Every Tuesday we join an international group of globe trotters who gather on Twitter to discuss various topics related to travel. Last Tuesday, or as we endearingly call it “#TravelTuesday”, “slow travel” was the topic for “The Road Less Traveled” (#TRLT) and “impulsive travel” was on the minds of the “Travel Talk on Twitter” (#TTOT) gang.
These weekly chats are inspiring us to write a weekly feature on our blog. Each Tuesday we’ll be diving in a little deeper than the allotted 280 characters, into our thoughts and experiences on the themes discussed the previous Tuesday.
Last week we wrote a piece about Relaxation and Balance and what that means to us while traveling. This week we are have stories to share about the times we have personally traveled impulsively or at a snail’s pace.
Slow Travel or when the Journey is the Destination
Our favorite example of s-l-o-w travel is an epic bike trip. We’ve done a few. On one such trip was the time we pedaled our way from Pittsburgh to D.C.. Because of our tour schedule we couldn’t just take off and do it together so we played leapfrog with each of us taking a turn biking 35-50 miles in a day and the other driving the RV to the designated rendezvous point. It took about 10 days to travel the 320+ miles. The majority of which was was along scenic rail trails and old canal tow paths. Having the time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life was a gift we treasure to this day. We enjoyed the trip so much we decided to bike the Katy Trail, he longest developed rail-trail in the country, which spans across Missouri. And later we decided to ditch the RV and take 2 weeks to bike camp on an undetermined circular route around Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Cape Cod, by the way, is one of the best places to bike, kayak, camp, explore,
swing in a hammock and get your slow travel grove on.
One of our favorite things about slow travel in an RV is being able to dive deeper into activities and having the opportunity to develop a sense of community. For example, every year since 2007, we’ve parked long enough to work at a haunted house during Halloween. For 3 years when our son still traveled with us we managed a haunt in Salem, MA but more recently we’ve found a haunting community of like-minded ghost and ghouls south of Boston in Abington, MA. The owner is accommodating to our lifestyle, allowing us park the RV there overnight while we are working. So we base camp from there on the weekends and do the rest of our sightseeing, performing and running around New England during the rest of the week.
During the same time we also delight in the opportunity to dance as zombies with our now grown son and the cast of RKO Army in Thriller as part of their pre-show for the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
“Having timeshares in Carmel, Lake Tahoe and Sedona has allowed me over the years to take it easy, feel more like a local and visit my favorite spots when I’m there.”TimH @t_jh2009
But what about slow travel in big cities? We have found a couple of hideaways where the hustle and bustle fade into the distance. In Boston it’s the Rose Kennedy Greenway, in San Antonio the Riverwalk. And when you stroll along The High Line in NYC you are transported to a different world.
The great thing about slow travel is it doesn’t require any extra expenses. The key is to not over-plan, and to allow time for discovery.
Impulsive Travel Decisions
Our biggest impulsive travel decision occurred back in 1992 when we impulsively leapt at an opportunity to bring theatre to schools all across the USA. We thought the sound of being able to ditch our day jobs and be full time actors sounded great. So we didn’t give it a second thought. Never mind we had a not quite 2-year-old at the time and had never been to the East Coast. We bought an RV figuring that would give our tiny tot a sense of “home” better than a random hotel every night. The first couple of years were rough to put it mildly. We had many, many regrets, no resources or any form of support. Hey, back then the closest thing we had to Google Maps was a pay phone and the guidance of kindhearted but directionally challenged strangers. But along the way we ironed out the kinks and never stopped. Had we to do it all over again, we’d do it all over again.
So what drives impulsive travel decisions? For us in 2016 it was boredom and the fact that we get itchy feet after being parked in one location for more than a week. After a month of selling Christmas Trees 3 years ago we noticed we had some unscheduled time on our calendar and 3 weeks later we were in Europe for a month.
Then there was that time we were sick and tired of driving I-40 across the US. Can’t count the number of times we’ve done that route. So we impulsively decided to stay off the highway at all costs as we made our way slowly on the back roads across Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. All was fine until we left Albuquerque and ended up on a dirt road in our RV pulling a trailer. And then that dirt road turned into mud that apparently was lonely and decided to grab the RV and not let it go. And we had limited cell service and no traffic coming from either direction, nothing in site but miles of sagebrush. To top it off we couldn’t load Google Maps to figure out if, once we did get free, it was closer to turn around and head back to the blacktop or take our chances and keep heading west. Luckily for some odd reason, Twitter was working and our plea for help was heard. Shout out to friend and twitter buddy @bobmueller who came to the rescue while sitting at home on his desktop reading our tweets, he was able to pinpoint our location and give us sage advice.
So, yes, impulsive slow travel can go awry on occasion. And while neither slow travel nor impulsive travel is something we recommend for every day, every now and then it’s fun to shake it up or take a breath. But just think of all the great stories you’ll be able to tell.
“I have no regrets of impulsive travel decisions to laugh about later – but lots of funny and heart-warming stories.”Sonja Holverson @SonjaSwissLife
You are invited to join us @activatedAdven1 and our Twitter Tribe every Tuesday for #TRLT at 1:00 pm ET and #TTOT at 4:30 pm ET on Twitter. Find The Road Less Traveled on Facebook for a sneak peek at upcoming themes and questions. The group Travel Talk on Twitter also posts themes and questions ahead of time Facebook. You are welcome to add your suggested questions in either group.