One day during our trips to Orvieto this spring I went to the edge and looked out over the countryside. That got me thinking about travel, slow travel and why I like it so much.
In order to really “see” a place you have to stop – stop and look for a period of time. To appreciate the color, the texture, and pattern of the landscape. To absorb subtlety, contrast, richness, and intricacy. To move your eyes over the larger panorama before you understand the relationship of one part to the next. To absorb it so it leaves a permanent impression on memory.
Today, this is increasingly difficult to do. Technology has sped life up. We hardly see the world for the screens in our faces. We have, as a result, little peace or serenity. We’re always racing. It’s hard to slow down. It takes stopping, doing nothing, to slow in order to gain quietude.
Even when people travel with us to Italy, a sensuous place that begs to engage all the senses, it’s hard to slow down. It still happens for our clients, but it takes longer now.
Today people arrive with their phone connected 24/7. This is a relatively new development, one that has an impact on slowing down. When we have our connected devices on us, we are only partly here. When your phone is in your pocket, on, it tugs at you. Is hard to just stare at the landscape, to give it the time to allow the nuance to be seen and then marveled at.
What we miss! Serenity. Feeling right with the world. Calm. Luckily, and the great beauty of Italy, is that it is so compelling. It tugs back. Eventually, staying with us in Orvieto, slowing down and the consequent serenity is regained.
My advice? Once you arrive let everyone know you have arrived safely. Then turn off your phone and leave it off. You won’t miss a thing – it will all still be there when you plug back in at home. And what a richness in your life you will gain!
Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets.
Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips. Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly. View Bill’s photos of Italy, Orvieto, and other memorable places at steinerstudiophotos.com, and follow him on Instagram.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.