When you imagine your perfect vacation, do any of these things come to mind? Complete relaxation? Peace and quiet? Time to think? New places to explore? A dreamy ennui? If the answer is “YES”, then it’s time to embrace slow travel tours, not only because when you do less you experience more, you also come to understand just how interdependent we, and our planet are.
We go on holidays for pleasure. Travel inspires us to see, taste and try new things. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt to new surroundings, but to engage with different people, to embrace adventures as they come and to share new and meaningful experiences with friends and strangers. Once we’ve truly connected with someone from a different culture we’re less likely to go to misunderstand them.
To most people who love to travel these are bewildering times. Something that once seemed like pure escape and adventure has become stressful and complicated. Here are a few of simple things you can do to help make tourism a more sustainable activity: Fly with an airline dedicated to making a difference by reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint, among them Air France/KLM, United, Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic. Buy carbon credits when offered. Choose eco-friendly accommodations. Eat locally grown food when possible, and practice mindful consumption. Plan longer trips. Select a travel guide who is a local, or long-term resident of the country you’re visiting, and get off the beaten path.
My company, French Country Adventures, is committed to low volume, high value, sustainable slow travel benefitting the visitor and the visited, offering slow travel tours through the heart of Gascony, the Pays Basque, Occitanie and beyond, for individuals and small groups from early spring to late fall.
If you’re looking for a simpler, more authentic French holiday, then travel with me through this unspoiled corner of southern France that has all of the charms, but none of the crowds. It will be my pleasure to share with you the hidden wonders of one of the most picturesque regions of France.
| Sue Aran lives in the Gers department of southwest France. She is the owner of French Country Adventures, which provides private, personally-guided, small-group, slow travel tours into Gascony, the Pays Basque, Provence and beyond. She writes a monthly blog about her life in France and is a contributor to Bonjour Paris and France Today magazines.|
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France, England and other European countries.