Slowmads — The Digital Nomads Who Take Their Time

Why Traveling Slow Is the New Rage

More Isn’t Always Better

There seems to be a major misconception about Digital Nomads. Many think in order to be a Digital Nomad, you must be in constant motion, tallying new country visits as if playing a game or competing. What nobody mentions is that that type of travel is exhausting.

Yes, travel can be exhausting.

The constant novelty can be taxing.

Travel can get old.

The airport lines, the check-ins and checkouts, the long-haul flight (I’m at the point where I can only tolerate two long-haul flights maximum per year), the route planning on Google Maps. Suddenly, travel loses its appeal. It becomes a chore.

Rather than accumulating points and rushing through your travels, why not simmer in it? Why not stay a while and befriend the barista in your neighborhood café? Why not limit travel bureaucracy and plant some roots, even if ephemeral?

The remedy to making travel fun again is becoming a Slowmad. What are Slowmads? Slowmads are travelers who delights in the moment, who travel for depth over breadth. Who immerse themselves, trekking beyond the scratched surface.

Be a Slowmad Instead

There are plenty of advantages to being a Slowmad, like:

  • Depth over breath. While I’ve been to nearly 30 countries, by relationship with them isn’t symmetrical. In Italy, for example, I grew to know her intimately after spending three years there. I went deep. Sure, I could have hopped borders, but I stayed put — and made lifelong friends and learned another language in the process.
  • Quantity over quality. Being a traditional digital nomad is like going to a buffet — yeah, you might stuff yourself, but are the greasy chicken wings that have been sitting out for who-know-how-long worth it? Sometimes it’s best to dine finely. Slowmadism is fine dining.
  • Saving money. Short Airbnb stays and constant transportation can get expensive, and fast. When you extend your time in a location, you’ll profit on better deals. A gym membership that costs $30 per month is obviously cheaper per day than the gym membership that costs $20 per week. Staying long is a smart way to save.
  • Genuine connections. Establishing connection with other human beings can happen spontaneously — even when traveling fast. But, when you settle into a place for a longer period (more than a few weeks), you benefit from repetition. Each smile and “hello” you share with the grocery clerk becomes more satisfying, accumulating more warmth over time.
  • Less flights. Flying sucks. Especially long-haul flights. Who likes sitting for hours, changing time zones, and (usually) suffering from poor sleep days after your arrival? Not me! While I love to travel, I hate the transportation process itself. I’d much prefer a train ride or BlaBlaCar over a flight.

The Takeaway

Slow down and settle in. Don’t just flirt with the culture you find yourself in; become one with it. Try new things, and step outside of your comfort zone. Slowmadism gives you time to generate genuine connections — all while saving money and avoiding pesky flights.

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If living like slowmads is appealing to you, read my book Journey On for the best strategies.

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