We spent a month in Fukuoka, Japan and wanted to base ourselves in Chiangmai, Thailand as our next stop. To get from Fukuoka to Chiangmai we needed to make 2 stops – one in Okinawa and one in Bangkok. We thought we’d try out spending shorter times in places to see how it worked for us. We did 4 days in Okinawa and 7 days in Bangkok.
It’s not something we have done so far in our travels – most of our stays have been between 1 -4 months. However, we know other travelling families who travel much faster than us and seem to be having a blast so we thought we’d try it out.
Here are the reasons why we travel slowly:
We have too much stuff
One of our problems is that we travel with some serious luggage! We have a suitcase each – around 23kgs as well as a huge carry on each. So when we move into a new place we have a lot of stuff and so packing up again is a bit of a mission.
We tried to be sensible and packed everything we thought we’d need into 1 of our suitcases to save us having to completely unpack in our shorter stays in Okinawa and Bangkok. Inevitably, however, we found we’d forgotten something we needed in one of our other suitcases and would end up unpacking and repacking numerous times.
Missing out on living like a local
We also found it too much of a “touristy” experience only being somewhere for such a short time. Of course, we are tourists everywhere we go – however we are able to take life at a slower, relaxed pace by staying put for a month or two.
There’s no rush to see and do everything. We enjoy finding local restaurants, shops and all the places you need to live somewhere (post offices, launderettes, supermarkets etc). Only having a few days a week in places meant that we weren’t able to really experience local life.
Making healthy food choices is really difficult when you are only staying somewhere for a short time. We usually cook at home for the majority of our meals and try our best to eat relatively healthily.
But for short stays it doesn’t make sense to buy kitchen essentials like oil, salt, pepper, butter…so we ended up eating out A LOT. And often those choices would be pretty bad – grabbing fast food because it is cheap and easy. This wasn’t only not great health-wise but it was also more expensive compared to cooking at home.
You might be surprised to know that we have a routine. For us as a travelling family, routines are still really important. We tend to find that our worldschooling follows a certain pattern – Roobs is more focused and ready to study in the afternoons. Dan also has a work pattern which me and Roobs will try to fit around.
We also still have a bedtime routine for Roobs which is pretty much the same as when we were back home. All these routines give us a sense of order and stability in our ever-changing travels. Yet somehow our routines were all disrupted by not travelling slowly and we felt a little out of sorts.
More travel days
If you asked Roobs what one of the worst things about travelling is she might tell you it’s the dreaded “travel days”. She knows that these are the days when I’m super stressed and ratty, no-one has time to play with her and we are all rushed to get to the airport on time.
I do hate travel days. I am constantly checking that we have passports, tickets, all our bags etc. and I am not the most attentive mum on those days ? So having more “travel days” in our month is just not good for any of us!
Let’s travel slowly
So we are pretty sure that slow travel is the kind that fits us best. That’s not to say that travelling faster is bad for everyone – we know plenty of families who are able to make it work for them. We think we’ve found our sweet spot at around 6-12 weeks. Looking forward to more slow travel in the coming months!