like another time and dimension! I’m packing in a couple of days and will take off for Vietnam on the 30th. Thankfully, my flights nor time change won’t be near as dramatic as yours were. Looking forward to meeting up with you two in a few weeks! Anita

  2. Annette Davey says:

    We travel slow ourselves(like snails) and whilst I was reading I could feel the disorientation and stress. Travel slow.. is good. x

  3. It’s worth the effort for the end result. To get to Europe from Australia, we always break the journey for a night or two. Usually it’s Singapore because we tend to fly with Singapore Airlines. And it’s a great city for a stopover. Looking forward to reading more about your new adventure.

  4. Jetlag gets me every time. But once it’s behind you, I hope you will be able to slow down your pace.
    Happy travels.

    • Since we have arrived, our pace has slowed down considerably though our internal clocks are still a bit off. That adds a new dimension to the day – awakening at 4am.

      • ednalvarez says:

        ah – 4 am in SE Asia – a good time to listen to sounds – and let life drift around you. Key is not to turn on the lights – or – look at any screens!

  5. plaidcamper says:

    Well, the lush green of the final photos seems a fine reward for the airplane time taken to get there. Enjoy your next set of slow travel adventures!

    • We are photographing the lush green and the brightly colored wats while you are capturing the lovely, subtle grey skies with hints of pinks and blues. It’s fun to bounce for a moment into other worlds!

  6. ednalvarez says:

    ,,, ah yes, slow travel! Just returned from 10 days of Ecuadorian slow travel – birds, rain on tin roofs and enormous green leaves, early morning and late evening natural choruses of birds and insects, friendly people, and much beauty of the Andean cloud forest … and now, fast-paced urban life – amazing how 15 hours of travel can change one’s pace of life.

    • Aah, if only we could recreate the calm and wonder of birds, rain on tin roofs, and those enormous green leaves back home so that slow travel would become slow living…

      • ednalvarez says:

        Point well said … now how? … I reflect. Seems there is only faster living. Especially, for those in the career part of their lives. Think I will return to my sound memories while I am still in the glow of the travel just had.

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