The Art of Slow Travel: How to Become a Slomad

I’m definitely a bit of a nomad.

I call the UK home because that’s where I’m from. I call Australia home because that’s where my husband is from and we’ve spent a lot of time there over the years. I call Phuket, Thailand home because that’s where we’ve raised her daughter and have spent the bulk of our time over the last 10 years.

Our little family, my daughter turning 17
Our little family, my daughter turning 17

No real fixed abode, no definitive place we call home, and itching to get the backpacks on and head off into the great unknown.

However, if you say the word digital nomad, it conjures up visions of 25-year-old bikini clad beauties running through waterfalls in thongs, or muscle bound gen Z’s diving off cliffs with a go pro strapped to their head.

As a 51-year-old mum of an almost grown-up daughter nobody wants to see me running through a waterfall in a thong I can guarantee you!

So what’s this got to do with becoming a slomad?

Well picture this.

Rather than frantically hopping from one country to another, ticking off places as fast as you can on your bucket list, instead, you explore the places you visit, soaking in each destination, living like a local, and embracing a slower pace.

Me in Sydney
Me in Sydney

As a more mature nomad, that certainly suits my pace of life, and is more considerate to the environment, tourism and a host of other benefits we’ll explore in this article.

Let’s dive in;

What is a Slomad?

A ‘Slomad’ or ‘Slow Nomad’ is someone who chooses to travel the world at a more leisurely pace. A slomad immerses themself in each destination, not just as a visitor but as a part of the community.

The chances are you might stay 3 months, 6 months, even a year or more in one place before moving on to the next.

This lifestyle is for those who seek more than just a change of scenery; it’s for those who desire a deeper understanding and connection with the places they visit.

My daughter connecting with the local kids in The Surin Islands, Thailand
My daughter connecting with the local kids in The Surin Islands, Thailand

Digital Slomad vs Digital Nomad

Digital nomads move fast. Typically they might stay a night, a week or a month in one place before moving on. A digital slomad however, will likely stay longer and become more ensconced in the community before thinking about where to go next.

I work a lot at Starbucks in my local shopping mall, and met a lovely young Russian couple who have been living in Thailand for the last few months. They’re just off to Korea for 3 months, will likely come back to Thailand for another 6 months and then head to Europe.

The lady said to me ‘we like to travel a little slower, so we can create a bit of routine with our work (she’s a corporate lawyer taking a break, he’s an online startup co-founder) and truly discover a country/city’.

Slow travel is most definitely an upward trend that’s become more common since Covid. It’s easier now than ever to work remotely, whether running your own concern or working for someone else and it comes with a host of benefits.

The Benefits of Slomad Lifestyle

Expense Management and Cost Effectiveness

One of the most compelling advantages of the slomad lifestyle is how it can positively impact your wallet.

Staying longer in one place often leads to cost savings, as you can negotiate better rates for accommodation, and you’re not constantly spending on travel fares.

Plus, you get to discover local markets and eateries, which are often more budget-friendly than tourist hotspots.

Family-Friendliness and Inclusivity

Slomad living isn’t just for solo adventurers. It’s incredibly family-friendly. Longer stays mean you can establish a routine, crucial for families with kids.

It allows for stability in schooling – whether it’s online or local – and helps everyone settle and feel at home.

We’ve pretty much raised our daughter in Thailand, but she’s also lived, and schooled, in Cyprus, Australia and the UK.

My daughter dressed up for Loy Krathong a Thai festival
My daughter dressed up for Loy Krathong a Thai festival

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

By traveling slowly, you’re making a more environmentally sustainable choice. Less frequent flights mean a smaller carbon footprint.

Additionally, by investing time and money into local communities rather than tourist traps, you’re supporting sustainable economic growth and contributing to the preservation of local cultures and environments.

Building Connections and Mitigating Loneliness

Staying longer in one place lets you build genuine relationships with locals or other travellers.

I’ve met some incredible people from all over the world on our travels, some of whom have become lifelong friends.

Travelling can be lonely, and slow travel can mitigate that, by giving you the time to build connections as you go.

On holiday in Bora Bora with lifelong  friends we've made in Thailand
On holiday in Bora Bora with lifelong friends we’ve made in Thailand

Deeper Cultural Immersion

The essence of being a slomad lies in the depth of cultural immersion. You’ll get to learn some of the language, understand local customs, and participate in everyday life.

This, in my opinion, is the secret behind tolerance, understanding and a better world. By experiencing and understanding what other cultures believe, how they live, what their world views are based on, broadens your mind irrevocably.

Your travel experiences will forever be enriched and your life more fulfilling and enlightened.

Spending a few days in a local village during the Vegetarian festival in Thailand
Spending a few days in a local village during the Vegetarian festival in Thailand

My Slomad Journey & Plans

13+ years ago, my husband and I sold everything we owned (which wasn’t much) and with our 4 year old under our arms, headed off to Cyprus for four months to house sit for a friend.

Fat Mama's in Paphos Cyprus - 2010
Fat Mama’s in Paphos Cyprus – 2010 – right at the beginning of our journey

Over the last 13 years we’ve visited, explored and lived in some 40+ countries, some in typical nomad style, just for a few days or weeks, many like Australia, Cyprus and Thailand, for months, even years at a time.

Us returning to Fat Mama's Paphos Cyprus - 2017
Us returning to Fat Mama’s Paphos Cyprus – 2017

My daughter is now 17 and finishes school in May 2024, when we’ll once again embrace the travelling lifestyle, and our intention is to do a mix of nomadism and slomadism. We’ll visit, explore and if we like the look of a place, settle for a few months before moving on.

To fund our lifestyle, we’ve built and run several six and seven figure online businesses on the go and that’s what we’ll explore next. How to fund your travels.

Generating an Income While You Travel

There are a multitude of ways to generate an income on the go.

Here are a selection of options:

  • Freelancing: Offer your skills online, whether it’s writing, graphic design, consulting, or programming. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr can be great starting points.
  • Teaching: Teaching languages online, especially English, is a popular choice for many digital nomads. Companies like VIPKid or iTutorGroup connect teachers with students globally.
  • Starting an Online Business: (My favourite option) This could range from e-commerce to digital marketing. The key is to find a niche that you’re passionate about and can manage remotely.
  • Working Across the Globe: Some slomads take on local jobs or temporary positions in their host countries, although this often requires specific visas or work permits.

Over the last 13 years, I’ve made money selling online courses, promoting and selling other people’s courses (affiliate marketing), coaching, email marketing, ecommerce, Amazon FBA, blogging and more.

For more ideas on generating income while travelling, subscribe to The Working Traveller Newsletter to access my free ebook “200+ Ways to Generate an Income While Travelling the World”.

200+ ways to generate an income while travelling the world

Financial Planning and Saving

Creating a budget for your travels is crucial. How much do you actually need to fund the lifestyle of your dreams?

Chances are, it’s much less than you think, particularly when you start to travel to places like South East Asia, South America etc.

However, when getting started, consider budget-friendly options like house sitting, which can significantly reduce accommodation costs.

The beauty of the slomad and nomad lifestyle is that it allows you to travel in off-seasons, which usually results in lower costs and fewer crowds.

Do your due diligence, utilise online resources to create a realistic budget, chat with people living the lifestyle and use this budget sheet to get you started;

Packing for the Slomad Life

Packing as a slomad means balancing the essentials for daily living with the need to stay mobile.

Essentials include adaptable clothing for different climates, (although you can pick up cheap clothes in most destinations) and any small, light, personal items that make anywhere feel like home.

After many years on the road, I’m a light packer and it won’t take long before you realise you don’t need/wear half the things you take.

The bag I backpacked Europe with for 3 weeks
The bag I backpacked Europe with for 3 weeks

When it comes to your belongings back home, consider storage options, selling items you no longer need, or donating to charity shops. This not only declutters your life but also simplifies your return.

Securing Accommodations and Visas

Many countries now offer Digital Nomad visas, acknowledging the growing trend of remote work.

Some great examples include;

  • Portugal: 1 – 4 years
  • Croatia: 6 months – 1 year
  • Romania: 1+ year
  • Mexico: 1 – 3 years
  • Dubai: 1+ year
  • Bali: 6 month+

There are many more countries with a variety of longer stay/digital nomad visas,, plus it’s a growing trend so expect even more over the coming years.

Remember though, each country has its own set of rules and duration of stay, so it’s essential to do thorough research and understand the legal requirements before making your move.

A lovely Thai lady selling corn on the beach
A lovely Thai lady selling corn on the beach

Navigating the Practicalities of Slomad Travel

Managing finances is a critical part of slomad life. Here are some practical tips:

  • Track Your Spending: Use apps like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB) to keep an eye on your expenses.
  • Set a Daily Budget: Determine a daily allowance based on your overall budget and stick to it.
  • Use Local Currency: Avoid exchange rate losses by using local currency and understanding the cost of living in your destination.
  • Cook Your Meals: Save money by cooking at home rather than eating out frequently.
  • Choose Accommodation Wisely: Opt for long-term rentals or consider house sitting to significantly cut down on accommodation costs.
  • Use Public Transport: Embrace local transportation for a cheaper and more authentic experience.
  • Take Advantage of Free Activities: Explore local markets, parks, and free cultural events.
  • Travel Insurance: Invest in good travel insurance to avoid unexpected medical expenses.
  • Seasonal Travel: Travelling in the off-season can lead to lower prices and fewer tourists.
  • Local/E SIM Cards: Use local or e-SIM cards for cheaper internet and communication.

Planning and Organizing Slow Travel

Utilizing the right tools can make planning your slomad journey much smoother.

Consider these apps:

  • Skyscanner: For comparing flight prices and finding the best deals.
  • Rome2Rio: To figure out how to get from point A to B using various modes of transport.
  • Booking.com: Offers a range of accommodations suited for different budgets.
  • GetYourGuide: Great for booking tours and experiences.
  • TrustedHousesitters: Connects you with house sitting opportunities worldwide.

The Slomad Lifestyle in Depth

Building a Sustainable Daily Routine

As a slomad, creating a routine that balances work, exploration, and personal time is key.

Here are some tips:

  • Set Work Hours: Establish a consistent work schedule that aligns with your most productive times.
  • Stay Active: Incorporate regular exercise, whether it’s a morning jog, yoga, or joining local sports activities.
  • Mindful Downtime: Allocate time for relaxation and self-care. This could be reading, meditating, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of coffee.
  • Continuous Learning: Dedicate time to learn something new related to your current location, be it a language, cooking, or a craft.
  • Look for ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Experiences: Don’t just hit the tourist spots. With slow travel you have the time to seek out the path less travelled and truly experience the world around you.
My Thai friend Jit showing me how to use the local toilets!
My Thai friend Jit showing me how to use the local toilets!

Mindful and Responsible Travel Practices

Travelling responsibly is a cornerstone of the slomad philosophy.

  • Respect the Environment: Practise eco-friendly habits, like reducing waste and conserving resources.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of local customs and etiquette.
  • Sustainable Tourism: Opt for activities and tours that are ethical and support conservation efforts.
  • Be aware: Unless we’re going to travel everywhere by rowboat and eat roadkill off a banana leaf, we have to balance practicality with being as eco-friendly as we can. Be aware of your surroundings and do what you can to contribute to a better planet.
Fresh fruit is abundant in most tropical countries!
Fresh fruit is abundant in most tropical countries!

The Art of Slow Travel – Summary

As someone who’s walked and is walking this path, I can say it’s one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Not only do I get to truly explore and immerse myself in places and cultures, I’ve made lifelong friendships, I’ve grown as a person, and feel as though I’ve become a part of a global community.

The slomad lifestyle is more than a travel choice; it’s a transformative experience.

It offers the freedom to explore the world, the opportunity to connect deeply with diverse cultures, and a sustainable way to live and work.

If you’re yearning for more than just a change of scenery, if you crave deeper connections and meaningful experiences, then the slomad lifestyle might just be what you’re looking for.

If you’re ready, take your first step. The world is waiting for you.

The Art of Slow Travel; FAQ’s

What is the meaning of slow travel?

Slow travel is about embracing the journey at a leisurely pace, allowing for deeper connections with the places you visit. It’s not just about ticking destinations off a list; it’s about immersing yourself in local cultures, understanding the rhythms of daily life, and forming meaningful relationships with people and places.

Why is slow travel better?

Slow travel offers a more authentic and enriching experience. It allows you to explore destinations beyond the surface level, reduces travel stress, and often leads to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of travelling. It’s about quality over quantity, creating lasting memories rather than fleeting moments.

How do you slow travel?

Slow travel involves staying in one place for an extended period, exploring it in depth rather than rushing through. It means taking the time to engage with local communities, enjoy the local cuisine, learn the language, and participate in local customs and traditions. It’s a mindset of curiosity and immersion.

What are the principles of slow travel?

The principles of slow travel include taking your time, being present and mindful, prioritising connections with local cultures and environments, minimising your environmental impact, and valuing experiences over checklists. It’s about travelling in a way that is respectful, intentional, and enriching.

Is slow travel sustainable?

Yes, slow travel is generally more sustainable than traditional forms of tourism. By spending more time in one place and engaging with local economies, slow travellers often have a smaller carbon footprint. This approach supports local communities and promotes responsible tourism practices that benefit both the traveller and the host destination.

Can I earn while I slow travel?

Yes, it’s possible to earn while embracing the slow travel lifestyle. Here are some ways to make money while slow travelling:

  • Freelance Work: Offer your professional skills remotely as a freelancer.
  • Remote Employment: Work for a company that allows full-time remote work.
  • Teaching Online: Teach a subject or language online.
  • Content Creation: Monetize a blog, vlog, or social media channel about your travels.
  • Consulting Services: Provide consulting based on your expertise.
  • Virtual Assistance: Offer administrative or creative assistance to businesses remotely.
  • Selling Digital Products: Create and sell digital products like e-books, courses, or photography.

By leveraging your skills and the power of the internet, you can sustain your travels while contributing value to your clients or audience.

Subscribe to The Working Traveller Newsletter to access my free ebook “200+ Ways to Generate an Income While Travelling the World“.

About the author

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