Advice from a Slow Traveller

Words by: Gabriela Fannia
Photos: Supplied

Waking at 5:30am to open a bustling cafe and surviving the morning coffee rush is not for the faint hearted. Add to that the lunch crowd, and an afternoon of cleaning and you’ve got yourself anything but a slow life. This is just a snapshot of the daily routine my friend — and cafe manager – Taylor.

At the start of the year, Taylor and her partner, Sam, decided to explore the world beyond Australia, travelling the globe for four months. Taylor’s philosophy: there are things you learn in life, you can only learn from travelling.

I spoke to this slow traveller, asking advice on how to break the cycle of living as if something is chasing you. Because let’s admit it, we all need to ease out of this hustling life for a moment — I know I do.

So, first thing’s first; what was your itinerary?

DestinationLength of StayMode of Transport to Next DestinationFavourite Experience
Malaysia2 weeksFerry– Exploring Langkawi on a scooter
Thailand2 weeksBus– Kayaking from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang, and spending the day on the island
– Meeting up with friends from Australia
– Watching the Muay Thai boxing
Loas10 daysFlight– Climbing and swimming in the Kuang Si Falls
Hoi Chi Minh City, Vietnam5 daysTrains– Attending the War Remnants Museum
Hanoi, Vietman 10 daysFlight– Eating at the same little restaurant every night
Deli, India3 weeksFlight– Trying thali for the first time and loving it
Egypt3 weeksFlight– Seeing the pyramids
-Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in Dahab
Bali 1 weekFlight– All the kind local people

At what point did you stop and realise you needed to travel?

Living in the middle of the city and working at a job that is high-stress and fast-paced, I think the trip was needed to balance that sort of lifestyle. That’s what makes travelling so appealing, it’s the fact that you get to slow down and experience new things. I’ve always been doing hospitality work, and then I would take a couple of months to travel. I think that’s why I can stay in the hospitality industry, because I know I have that escape once in a while.

How long did you have to save-up before the trip?

I put a couple hundred bucks away for the trip every couple of weeks. It was probably about 3–4 months before I planned the actual details of the trip.

What is the one thing you learnt about yourself during your travels?

I feel like being a cafe manager, you feel like you have to control everything, because everything falls on you at the end of the day. So, travelling sort of breaks that. It’s like “okay, I can’t control anything, so I’ll just go with the flow with whatever is happening and learn to enjoy, rather than try to make everything go your way”, because nothing ever goes your way when travelling.

Give us three tips on how to travel like you:

1. Treat every place like you’re going to come back.

Otherwise, you’ll burn yourself out trying to book everything and see everything. You’ll be disappointed if you don’t see things. It’s best to be just like “it’s okay, we missed that, but we’ll go see this other thing, so next time we’ll come and see the one we wanted to”.

2. Walking is really one of the best options.

There are so many times when we decided to walk, and we’d stumble across hidden gems. There was this one time we found this hike that we didn’t know existed, it was between these two cafes. You just walked down a path and it took you up to a mountain and it was such a nice hike. We’ve driven past this area a few times and we’d never seen it!

3. Pushing yourself is such a bad mistake while travelling.

You’ll probably end up getting sick. There were times when we took the overnight bus, that way we got [to the destination] quicker, as opposed to just taking the long route along the way. We took the overnight bus, and we ended up getting sick, so we weren’t able to see all the new places we had planned to. So, it’s sort of like “slow down, let’s not rush this. We’ve got time, we can spend the whole day in one spot, spend the whole day in the next spot, we don’t have to get there overnight.”

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