The Art of slow Travel – The Next Big Thing?

Written by Aiden Perrins

Images by Tanja Kühne

The art of slow travel is a new trend in travel, seen on the popular Instagram page @theartofslowtravel, and an upcoming blog of the same name. Tanja Kühne, 26, from Switzerland is the brain behind the concept, and I’ve recently been speaking to her about it.

Introducing the concept, she said: “There are a lot of people who love to travel, but most of the time they just go to the same places everywhere. When you see your Facebook feed, you see everyone is going to see the Taj Mahal, everyone is going to see the Eiffel Tower, everyone is going to see the Sydney Opera House, and they’re just doing the same things. They’re just going to places where they can see all this sightseeing stuff.” She goes on to explain: “What I see as the art of slow travel, is you also want to see and get to know the culture of the people living there. Some people go to McDonalds when they’re travelling in France, where you can get the best food ever, because they don’t want to explore other cultures.”


Tanja also talks about her own experiences travelling: “I did a lot of couch surfing, to get to know the people living there. It also helps you get out of the centre. In the centre, like in Paris, everything is beautiful, everything is nice, but when you go outside you see eurgh. It’s a bit dirty, or weird people. But then you also discover new things, like nice cafés which are not in the middle of everything. Or you can discover street art, and when you see street art you can also see kind of a mirror of their society.”

“Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking”

Another thing which Tanja has noticed herself doing recently is living more and more offline, which is surely a challenge in a world where you can look around a social gathering and see almost everyone glued to a screen. “I like to not just share all my pictures where I am. On my Instagram I used to upload a picture everyday, but now I do it maybe once a week or something,” Tanja observes. “Fast travelling is also a thing you see with Instagram and social media. Everyone sees that everyone else is doing something very cool and shares it, and there are actually people who go to the same places and take the same shots as those ‘famous’ instagrammers. It’s crazy! Everyone is doing the same thing. Everyone is going to Iceland, I think Cuba is also a thing, Croatia is the next big thing I think. Maybe slow travel is also just going to places no one has been yet.” This claim is backed up in a quote posted on her Instagram page: “Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.” Which is attributed to Martha Barron Barret, and really emphasises the ideals of not necessarily following the path most walked, but creating your new path, and exploring rather than following.


Staying on the subject of using social media, Tanja mentions a woman she knows who forgot to take her camera on holiday and called it a “really good experience.” Tanja adds: “She was really living in the moment and not just thinking like ‘Oh, is that a good photo or not?’” Having an Instagram page, obviously Tanja is not completely sold on it, but she likes the idea behind it, noting: “Some pictures are cool, but I sometimes see pictures of people, they’re taking selfies, and they’re like ‘Yeah we’re in Budapest’, but I don’t see anything of Budapest, just your heads.”

“Discover new things in your own city”

The art of slow travel is something that can definitely be used and applied to everyday life. For example Tanja says that sometimes won’t take the bus all the way home, instead walk the last three stops, maybe discovering new side streets that could have a cute café, or interesting bar on it. Also, doing less online is a way it can influence your life. You might start getting out and seeing places, instead of looking at them on the internet. Tanja says: “Not everyone can travel all the time, or has the money or time to do it, so you can really implement it in your daily life. You can discover new things in your own city. You might think like god, this is so boring here, but actually there’s a lot to do.”


Talking about how she came up with the idea, she says: “I was doing it before I realised I was doing it.” It’s a style of travelling that Tanja adopted when she was bored of seeing the tourist hotspots, which tend to not be much different wherever you go. “When I first started travelling I wanted to see the world, see as much as I could for as cheap as I could. But now, I don’t know if I’m getting older or if I travelled a lot. I figured out, I don’t want to see these touristy things, I don’t want to see this stupid museum.” This is something that Tanja believes ties in with sightseeing, and distracts from taking in the culture, as she speaks from personal experience: “I was the one who was in London in Madame Tussauds, I would never go to Madame Tussauds anymore. I can do that at home. It was fun, but there was a queue, why is there a queue? Even in Amsterdam, there was a queue, they could look in cool places, but everyone is doing that. Did you really travel across the world to stand in a queue in front of Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam?”

She is also very confident that slow travel is going to be a big thing in the future. “Everyone is going to organic foods and blah blah blah, this is going to go with slow travel,” she notes. This is an interesting point. The hipster movement does not seem like slowing down anytime soon, and slow travel encompasses finding small independent cafés and bars and the such, which is right up their (side)street.

Tanja has certainly come up with an interesting alternative to bog standard sightseeing. After all, big metropolitan cities can tend to be very similar anywhere you go, especially in tourist hotspots. To truly have a unique experience, maybe the back alleys and cultural aspects are the future of travel. Just make sure to stay safe!16804679_10155100715604292_877785819_o