Are you a ‘good’ traveler?
Have you ever experienced “slow tourism”?
Have you ever doubted yourself that we are contributing or destroying the precious presents called “nature, culture and humans”?
Being a youngster in the modern world, what I have seen from many current circumstances (especially in tourism aspect), these gradually become worse even in both the nature and cultures. I have doubted myself that how these situations can be improved and how can we save these precious presents from centuries to centuries. By accident, I found out one thing called “slow tourism” – it sounds strange, right? Well, I was overwhelmed by the meaning and actions related to this term. Therefore, it is much better that I grab opportunities to share these perspectives and I hope that it may help you to slow down yourself whenever traveling due to the deserved world in the future!
The 21st century – a click to search, a click to book everything, a few hours to fly and a connected world in a blink of an eye. A speedy world makes us to be more hurried and travelling is not an exception. Therefore, a question is: whether you are a slow and responsible traveler or not?
Slow = peaceful, calm, and relaxed.
Tourism = the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of the commercial provision of services (reference).
Slow tourism is considered as a travel philosophy which allows you to see the more authentic side of a destination, think calmly about how we act, how we relate to the environment, and most importantly, to the other people.
A connected world makes us travel easily. However, the way we travel is consequently considered. Are the good photos enough for traveling? It is definitely not! It is undeniable that wonderful photos motivates us to stand up and travel, but it is much better whenever you breathe, you feel and be a “local vibe” in each destination. I personally believe that nothing is better than your own experience, your amazing stories that no one can rob them and your own surprising feeling of being friends or deeping into the local life. Thought is it possible or not?
Slow tourism is your respectation to the local culture
Definitely yes! “The power of slow tourism is to build peace and mutual understanding. This is an industry that puts smiles on the face of people, those that are visiting and those that are hosting. It is an industry of hope and optimism” – said Dr. Taleb Refai (Secretary General, UNWTO).
To be honest, I love being free to travel, not being under the pressure of time or being put into the commercial destinations. This is the best way of mine to breathe the fresh air and wonder the hidden sides and also the way to make a conversation with local strangers. A year ago, I spent my awesome 3 days in Hoi An Ancient Town – UNESCO World Heritage Centre and it was one of the best trips ever in my amazing life. Despite its huge influx of tourists in Hoi An, I still let myself loose with the local vibe by visiting the both historical and local places there. Personally say that got lost in Hoi An is the truth. Being lost in the pristine beauty of Vietnam and Hoi An, being fulfilled by the friendliness of local people and being overwhelmed by the amazing stories of the local there.
It was the time I got accidentally into the “World bookshop” – over 20 types of languages in there. Let me tell you the story – it is oddly normal in the long-lasting Hoi An. This bookshop is managed by an old couples over 70 years old, despite moving to many cities, they still choose Hoi An as the last destination to live for the whole life, just the reason: “Hoi An is their hometown, they love Hoi An. They feel the beats of Hoi An and they would like to preserve the special vibe of Hoi An. They have experienced the changes of this ancient town for over 40 years and the last wish is about making Hoi An is the real Hoi An”. They adopt the huge influx of tourists coming to the bookshop, but they preferably exchange the languages, the precious books throughout the world rather than getting lost in their own cultures. An old man told me that: “Nothing is better than you warmly welcome the world to your country. You become a storyteller to share your own experience to foreigners and touch their feeling with an understanding heart are the best approaches to preserve the identity of Hoi An”. Therefore, our responsibility for travelling is about…respecting the local culture, the local voice and adapt the new experience. It is much more deserved ever when you are actually involved in the new vibe and acknowledge yourself for adapting the cultural diversity globally.
Slow tourism is your action to the environmental issues.
Honestly, it is not enough for mentioning slow tourism in our fast-paced world. This type of tourism creates opportunities for us to think calmly about how we act to the environment literally. Let me tell you my secret, this is the first time I have been in Germany ever in my life, so that it is unavoidable to be shocked as the new culture here, it is totally different from my hometown – Vietnam. One of the most impressive actions is about no plastic bags in buying stuffs!!! Really? It is definitely true, I was amazed by this action due to the commitment to the environmental issues nowadays. Unlike Germany, I got used to with covering plastic bags whenever in Vietnam (just in supermarket). However, the culture in Germany makes me calmly to look the surroundings, how the local people act and get adaption to this new features. I was also amazed by many ideally normal things to reduce the disposable plastic stuffs. Consequently, sometimes high speedy travel is not ideally without your calm breath and pay attention to our actions – whether are right or wrong?
Dare your actions? Would you like to be in a slow vibe of traveling? Honestly I will! No further hesitation, being involved in the new culture and take a look of how the local people act are the priorities of us – the responsible travelers of the world!
The best version of ourselves when traveling is not the photos we got, actually is about our awareness of the adaption to the new vibes and take responsibility for the local actions!
Article by Ngan Vu (Sgngan) *NV – International Foundation Year 2019 (KarlsStorytellers)
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