In spring 2022, four DIS Copenhagen students had the opportunity to pioneer the DIS Slow Traveler initiative; intentionally slowing down, meeting locals, and engaging in Danish life. Ennosen (she/her), George Washington University, reflects on the group’s journey to Bornholm and what she gained along the way. Read more, in her own words, below.
“As I stand in this cloudy Oasis, all my thoughts stop and can’t help but be still, breathe slower. My mind ceases to exist, disappearing with the landscapes behind us… I am still… We are still.”
– Hammershus castle ruins
In life I believe that, sometimes, we must slow down. Take in our surroundings, breathe in the air, and deeply immerse ourselves. That is what slow travel means to me: to fully explore and engage in the places we visit. As opposed to filling our journey with many things, only allowing a glimpse of the area or culture.
Originally, one of the things I wanted to do while abroad for the first time was visit as many places as possible, filling up my itinerary to the brim so that I could have a “meaningful experience.” Upon joining the Slow Travel team, I decided to view traveling differently. I wanted to redefine a meaningful travel experience through slow traveling. I believed by allowing myself to genuinely explore a couple of places instead of rapidly moving among different locations, I would be able to engage in Denmark with the intentionality that would allow for a personal connection.
Since making such revelations, I have been consciously soaking in my surroundings. This can take different forms, such as slowing down walks to destinations or taking a more fluid approach to an itinerary. Doing this, I have observed that I can wander and explore places with no pressure; enjoying where I am without stressing about where I will go next.
I’ve noticed that my life felt slower in Denmark compared to the U.S. — more peaceful instead of the need to go, go, go.
I’ve noticed that my life felt slower in Denmark compared to the U.S. — more peaceful instead of the need to go, go, go. The reason for this is that slow travel is a lifestyle I have unconsciously adopted, by allowing and respecting the time of things, and enjoying the journey instead of speeding through to get to the “destination.” This can be applied through travel, food production, transportation, and many other aspects of your life.
By traveling more slowly I was able to enjoy time in the present and the journey, instead of feeling the stress of the next destination. I was also able to contribute to helping the environment and creating a more conscious connection to the world and my surroundings. At the end of my time in Denmark, instead of having checked off a list of places that would have only been short memories destined to fade, I have an abundance of memories and feelings from places I’ve spent quality time in.
Learn more about Slow Travel at DIS