About the Essentiality of Finding and Following your Pace of Travel
The analogy is astounding. To find and follow your own pace or rhythm of life is essential to have a self-determined, rewarding and happy life. That is what ancient as well as modern thinkers and writers proclaim (e.g. Lucius Seneca in Tim Ferriss` FOURHOURWORKWEEK, Raj Raghunathan on PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, or Joshua Becker at BECOMING MINIMALIST.) I think and herewith try to show that their finding is easly applicable on traveling, too. So this article explains what I understand by pace of travel, how you find your pace of travel and why it is essential to follow your own pace while traveling.
1. Paces of Travel
In 2012, Warren Wei-Jen Lim traveled from Mexico, through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to Costa Rica. Two days per Country. He seemed to be a little bit in a hurry, but also fine with it.
Stéphane and Jenny travel for three months. They travel individually. But they head off to the next place of interest straight after they have seen all sights at one place. They have seen and done everything, following an inner program second to none in intensity.
Staying at a place as long as the fellow travelers are amazing and the book interesting. Going back to places already known and visited over and over. Having no bad feelings about being lazy for days. Silvio and Sabrina traveled the endless way.
Those three short insights exemplarily show different paces of travel that travelers follow while they`re on the road. During my own travels I have encounter hundreds of travelers; some sharing a similar pace to mine and some following very different paces: slower as well as faster paces.
A traveler`s pace of travel is the music and in particular the drum beat a traveler follows while he (or she) does what he (or she) does: that is traveling. The way how a person paces his or her travel tells a lot not only about for how long or how one does a travel. But also about the background of a person, his or her motivations and expectations, etc.
However, to follow a certain drum beat doesn`t necessarily mean that you are following your own drumbeat.
So, if you want to find out about your own, personal pace of travel, go on with the following section.
2. What is Your Pace of Travel?
One very rewarding way to find out something about yourself is by trial and error. Try out all the options that you can think of and that you can`t exclude upfront. Experience their effects on you and find out what makes sense to you personally and what suits you best. Don`t dismiss possible options too fast. You might miss out some valuable experiences.
Travel with Different Time Horizons
Short trips (e.g. one to four days) tend to allow a faster pace of travel than longer trips (e.g. months). A faster pace of travel often goes together with a higher intensity, a tighter program and the feeling to use time efficiently. So changing and playing with the time horizon of your travel is a great option to find the pace of travel you like best.
Travel with Different Transport Means
Not surprisingly, different means of transportation allow you to move either faster or slower. Using no transportation means at all (by foot) brings you significantly less far than flying by airplane, at least in terms of kilometers. 30 kilometers a day are quite a lot if walking by foot. 150 kilometers a day are great for cyclists. A bus ride may be up to 500 kilometers per day and a plane can bring you around half the world in a day. So try out all possibilities the world of today can offer you. Maybe one of them or a mixture between them allows you to go exactly according to your own pace of travel.
Travel in Different Group Constellations
Traveling solo is significantly different from traveling together with your friend or partner or even in a larger group of people. Everyone who has traveled solo for some time would sign this finding, I am sure. While you don`t have to make compromises when traveling alone, traveling together with others is always about making compromises. Including compromises about the pace of travel. Some travelers might have a similar pace to you, some might have a completely different pace. With those people who share your pace of travel, you can travel for longer. To travel in larger groups can be really challenging especially to those individuals who cannot follow their own pace and cannot set their pace on the agenda of the whole group.
Travel for Different Reasons and with Different Expectations
The reason for a trip is also quite important when you have to set or find the pace of an individual travel. A vacation trip follows a different pattern and pace than an educational gap year or even a self-finding trip. So take the reason for your trip into account when you want to find the right pace of travel.
3. The Essentiality of Finding and Following your Pace of Travel
When people tell me that traveling is nothing for them or they just don`t like it, I do – of course – accept and respect their position against it. However, I do also think that when they experienced traveling as something they don`t like, I doubt that they were traveling with the pace that suited them best.
If you always feel like not having enough time to see and experience the places you visit, slow down your pace of travel.
If you don`t feel stimulated enough or even feel annoyed by long periods in which nothing really happens that is of value to you, speed up your pace of travel.
By following this simple pattern, you will approach and finally find your own, personal pace of travel. And as a result have more satisfying, more self-determined and more rewarding travels. To follow and adjust your pace of travel when you feel like changing it, is a never-ending task while being on the road. You constantly meet new people, new friends. You start traveling with them and most probably have to adapt to a new pace. For a while that is fine, interesting and even an important part of traveling, but on the long run and especially if your pace diverts too much from theirs, you have to find a way out of this dilemma.
If you consider happiness as something achievable in life and if you travel for a great part of your life, then, traveling should bring you happiness. And therefore, for being happy while traveling, it is essential to find and follow your pace of travel.
What about yourself? Have you also had unsatisfying moments due to paces of travel that haven`t really suited you? How do you react when you realize that you don`t follow your pace of travel anymore?
Slow-paced Travel Greetings from Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Patric Ganz, alias Traveling_pat
Thanks for your appreciation!