My Symphony – Traveling Slow in 2010

Posted by Bill Steiner – Adventures In Italy

The following was written in the 19th century by a William Henry Channing.

My Symphony

  • To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never – in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.

I’ve loved this statement ever since I discovered it perhaps 10 years ago. I love “hurry never”. I love it because in today’s world it seems to be hurry always. Hurry is not a natural way to be. It is not a natural state for us. It implies that we have to get whatever we are doing now done quickly in order to get on to the next, more important thing. And so our lives are an endless rushing through the unimportant to get to the important.

Adventures In Italy trips

Orvieto's Evening Stroll

For me, travel to Orvieto, where we lead groups for one-week trips, inevitably stops any hurrying in life. Orvieto has, over the last 8 years, led me to stop hurrying nearly always. How has it done this, and how does it do it for those who travel with us?

  • By putting us in an environment so rich in character and detail that all our senses come alive to appreciate it. The human-scaled, medieval village engages every sense.  As a result we get out of our mind – thinking about what we must hurry toward next – to live in the richness of everything around us.
  • Because we have no TV, little Internet, cell phones that don’t work in Italy, a 6 hour time difference with home, we allow ourselves to disconnect from all the to-dos, shoulds, deadlines, and all the bad news foisted on us by the media.
  • Since the Italians, while busy, take so much time for and pay so much attention to each other, particularly over meals, you can’t help but be impressed and recognize how little you do the same.
  • This is slow travel, what we and the others in Slow Travel Tours do on each and every trip. For us, our trips to Orvieto have profoundly influenced us to slow down. Clearly, we  were ready for it, felt drained by the pace Americans keep, and wanted a saner, richer life. But Orvieto, life in Italy, enabled us to appreciate life by slowing down, to see the benefits of a slower pace, to experience the joy that exists when you are in the present moment.

    Imagine what our lives would be like if we hurried never! All of the people who travel with a Slow Travel Tours company get a chance to taste it, re-experience how we used to live life. I believe those who travel with us are ready for a change, it is why they select us – whether deliberately or intuitively. And they are rewarded with a hurry never week – something they have been yearning for.

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    Kristi and Bill Steiner

    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. Trips are held in May and September/October every year. Their Discover Orvieto and Girlfriend Getaway trips are available to groups any time of the year. 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.

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