In our last blog installment, I spoke of new trends in international tourism. Namely, so-called ”slow tourism”. The other word used to describe this is “experiential tourism”, implying a desire to be more immersed in the culture of an area being visited.
What does that mean? To me, its about adjusting ones self to the rhythms of life of the local people you are amongst. It’s being able to unpack for a spell and be in less of a hurry to check off another places you’ve been and to move on to the next.
Sometimes we see things but we don’t learn from them. Experiential travel is more focused on learning something and being surprised by it. That’s a key word in this, “surprise”. As in “I had no idea….”.
Arriving at this point in your own evolution as a traveler doesn’t always come easy. We get excited and want to pack as much in as is humanly possible. Trips are shorter than wed like and your friends will ask “did you go there, did you see that”? it can ruin everything because somehow, despite your best efforts, you’ll feel like it wasn’t enough.
STOP doing that to yourself. In travel, I have found that the quality of the experience is waaaay more important than the quantity. No, I didn’t go to this city, yes, I hear it’s beautiful. But, where I did go, I hung out with locals. Shared meals with them both in obscure little ristorante gems and at the tables in their homes.
I took the time to get to know them and they responded with love and affection. You can’t make lasting friendships in a hurry. You plant seeds, but they must be nourished. What’s in this for you? Connection. The most elemental of all human desire.
It’s the character of the Calabresi. Over thousands of years and numerous occupations by foreign forces, plus the poverty and hard agrarian life, the people became self-sufficient, resilient, creative and humble. It seems counter-intuitive to some, but in my experience, the poorest people tend to be the most generous. Calabrians can be described using the old axiom that “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met…yet.