The dawn of the digital age brought with it the ability to become a digital nomad enabling people to work from anywhere in the world. A slowmadic lifestyle had recently been becoming increasingly popular amongst their community. Then the pandemic hit. Countries were closing their borders and those that weren’t were likely to be requesting PCR tests and expensive quarantining measures. So, it suddenly seemed like there was no choice but for all digital nomads to adopt a slower pace of life and experience the increasing trend of slowmadism.
However, this was not a bad thing. The difference between being a digital nomad and a slow nomad is simply that slowmadism involves literally slowing down and travelling less frequently. Therefore, they are able to immerse themselves more fully within the culture of a place. Slow travel allows a deep and intimate exploration of all new areas we come across. Read on to discover why slowmadism is the most beneficial way to travel as a digital nomad.
1. More time to explore
Slowmadism provides the opportunity to become deeply immersed within the place you are staying. No longer do you have to be the erratic looking tourist rushing from one popular site to another. Instead, you are a slow traveller relishing in all each new area has to offer. You now have time for the entire town or city to reveal its secrets to you. The ones yet to be trampled upon by tourists. So rather than hopping about all over the world, just simply breathe and enjoy the opportunity to truly slow down.
Many travellers appear to have a ‘need’ to see everything as quickly as possible so that they can hop swiftly on to their next destination. Replace this ‘need’ with a ‘want’ for relaxation. How does a leisurely stroll around the market revelling in all the local produce on offer sound? We would far prefer this to the entire day spent frantically moving from one area of the city to another. Slowmadism can help you achieve this lifestyle.
2. Slowmadism improves work efficiency
Of course, like any lifestyle, being a digital nomad requires work to be done. Staying in one area for long periods of time means you can settle into a routine to make your working life more productive. There will be less time spent waiting around for transport and attempting to complete work in a small cramped space. If flying far, jet lag is inevitable which can hugely mess with productivity so slow travel can help avoid this.
Travelling often means repeatedly dealing with visa requirements and unexpected issues that come up. Also, you have to constantly learn about the layout of a new place and sort out any issues with your new accommodation as well as having to unpack all over again. Adapting to slowmadism will leave you with more time to complete your work while still having plenty of time to explore.
3. You have time to give back to the local area
Travellers often do not realise that their visit can positively impact the local community. Any traveller or tourist should always remember to give something back to the place they are discovering. Travelling slowly provides lots of opportunity and time to do this. Also, just as your visit can have a positive impact, it can also have a negative impact. We should always be conscious of how we are impacting the local area and environment. The most basic rule is to not litter. This endangers animals, leaves the place looking unwelcome and gives the locals more to clean up. With the extra time your new slowmadic lifestyle uncovers, check out ways in which you can assist the local area.
Ideas to try:
- Helping with beach cleans.
- Buying local products from local sellers.
- Participating in a class ran by locals e.g. cookery, yoga, or even language.
- Assisting in a local conservation project.
- Learn about the local customs and respect them
Learning the basics of any language may seem like a challenge too difficult to make it worth undertaking. However, attempting to speak in the local language no matter how bad an attempt it is, is one of the most intimate ways to immerse yourself within the new culture. Your attempt will be very much appreciated by the locals so do not be afraid to try. Slowmadism means you have the time to focus on giving back so give the above ideas a go. The community will be forever grateful to you for supporting them.
Remember in many places such as Thailand, the locals rely on tourists to make a living. Covid-19 will therefore have had a devastating effect on many areas. So it is now more important than ever to remember to give back. Make it a priority! Too often tourists leave the impression of being ungrateful and selfish. As slowmads, we have the chance to reconstruct this impression.
Most importantly though, ensure that what you choose to do is beneficial to the community and not something that is there just simply to entertain tourists. For example, many ‘ethical’ animal sanctuaries are not what they say they are. Please consciously check any activities you intend to do.
You’re obviously going to be eating so why not choose local options? Rather than grabbing fast food from a chain, you now have time to peruse all the local options available. You have time to ask around for recommendations and you can even take time to scour the internet in search of a delightful local eatery. Local places will be grateful for any support but in big chains, your contribution won’t even be noticed, never mind appreciated.
4. Relationships can flourish
Digital nomads often strike up friendships with like-minded people they come across while travelling but rarely do they have time to grow. This is simply because digital nomads are always on the move. This leaves little time for developing friendships. However, embracing slowmadism means there’s time for relationships to flourish. Rather than spending a few weeks in one area, slow things down and stay for at least a few months. This gives you time to develop deep connections with fellow like-minded digital nomads and even locals. Adopt slowmadism and your network will stand a great chance of expanding. You may hear about more work opportunities or digital-nomad friendly places to work. You may even come across a partner in crime to accompany you on future adventures.
By simply slowing down, relationships will naturally flourish without you even realising. Maybe the pizzaiolo from your local pizzeria will even start to recognise you. Before you know it you have deep connections with both locals and fellow travellers which is highly unlikely with the typical fast-paced digital nomad life. Although, the downside to flourishing relationships is that you both eventually will inevitably move on. However, you have now built foundations for strong future friendships. The brilliance of this is that you slowly start to gather friends from around the world. This likely provides you with free accommodation and tour guides in many places around the globe. Or at the very least, you have people you can meet up with for future travels.
5. Improved mental health
With frequently having to become accustomed to new places, the digital nomad life can at times feel lonely. Therefore, as mentioned above slowmadism is the perfect opportunity to form connections with others. Family and friends back home do not always understand the desire for this lifestyle choice so friendships with more like-minded people is a blessing. You can develop a community to which you can reach out at any time of need. You all understand the highs and lows of travel so who better to share these experiences with. Knowing you have people who understand your way of life, even if they are halfway across the world, can instantly lessen any loneliness.
Also, achieving a slower pace of life means less constant organising and moving about. Always having to check on visa requirements, transport and accommodation every few weeks can become very draining. Having your papers covered for the whole period helps, like having a longer visa, a valid passport for a long time and travel and medical insurance coverage for your digital nomad journey. SafetyWing is a travel and medical insurance provider created by digital nomads for digital nomads that can help you have that peace of mind.
Only having to do this at a minimum of once every few months frees up a lot of time. Rather than having to always be on the move and filling every free moment with something new, you can instead slow down and take time to truly relax. This will have endless benefits for your mental health. You now have time for friendships, cooking healthy nutritious meals, exercise and even time to do absolutely nothing! You can take time to truly appreciate the wonderful opportunities that the privilege of being able to travel brings you.
6. Slowmadism saves money
Slowmadism gives you far much more flexibility than a typical fast-paced digital nomad lifestyle does. You will now have much more freedom with dates, this can save you a lot of money. Not only will you save money by travelling less but with the flexibility that slowmadism brings, you can select the cheapest transport options at the cheapest times. You no longer have a strict schedule to adhere to so you’re free to travel whenever and wherever.
As for accommodation, staying in the same place for a long period of time can drastically reduce the price. Sites like Airbnb offer enticing discounts on monthly stays. The longer you stay the more you save. Depending on where you are from, in many countries, long term accommodation can even work out cheaper than in your home country. Therefore, because you are now completely flexible, you could spend a year in a country with low living costs such as Cambodia. You could save up a nest egg for future travels in more expensive countries such as Australia. Better yet, you could pay a small yearly fee and house sit for free throughout the year.
7. Benefits the planet
A huge benefit of adapting to a slowmadic way of life is that you will be flying less often. Also, when the time does eventually come to move on, because you are no longer in a rush, you can take a bus or train instead of flying the whole way there. You could choose to go to the country closest to you and continually explore the world this way in a slow manner to cut down on long flights. Whilst in your new destination, why not choose to walk, cycle or skateboard about wherever possible to further reduce your carbon footprint.
An incentive to using more sustainable transport methods is that you can bring as many liquids as you like and usually not have to worry about luggage weight! The other truly wonderful thing about ground transport is admiring the views as you pass by. Also, with no rush to get anywhere, you can feel free to stop off at any places you like the look off along the way.
Taking each of these benefits into account, slowmadism is clearly a suitable lifestyle for digital nomads. Also, with constant Covid testing and quarantining measures, the time to adopt a slow travelling method is now! You will have more time, friendships will flourish, your mental health will benefit, and you can save money! More importantly, the planet benefits too! So go slow, you will not regret it. The benefits are endless.