Slow Travel Connects Us

Posted by Bill Steiner – Adventures in Italy

Melody Beattie in “Journey to the Heart” has something interesting to say about travel: “Trips are important. They give us a chance to get away, see someplace new, rest, and refresh our spirits. Trips often synchronize with growth and change in our lives. They celebrate what we’ve been through or what we’re going through. A trip can correlate with a new leg on our journey in spiritual growth. Often, when we feel the urge to travel, it’s connected to a deeper urge, the urge to get somewhere new on our path.”

Giovanna shares where a special Italian cheese is made

Giovanna shares where a special Italian cheese is made

While this can be true for any kind of travel, I think those who travel “slow” have a greater likelihood of being able to connect at a deeper level. When we travel slow we are intent on connecting to the place. We tend to be more receptive and open to what is going on around us. We pay attention to the nuance and detail, and the subtle things. We slow down and are able to hear ourselves.

The experience we have had with our Adventures in Italy trips is that there is something magical about Italy – something that helps us connect. Italy is a place where all of your senses are alive and engaged. You just can’t avoid it. It is rich in so many ways. Italians bring art to just about everything they do. Art springs from their souls. Orvieto, where we base our trips, is a wonderful city in which to connect to deeper urges. It is manageable in size. It’s medieval streets are intimate and cozy. It is rich in detail which engages the eye. Because the automobile is absent you hear sounds normally lost in the din of most cities. It has great food and is author of its very own type of wine – Orvieto Classico. It has a long history dating to the Etruscans in 800 BC, giving you a sense of stability, continuity, and permanence. The convent B&B where we stay is peaceful, calm, and spacious so you can spread out, get views out over the countryside, reflect.

Art business owner Simonetta shows her work

Art business owner Simonetta shows her work

It is simple amazing and wonderful to watch those traveling with us lighten up during the week. Because we aren’t rushing from site to site, and because we are slowly absorbing and taking in the very different place and culture, you can see a slow transformation during the week. From somewhat tentative ventures into city, culture, food and wine, our folks blossom into confident explorers delving deep and finding great satisfaction and passion. They literally float around the city toward the end of their trip renewed, enthralled, content.

I believe the depth and intensity of our travelers’ experiences is due, in part, to the fact that our trips are “slow.” Travel is about discovery. Slow travel is about discovery on different levels, and, I think, is one of its great benefits. It is discovery of a place, of a culture, of insight. It builds confidence as you explore a place and, in the process, explore yourself, where you’ve been and where you are going.

Last week on this blog Kathy provided a checklist of things to look for in small group travel. Many of her excellent questions intimate qualities that insure the trip is connected to the locale. I think such a connection is a good quality for those looking for small group travel to inquire about. It simply provides a more meaningful, memorable, fun trip.

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KBortaKristi 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 trip is 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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