Slow Travel is an evolving movement that has taken its inspiration from nineteenth-century European travel writers, such as Théophile Gautier,
who reacted against the cult of speed, prompting some modern analysts
to ask "If we have slow food and slow cities, then why not slow
Other literary and exploration traditions, from early Arab travellers
to late nineteenth-century Yiddish writers, have also identified with
slow travel, usually marking its connection with community as its most
distinctive feature. Espousing modes of travel that were the norm in
some less developed societies became, for some writers and travellers
from western Europe such as Isabelle Eberhardt, a way of engaging more seriously with those societies.
Advocates of slow travel argue that all too often the potential
pleasure of the journey is lost by too eager anticipation of arrival.
Slow travel, it is asserted, is a state of mind which allows travellers
to engage more fully with communities along their route, often favouring
visits to spots enjoyed by local residents rather than merely following
guidebooks. As such, slow travel shares some common values with ecotourism. Its advocates and devotees generally look for low-impact travel styles, even to the extent of eschewing flying.
Aspects of slow travel, including some of the principles detailed in the Manifesto for Slow Travel, are now increasingly featuring in travel writing. The magazine Hidden Europe, which published the Manifesto for Slow Travel,
has particularly showcased slow travel, featuring articles that focus
on unhurried, low-impact journeys and advocating a stronger engagement
with communities that lie en route.
A new book series launched in May 2010 by Bradt Travel Guides
explicitly espouses slow travel ideas with volumes that focus very much
on local communities within a tightly defined area, often advocating
the use of public transport along the way. Titles include Bus-Pass Britain, Slow Norfolk and Suffolk, Slow Devon and Exmoor, Slow Cotswolds, Slow North Yorkshire and Slow Sussex and South Downs National Park.