Slow Travel has to be learnt. Each action or activity should unfold itself to its fullest during traveling. The Slow Traveler is directing his senses consciously – also to activities, which happen casually in daily life, like meals. These do not only get richer, but are more memorable. Sara Clemence, author of the book “Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel“ (2018), has various tips on how mindful meals contribute to the Slow Travel experience. By applying them, the meals are being appreciated and the focus lies on the act of eating. Her suggestions for conscious eating:
- Eat with the wrong hand. It takes more concentration and you notice each bite better. To do this exercise at every meal is a bit much, but it can be a method to activate mindful eating from time to time.
- Put the fork down after some bites. This slows down the meal and you got time to observe your surroundings. Look around you – What is there? How is the interior design of the restaurant or café? Who is working and who is dining here?
- Guess the ingredients of the meal. You can focus playfully on your food by explore the consistency, flavors and taste. Is this cinnamon? Do you taste lemon? Could that be almonds? The guessing game can become an active conversation with your travel partner or the kitchen of the place.
Mission garlic bread
Another playful way to dine consciously is a food mission. For this you have to choose a favorite meal or regional specialty and make it your task to find the best or most exciting version in the holiday destination of it. The travel becomes a treasure hunt. The mission can take a day, but can also spread over the whole travel period.
You just focus on this one task and at the same time you will learn something about the local cuisine. How different to the cooks prepare the meal? Which ingredients vary? Is there a secret ingredient? Which meals or specialties are connected with it?
It can be the best pizza or sushi – but it also works in a small scale, the tastiest ice cream or the best cappuccino. I myself remember traveling Thailand with my friend and ordering garlic bread in every restaurant. The best about it was of course that this was no local specialty, neither the garlic nor the bread. That’s why the results were even more fun. Additionally, the garlic kept the mosquitoes away. In a country with dengue fever and malaria not the worst side effect.
 See Clemence, Sara (2018): Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel, Philadelphia, p. 82 – 83.
Article by Anika Neugart