Books On The Beach: The Idle Traveller

More idle chatter….

The Idle Traveller by Dan Kieran

“….if  you find yourself heading in the opposite direction to most of the people around you it’s usually a sign you’re going a more interesting way.”

Whilst reading The Idle Traveller, here at this quote was one of the many moments I paused, and really pondered on that Kieran was saying. There’s a mantra for life in that quote, many mantras.

“I know only one freedom, and that is the freedom of the mind.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So far, I haven’t tired of hearing other people’s thoughts and stories around slow travel. What’s slow for you might still seem a little hurried regimented for someone else – we all have our thresholds depending on the time, place and how we’re feeling.

Capture the moment

Another thing Kieran said that resonated with me was about holiday photographs. In fact he was  saying exactly the same thing I’d been saying to someone in recent conversation, uncanny.

Years of taking photographs has taught me that they don’t really capture the memories at all, not much. Photographs don’t recount the five senses, feelings, the thoughts and recollections before, after and during the moment the picture was taken, the people you met, the conversations you had and subtle observations you made along the way – but journals do.

Writing up each day’s events, pouring out all of your thoughts, even making notes at opportune moments throughout each day – like a ‘dear diary’ entry…..then add a bit of blogging to the mix – months and years later, these layers all bring back quite an intense sense of ‘being there’ compared to just a few  photographs.

On this basis, I’m slowly transferring a lot of my photographs, journal entries and blog bits into photo books with text ( I’m a huge fan of these), they make great coffee table books as well. It’s a slow process, very time consuming but a great back up to keeping things online or in digital format, and easier to share with others (in person) on the spur.

Back to the book – In The Idle Traveller Kieran shared lots of memoirs of his slow travels, but I skimmed some of this and enjoyed the bits outside this more, where he reflects on the approaches and psychology behind slow travel.

This one is quite a nice book to read on a beach, while you’re already in a frame of mind that’s more receptive to the themes of slow travel and getting a quality experience from your time away….helped by more leanings toward spontaneity, simplicity, going with the flow and just immersing in the act of savouring each moment without any rush or distraction.

Kieran rightly points out that the slower you travel, the longer you feel you’ve been away by the time you get home, This is so true. I remember one time I went to Greece for one week and felt like I’d been away for two weeks – simply because I hadn’t been rushing around trying to ‘do everything’ and fill every day with a schedule of ‘things to do and places to go’. Instead, there was a lot more idle wandering and just soaking up the feeling of being there, the little things.

It’s tricky sometimes  – when you want to do as much as you can whilst away, sometimes you just have to decide which way to tip or balance the scales.

Feeling exhausted and needing another break as soon as you return home from a break may be a measure of how slow you’ve travelled.

The Idle Traveller explores theses themes far more deeply than this though, including the very concept of time, and the workings of the left and right side of the brain and which sides are dominating a trip and why – the more creative right side of the brain being more dominant when in slow travel mode etc.

All very interesting…… ✨

Best wishes for the week ahead, wherever you are 💫

“We have become human doings rather than human beings. Slow down, you’ll go further than you ever imagined.” Satish Kumar, No Destination

22 thoughts on “Books On The Beach: The Idle Traveller

  1. Chatting With San

    Okay, I may have to get this book! I don’t know if I’m a slow traveler but I love traveling alone where I’m not on anyones schedule but my own. However, in the past 11 years, most of my travel has been for tennis. So, there is no other plan but to go and watch the matches from the time the park opens till it closes. However, this year when I went to Paris alone, I did simply just enjoy my time there I just around and did absolutely nothing but shop and site see. I really enjoyed myself.

    1. Cherryl

      It’s a great little introduction to travelling slower, I think you’ll like this book. That Paris trip sounds like you did things at your own pace and leisure, which is part of the ‘slow’ vibe, sounds lovely. I do think slow travel can be more difficult with other people, especially if you’re in a group so its important to dedicate time for slower travel as well, solo trips can be just the tonic.

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  3. Sheila Landry Designs

    I have always found that vacations with a set timetable are not as enjoyable. I realize that sometimes that is the way it needs to be, but I like to just pick around and ‘look’ at things sometimes. (And breathe them and feel them.) I have seen many scripted tours of busloads of people that have to rush through this museum or that park and while I guess you at least get to ‘see’ things, you have a harder time experiencing things and really filling your senses. But that may be just me.

    Driving is my favorite way to travel. It always has been. I have never been off of the North American continent, but would just love to have time to travel throughout Europe. I would need a couple of months, I fear, as my list of places I want to visit is long. I am so appreciative of people like you who share your days of travel with us. It gives an insight that we would otherwise miss.

    Taking photos is something that I appreciate from you, too. When I am in the moment of an experience, I tend to put away my camera and try to focus just on it. I am very grateful that everyone isn’t like me, as I can get lost in photos that other take as well as the stories. That is one reason I really enjoy following you.

    Thank you as always for your insight. I love reading your thoughts and seeing your travels. Have a wonderful week. 🙂

    1. Cherryl

      Thank you Sheila, I’m glad you enjoy my posts, and putting the camera away to enjoy the moment is good advice (sometimes I take way more than I need to but I’m not as bad as I used to be – maybe because I journal a lot more these days as well).

      On a recent trip away I restrained myself from getting the camera/phone on a few occasions and just relied on remembering and making notes (sometimes I make those notes on my phone without drawing attention). 📸 😊

      I completely agree with your thoughts on bus loads of group excursions. I’ve done many in the past but also private ones or just travelling independently without an organiser, and you really feel the difference. I hate being rushed, so that’s a huge factor – but you’re right, in some cases it may be the best way to achieve what you need to in a short time or in a way that feels safe. Also, not every trip needs to be slow, sometimes a fast one can be fun (even if exhausting) 😆

      North America looks so vast I guess you never run out of places to explore, and yes a couple of months for some Europe hopping sounds good, since you’ll be travelling long haul. I’d love to read the blog posts when the time comes ✨

      Warm wishes 💫

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