The Magic of Slow Travel in a Disconnected World

The magic of slow travel is a beautiful gift, especially in today’s disconnected world. For me, slow travel is an intention to travel to observe oneself while awakening your senses and seeing things anew – provisioning yourself to be all you came here to be!

One of the things I suggest, and it’s pretty simple, is to look up. Observe what you see and bring that elevated awareness to observing yourself while away. What I see all too often are travelers absorbed in their smartphones. Yet overhead, a wonderful world unfolds; birds soar, skyscrapers reveal themselves, and clouds dance across the sky. How many of you miss seeing the natural beauty of a place. And how many of you miss embracing yourself because you’re too busy seeking external validations?

I get it; scrolling through Instagram and viewing another’s feed is intriguing. In some ways, this action helps us feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. But, this behavior is ENERGY SUCKING!

U.Va. psychologist James A. Coan conducted the study. “People close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real,” he said.

I To Introduce You To a New Travel Paradigm

Enough said about Instagram. Here’s an idea, travel slowly without the constant companion of a smartphone. Without a smartphone, we may recognize the niceties and the little joys which present themselves wherever we go, and yes, it can even be a staycation.

I want to introduce you to a new travel paradigm. If you travel conditioned by what the hospitality industry and Instagram lead you to believe is the ultimate, I can guarantee you that you will travel unconsciously. Even more important, if you don’t know who you are, how can you choose the best destination to align with your persona.

On your next vacation, step back and realize you are a multi-dimensional being. RETHINKING MYERS-BRIGGS®: use your personality as a conduit for your soul’s self-expression. If you’re not conscious of who you really are, travel becomes an act of consumption instead of an act of enlightenment. You CHOOSE.

Rushing is the Antithesis of Slow Travel

alt="Rushing is the opposite of the magic of slow travel as is captured in this photo of businesses."
Rushing Around Can Sometimes Bring About the Feeling, ‘I Need a Vacation From My Vacation.’

A few years ago, I was in Paris, and one of my favorite things to do is pick a bench, and people watch. I love to look at fashion and eavesdrop on conversations. Yep, that’s me, the Inquisitive Traveler. I’m fascinated by people’s behavior, and I love to guess their personality types.

Americans Are About the Hustle

For three days, I went to Cafe Lateral, 4 avenue Mac Mahon, 75017 Paris, France, and had lunch. The first few days, I lingered, and noticed how different Americans treat lunch vs. the French. Americans hustle in, sit down, and promptly pick up a menu. They may order a drink and quickly follow up with a food order. Phone scrolling ensures, along with some chit-chatting and comments over the lovely food, and they may even order a dessert and a coffee. They finish off and get ready for another adventure. It’s not a judgment, just an observation. But I bet if you asked them what they had for lunch, they might not remember the meal; maybe the place ⏤ but not the meal itself. 🧐And I’m not saying every American behaves in the same manner. That would be absurd and an overreaching generalization.

Lunching the French Way

Then I observed the Parisians. I saw a group of Parisians who appeared to be co-workers. They sat down and lingered over the wine menu, discussing it, then ordering a bottle or two. The lively conversation continued without missing a beat. They enjoyed their wine, with the conversation becoming even more spirited. This animated luncheon lasted three hours as appetizers were followed by the main course, desserts, cappuccinos, and after-lunch cocktails. It was fascinating to watch.

I took French in high school and college, so I picked up a few tidbits of their conversation. What I thought was so beautiful is they would meet up later with their spouses for dinner around 9 PM. It makes sense because they left the cafe close to 3 PM. Who do you think had more fun? Enjoyed their food more? And built a community of friendships?

I witnessed this exact situation for three days in a row. It was fascinating, and I have never noticed a Parisian who had lunch in less than an hour. These observations were back in the early 2000s when slow travel was only a whisper, but I saw the benefits of the magic of slow travel even back then.

It’s another travel ‘ism I embrace ⏤ what is my travel legacy? Nina Zapala, Founder, Spiritual Personality Typing.®

Seeing the Sights

For me, slow travel is about taking it all in and using all of your five senses, from the sights and the food (especially street food when possible) to shopping local. Plus, engaging with locals is an excellent way to embrace the culture and get to know the people, not just what they do for you. WOW – another travel mindshift!

Also, before I leave for a trip, I try and learn a few phrases; thank-you and you’re welcome, directions to, and where’s the bathroom. I believe I’ve been treated kindly by others because I took the time to learn basic phrases. When you’re respectful and realize what an honor it is to be in another’s hometown community, your high-vibing energy is naturally met with the same. I know that learning the language (small expressions) is out of respect for another nation, its culture, and its communities.

Do I leave behind a kind word or trash? A smile or a scowl? Am I open to a new way of thinking, or do I believe my way is the only way? Is there a give-back opportunity? Am I shopping local, or do I give into the convenience of a chain; Starbuck, Marriot… These decisions are important to me. I’m conscious of my travel footprint; THANKS, DAD, who taught me to leave a place better than I found it. My relationship to travel is self-directed, helping me fuel my travel legacy. Today, Starbucks is a rare stop only in America, never overseas.

Back to slow travel…

I’m Equally Fascinated by Tourists, Too

Yet, I’m equally fascinated by speaking with holiday-goers, aka “tourists” who are also on vacation. I strike up conversations digging into the WHY?

  • Why Paris?
  • What do you love about it?
  • Where are you staying?
  • What’s on your schedule?
  • How long will you be in town?

People I’ve traveled with get annoyed as I ask a ton of questions. But honestly, if you let people talk about themselves, they don’t seem to mind. I love learning about people worldwide; their conversations help me increase my self-awareness—a prime example of my extrovert function, extroverted intuition in action. But I believe introverts can also enjoy observing others from a reflective standpoint and gain just as much as extroverts.

A question I will leave you with: If you could experience the magic of slow travel; travel that brings joy, and fulfillment, and may transform your very essence granting you radical self-acceptance, would you? Nina Zapala, Founder, Spiritual Personality Typing.®

The Magic of Slow Travel

alt="Savoring a magical slow travel moment enjoying macarons at the infamous Lauduree, Paris photo os macarons."
Savoring a magical slow travel moment enjoying macarons at the infamous Laduree, Paris

The idea behind the magic of slow travel is based on intention, conscious travel, and creating more bliss-filled moments vs. rushing, stressing, and trying to capture a moment based on the fear of missing out, FOMO. What we as vacationers miss when FOMO is front and center is the anticipation of seeing things, the eagerness to learn and observe, to expand our interest and connect with people like we did as a child ⏤ with total abandon. I prefer to connect to a place, its people, and its communities. I’ve learned that trying to capture the perfect photo, obsessing over social media, or trying to fit it all in, is exhausting and not worth the stress. Do you feel the same?

I’m now all about self-directed travel. It’s travel based on your personality, not the travel industry’s marketing ploys to experience the “Top 10” destinations, which are likely their top advertisers. Or you’re relying on old-school ways of traveling without considering the destination. Here again, the new travel paradigm leaps over social status, which often dictates that you should holiday to the far ends of the earth to take a vacation that matters. That’s Bullshit!

Writing with You in Mind

Please know my dream is to inspire a new travel paradigm – a paradigm that’s central to radical self-acceptance, a healthy planet, and for you to live your truth. I’m on a mission to help you understand your unique personality, and one of the best ways to experience your persona is on vacation when the daily grind is left behind.

A travel guide is informative guidebook that helps you familiarize yourself with a place. Did you now you have an inner travel guide, it’s uber informative characterised by your personality. It’s about exploring aspects of your inner self for joy-filled, happier vacations ⏤ no matter where you travel or who you travel with! Nina Zapala, Founder, Spiritual Personality Typing.®

Tapping into your yummy travel guide is an ongoing journey. Every time you travel, you can focus a little or a lot on revealing aspects of the undiscovered self. Travel can become a time of great soul awakening if you’re a seeker and on a spiritual path. I’ve posted a Thanksgiving article with examples of how your inner travel guide shows up while you’re away; if interested, click here to read.

Join The Movement

Will you join me on this journey? I believe spiritual personality typing is Divinely timed. It’s a relevant new tool to assist those who aspire to ascend during the great awakening we are all experiencing. So let me ask, are you ready to learn more about who you really are to illuminate your TrueSelf for radical self-acceptance?

Then please subscribe to Nina’s Newsletter. You’ll get front-row seats to my upcoming book, my new membership portal, and monthly tips for positive mental health! It’s shenanigans on steroids.

xoxo 🙋🏼‍♀️


Oh HUGE, thank you, Carlo Petrini, for starting a revolution behind the idea of the ‘slow food movement,’ which now augments the slow travel movement.

Photo Credit: Nina Zapala – Murual in Mobile, AL



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