Slow Travel - A conscious approach to travelling

Slow travel is a new term that stands for sustainable and conscious travelling. Nowadays, it's becoming increasingly popular, and not without a reason. But what is slow travelling? What can you do to travel slow? 

Slow travelling originates from the "Slow movement", a movement in which the idea is to slow down one's life pace. Carl Honoré, a Canadian journalist, wrote the book "In Praise of Slow" about the slow movement. He describes it as 

"[It is] a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting"

The movement can be applied to all aspects of life. Famous examples are the Slow Food and Slow Fashion movement, but there are many more (check out this wikipedia page for example: Slow travel is one of these sub-movements. A quote that came up in my mind relating to this way of travelling is the famous quote "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey". Since travelling around the world is so easy nowadays, I believe that most people focus on the destination and all the places they want to see. I have to admit, I sometimes feel the same way, but from experience I know that staying in one place for a long time suits me much more. 

So what is slow travel? It's about losing the idea of having to see everything there is to see, it's about accepting that you don't have to see all the highlights, it's about enjoying the place you're visiting, or travelling through, it's about slowing down, enjoying the moment and leaving some room for improvisation. Before and during slow travel, you make conscious choices, in which you think about how you can relax during your trip and how you can connect with and truely experience the country and society you're visiting. By doing this you can give back to the communities you visit, engage with new people and even lower your carbon footprint. 

When I went to Japan for 2,5 months, I knew I had a lot of time to see many things. However, after a couple of days I realised I was tired of visiting all those places on my list and travelling to a new places every 1-2 days. I was staying in a nice, cosy hostel and rather enjoyed talking to the staff and eating and cooking Japanese food. Eventually I ended up staying there for quite some time, before I left for my next destination. During my whole trip in Japan, so in 2.5 months, I had only visited Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. There were so many sights I hadn't seen, but I couldn't be bothered. During this time I made great friends (whom I still am in contact with after 7 years), got to know local culture, spent time with many Japanese people and enjoyed the beautiful landscape. I still feel so happy when I think back to this time, and I never think about the places I haven't seen. 

Does this sound like something you want to experience? Then let('s) go! Let's leave our busy lifes behind and enjoy something new. There are many ways to travel slow, and of course it can still be combined with going sightseeing and planning your trip. Just take the time to enjoy planning, and maybe not plan everything. Here are some tips to prepare you're slow travels: 

  • Find a place you really want to experience, see, feel. 
  • Take time. Don't rush through a country or continent. You don't have to see everything. Maybe just choose a certain region to visit. 
  • Don't just look at a guidebook. Of course, they will show you the most famous places, but this doesn't mean they are the most beautiful ones. This usually means they are the most crowded ones. Asking locals or simply heading out by yourself might present you with even greater experiences. 
  • Search for a way to travel, in which you will see and experience most of the culture. This is generally a SLOW way of travelling. Airplanes bring you to your destination, but you will not really 'experience' the journey. So good alternatives are by train, hitchhiking, bus, or even cycling or walking. Make the journey fun, and really part of your trip. As a side-effect this is also helping your carbon footprint. 
  • Do things that truely make you happy, and not just things that are on an internet list. So if you don't like cities, don't go to cities. If you like nature, spend some time in a national park. If you love food, take a cooking course, find some special restaurants in the region, or eat at local markets. 
  • (Partly) forget about the usual sights and standard hotels and go off the beaten track. Find special accommodation on AirBnB, try house-sitting, look for local (but nice) hostels, visit the local market, ask a local (also possible on the couchsurfing website) what they think are underrated places in their country/region, etc. Not only will this make your experience more unique, it will also support the local industry, rather than the big businesses at the hotspots. 
  • Take part in local traditions and the local way of living. 
  • Don't make a plan! Leave your place and start walking around. Take a bus and get off wherever you feel like getting off, accept the uncertainty of not always knowing what will happen today. 

By doing all, or some of these things, you can truely experience slow travelling, and hopefully relax more while really experiencing the local culture. There are also other advantages to slow travelling, I'll mention a couple of these: 

  • It is often cheaper. Staying in one place for a while saves money on travelling and you can find cheap but delicious places to eat. Also, visiting sights other than the touristy ones, will also really reduce your spendings. Furthermore, if you don't make a strict travel plan, you can work around expensive tickets by travelling on the days the prices are lowest. 
  • It is often more sustainable. Travelling different and less can really reduce your footprint on this world. 
  • You'll come back more relaxed. Because you plan less, and look at the time less, you can just do whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it. No rush! 
  • You'll have a more unique experience. Depending on whether you care about this or not, it can be an advantage of slow travelling. You can experience the local aspects of life, instead of just the tourist hotspots. 
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4 tips for sustainable travel products

4 tips for sustainable travel products

Hi everyone!

As you might have noticed, lately I've been trying to figure out how to live more sustainably. However, while I'm getting better at it at home, my travels could do with a sustainability upgrade as well. Therefore, I've been gathering some tricks I use at home, that could also be used for travelling. 

1. Get a safety razor
This is definitely one of my favorite lifestyle changes and it could easily be used for travelling as well. I have been using disposable razors for so long, and never really thought about how damaging they are for the environment due to packaging and all the plastic used for the razors themselves (I'm not even talking about production emissions etc). Recently I saw a post somewhere about a safety razor, which made me wonder whether this would be a good alternative. It turns out, many people before me have asked the same question and hundreds of blogs are written about it. Great! So after reading some experiences of other bloggers, I decided to buy one. Without putting too much effort into it, I choose the "Feather safety razor populair" at which costs 20 euros and comes with 2 blades. I didn't want to spend too much money on one in case I didn't like it, but in hindsight, it would have been better if I bought a safety razor that was 100% metal and maybe a little bit more expensive. 

I'm very happy with my safety razor (maybe I'll write a whole blog about it sometime as well..). I was a bit scared when I used it for the first time, because it's such a sharp razor and a new experience, but this turned out to be totally unnecessary. It's super easy and it's so much better than disposable razors with 2,3,4,5 blades. You can use the razor everywhere (just be a bit more careful in sensitive areas), and you really get a clean and good shave which lasts much longer. For a sustainable shaving cream, especially when travelling, it's easiest to have a soap bar with you, or some coconut or olive oil. This works really well and is super easy. You can just bring a bit of oil with you on your travels and only use a little bit every time you shave. 

By the way, the disposable razor blades last about 1-2 months depending on how often you use it, and are recyclable. 

2. Rice water hair boost
One of the things I really dislike when I'm travelling, is when my hair gets dry. Certain climates can be really tough on your hair and damage it, and usually spending much time on revitalising your hair is not a priority when travelling. So recently, I found out about an easy trick to give your hair a little boost, and it can be done almost everywhere! 

What you do is you boil rice with 1.5 or 2 times the amount of water you would have actually needed for cooking the rice. When it's finished you drain the excess water and keep it separate. Let it cool down until it's colder, cover your hair and scalp in it (for example by putting the water in a bowl and dipping your hair and head in) and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Then rinse it out and your hair will be super soft again! 

If you use conditioner as well, do this after conditioning - You can also mix the rice water with green tea to make your hair more shiny - if you have too much rice water, store it in the fridge so you can use more later - you have to figure out yourself how much to use it, I think most people say once a week/two weeks/month. Or you can just use it whenever your hair feels like it needs a boost. 

3. Bring a water bottle and/or sustainable cup with you on your trip
Just like at home, you can bring your own water bottle or coffee cup when you go somewhere. This can safe millions of plastic or paper alternatives. Always ask people to use your cup for a drink your ordering, and fill your own bottle with water. A Stojo cup ( is a very good option for travellers since it is foldable and therefore takes up less space in your bag. 

4. Bring your own chopsticks
Okay, maybe this one doesn't count for all your travels, but mainly relates to travelling in south-east Asia, but it really helps save on wooden products. I have experience travelling in Japan and everywhere you buy some food, you get disposable wooden chopsticks in plastic packaging. Imagine saying no to all of these and just using your own chopsticks? It's so easy! I think on the worst days I could have saved over 8 pairs of chopsticks if I did this, and that would be only in one day. So from now on, I'm gonna bring my own and say no to the disposable ones :). 

These are just some simple tricks and tips for more sustainable travels. There are lots more to be found on the internet and more blog posts by me will follow in the future as well. But for now, you can read my blogpost about reducing your carbon footprint while travelling here, about sustainable and ethical travelling here and flight compensation here



Travelling sustainably and ethically: tips & tricks

Travelling sustainably and ethically: tips & tricks

Hey everyone, 

Today I want to talk about travelling sustainably and ethically, since I think these are two of the most important things if you want to keep travelling and enjoying cultures/natures. 

So much can be learnt through travelling. It is meaningful and wonderful and gives us the opportunity to explore other ways of thinking, other cultures, other perspectives on things and not to mention a great variety of beautiful ecosystems. It is easy to assume that the way we do things here is the right way, that how we live, is how it should be, but travelling can totally mess this idea up, in a good way :). However, tourism can also put great stress on other cultures and ecosystems. Whole societies can change and disappear if tourism is performed in an unsustainable way. In this day and age in which travelling is so popular, easy and cheap, it is therefore very important to travel sustainably to sustain a place and its character. 

So what makes travelling sustainable? Many ideas and opinions exist about this, but I think it comes down to focussing on these things: respect, ethics, eco-tourism. Again, these terms can be interpreted in multiple ways of course haha. 

Respect is one of the main things if you want to be accepted into a culture, but also preserve a culture. Respect begins with researching the country you're visiting. This means looking into the culture, the rules, the unwritten rules and sometimes even the language if you're up for it. Getting to know a culture before you see it (by reading, watching movies/documentaries, researching the internet) can already increase your respect for it. Even though you might already think you are respectful, understanding exactly what and why will help you to act on it even better! And, it's also great fun to know so much about a culture. You can talk to local people about it, or explain things to other tourists which in turn helps them to travel more sustainably as well. 

Being respectful and being ethical has a lot in common. However, being ethical to me means that you are aware of what you do and how you do it, and that you really try to limit any negative impact you can have on cultures/environments. This means that for everything you decide to do, you do some research on how, why, where and by whom. So if you want to visit a local village for example, how is the trip conducted, what are the real reasons behind the trip (making money or supporting the local industry?), where are you going (what kind of village is it? Are they real local places, or are they places set up for tourism and making money?) and who is conducting the tour (is it local, what do they spend the profit on? etc). Of course, some of these things are really difficult to find out, but by trying to dig deeper than just booking the first cheap option, you might really have a positive impact on local cultures and help in preserving them. The same can be important for animal/wildlife shelters. 

Ecotourism, a term defined by the World Conservation Union as "Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples." As you can read In ecotourism a big part of the money made by tourism is usually put into conservation practices, like tree planting, preserving lands or helping animals. This goes hand-in-hand with cultural conservation. It's all about minimising your impact on the environment and being aware of what you can do (through tourism) to preserve the country you're visiting. Again, you can do research on the impacts of certain things you want to do. You can also find out which place you should and shouldn't visit by reading reviews for example. For example in Thailand, elephant riding can be a very popular activity for tourists, but it is terrible for the elephants. If you do want to see an elephant though, or maybe even be super close to one, you can visit an animal/elephant shelter where the elephants live that were rescued from these terrible circumstances. Often, you can also volunteer at these places which helps them in taking care of the animals and sheltering more animals. 

If you want to know more about eco-tourism, check out this page for example:

Well, I think it's all about pre-reading, which is also a fun way to prepare for your travels. Learning about a country can help you in making sustainable decicions. Travel in a local way, eat in a local way and sleep locally, this can all help in preserving nature, food and whole cultures. If you have more suggestions, let me know! Good luck with planning your sustainable travels :). 





I booked a flight, now how do I compensate?

I booked a flight, now how do I compensate?

Alright, I did it! I booked a flight to Japan because of a job interview (they didn't want to do it over skype because I should get to know the company). I couldn't pass the chance for something I always wanted to do, so against my own moral judgement I'm going to Japan for 2 weeks in August. However, since I'll be adding an enormous load of CO2 and other gasses into the air, I want to find a sustainable and ethical way to compensate for this. Let me take you with me in this quest, so maybe you can use the info too!

~reminder, NOT flying is ALWAYS better than compensating! ~

Nowadays, many airlines offer flight compensation. However, I'm not to keen on compensating through an airline company since I don't trust them too much and I think they probably go for the easy options. So I decided to arrange my own compensation, starting with finding out how polluting my trip would be. 

1. Calculating emissions
I read about flight pollution. Flying is not just about adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Science has pointed out that there are many more detrimental effects of flyings, the biggest ones according to Atmosfair are "The CO₂ as a direct by-product of combustion, the formation of cirrostratus clouds and/or contrails (linear clouds), the formation of the greenhouse gas ozone in a sensitive level of the atmosphere, and the cooling effect of methane decomposition". If you want to know more about this, then check out their page The table can be a bit confusing, but it shows that for example ozone formation because of flying is almost as polluting as the CO2 (80% effects of the same amount of CO2). The effects of flights on climate change are usually much higher than only shown through the CO2 values. Therefore I also don't trust big aviation companies, since they probably don't take this fully into account.

Then, there is another very useful tool which can be found on the atmosfair website, namely the airline index ( If you click on the latest document, you can see how well the airline you're flying with scores. I'm rather dissapointed and I should have checked this before I booked, since my airline is in category D, which is not very good. When scanning through this document (tip: use ctrl+f) keep in mind that the airline scores differently for different distances. I would recommend you to definitely check out this website before you book a flight! oops.. 

The third tool, from the same website, is the flight emission calculator Of course, they can't take into account everything like the weather on that day, or the amount of luggage etc etc., but at least you can get a good idea about how much you should compensate. In my case, and I'm afraid to admit it, I have to compensate for 5515 kg of CO2, which costs me 128 euros. They also show a comparison to other emissions, which is quite shocking. The average per capita emission in India in one full year for example is 1600 kg CO2 and the total amount of emissons I could spend in one year to retain a healthy climate is 2300 kg, which is less than half of what I am emitting through going to Japan for two weeks... and I'm not even talking about my other ways of emitting CO2 now.. (like electricity use, food, garbage etc). So yeah, I feel terrible, but at least I can do a little bit to compensate for it now. 

2. Finding compensation
So, let's focus on something positive: how can I reduce my gigantic amount of global warming contribution? I have googled with the terms ethical and sustainable CO2 compensation since not every compensation scheme is a good one. A while ago for example, I watched a zembla episode ( it is in Dutch, sorry) which talked about CO2 compensation through planting trees on other peoples land in Uganda, a terrible thing. After my search I found three websites that seem good to me: (a certified B corporation), (which is gold standard certified) and (which is also gold standard certified). Compensating through atmosfair is easy, since you can just use the calculation tool, and then click continue which will give you the option of choosing projects followed by a payment. 

If compensating thorugh Greenseat you can do the same, however, they will give you a much lower price (for me around 17 euros) and I think this is because they only count the CO2 emissions and also don't take into account what type of plane you use. So I would prefer atmosfair over greenseat because they seem to be more inclusive about all the other ways of airpollution. 

Climatecare also has some great projects. Through their calculator tool you can do the same as with the other two options. This calculator gives me a price of 23 pounds, which is higher than Greenseat, but much lower than atmosfair. You can check the option of compensating for 10% more, but this is still a lot less than 128 euros. Therefore I am more prone to compensate through atmosfair since I believe they are a trustworthy organisation and try to really compensate for everything, even though it is much more expensive. However, I do still think the other organisations are also good! 

Well, now I'm going to sleep on it for a night and ask a friend of mine who recently compensated for his flights for some recommendations and then, when I get my internship compensation I will start compensating! I feel a bit better now since I now that I can partly reduce my emissions :). Of course, I'm not a business person who flies a couple of times per year/week/month, but even my emissions matter and every small step of reducing them helps! 

Let me know if I was of any help to you and if you have any additional tips/recommendations, also leave a comment :). 


Comments, Compliments & Kudos

When you find it difficult to

When you find it difficult to slow down, a language course including homestay with a local family might help break the ice. They usually know how to get off the beaten trail and with some basic language skills a tourist-free place is less scary.

Such a good suggestion Sander

Such a good suggestion Sander!! Thanks! :D

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