One of the most troubling problems in the slow movement is its lack of diversity. People who are talking about applying slow movement ideas to various disciplines – or who talk about environmentalism, or bicycle infrastructure advocacy, or any of a number of similar topics – are mostly over-educated white people like me. […] The term slow travel is mostly being used by young people who travel – often college kids with the resources to travel around the world, or digital entrepreneurs who can work while travelling. […] Even minimalism, the most diverse of the related topics, is essentially a philosophy born of privilege – “too much stuff” is the ultimate first-world problem.
Speaking specifically of Slow Travel, I couldn’t agree more. Slow Travel nowadays seems to fall into two narrow categories of travelers: the privileged young travelers who have the money to jet around the world for a year, or the idle rich, who can afford luxury cruises that go on for weeks or months.
I’m guilty of this myself. What ultimately got me to understand and embrace Slow Travel is an abundance of money and time. Does this mean Slow Travel is only for the rich and/or idle? Well, I hope not. I wrote The Way of Slow Travel in large part because I believe Slow Travel can benefit everyone regardless of their amount of free time or their income level. On this blog, I wrote about Slow Travel on a tight budget. But Deborah makes me wonder: is it enough? How can Slow enthusiasts reach out to a more diverse community?
Problem is, Slow is about time, and time is a precious commodity in our day and age. People like my friend Manick in Kolkata do not have the luxury of pondering how to spend their days. Closer to home, millions of North American workers are so caught up in making a living that they can’t afford to slow down on their days off.
Here’s a modest proposal to Slow Travel bloggers and writers: let’s stop making everyone else feel guilty for not emulating our lives of adventure. To say that “everyone can save up and travel” is a lie. By “everyone,” we mean everyone like us, with the income level to save up and do nothing for a while. Let’s start to think instead of those who do not have the time or money to travel extensively.
I sincerely believe everyone can benefit from the lessons of Slow Travel. The question, then, is: how?