Travel should be an act of discovery, not a checklist to complete. Slow travel is an invitation to explore things at a pace that allows you to absorb your surroundings as you move through them—on terms that are meaningful for both you and the people and places you encounter. It may seem counterintuitive that by doing less, you will see more, but that’s exactly the idea we propose in our book, Kinfolk Travel (Artisan). Following are a sampling of the destinations from the book, meant to inspire thoughtful travel and spark deeper ways of thinking about new journeys and destinations.
Ferry to Orcas Island
San Juan Islands, Washington
Riding the 90-minute ferry to Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest may feel like a journey to the end of the earth, but the intricate waterways carved by glaciers and orca sightings make for the most memorable experience. Once on the island, awaken your senses by summiting Mount Constitution or leisurely hiking to Cascade Falls, reminding you to savor the quiet beauty of life.
In Ketchum, once home to Ernest Hemingway, you are minutes away from the sprawling expanse of the Sawtooth and Salmon-Challis National Forests, an off-road, undeveloped cycling paradise. With hundreds of local trails covering around 200 miles, a bike will take you through thick forests, up and down mountain passes and over open plains.
Soundtrack of the City
Below the glittering skyline of Santiago’s financial quarter lies a thriving underground scene where wider demographic shifts amplify the soundtrack of a city in transition. With a lively nightclub scene and pop-up electro events like Recreo Festivals, the anthems of the politicized Nueva canción generation ring through the streets. Here, music and protest have intertwined into a rhythm of a city adjusting to a new era.
Every day, a symphony of sounds rings throughout Dakar’s streets, but perhaps the real call to arms is the clang-clang of the city’s mobile tailors, chopping the air with large metal scissors. Senegalese designer Sarah Diouf’s label “Tongoro” draws inspiration from life in the city, incorporating a mixture of traditional mudcloth prints and contemporary fabrics to illuminate the city’s scene of vibrancy, color and joy.
Cable Car Safari
Uri, Nidwalden, Obwalden, and Schwyz, Switzerland
Living in Switzerland requires vertical thinking. So too does traveling here. The cable cars—called luftseilbahn—are as characterful as the remote alpine communities they serve. Slow-travel trekking services specialize in hiking excursions and traditional guesthouse stays. Sail up into the sky on one of over 2000 rope trains to discover the heady pleasures—lush meadows, panoramic views and delicious cheeses—of higher pastures.
After decades of repressive rule, Albanian chefs and winemakers are forging a path onto Europe’s holiday map, using the country’s homegrown bounty to lead the charge. On the outskirts of the country’s capital sits Uka Farm—a laboratory of sorts, with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Here, farmers work in harmony with nature to honor traditional dishes while exploring inventive flavor combinations.
Lebanon’s viticultural tradition is true vintage. A long-drawn-out Mediterranean lunch among the sun-dappled terraces of a rural vineyard, like Maher Harb’s Sept Winery, provides an ideal pairing for a local bottle—and a way to drink in 7000 years of history. Harb will take you across terraced fields and into dappled sunshine beneath the vines, and cook fresh, seasonal food to eat as you overlook the vista.
There is a sense of discovery in navigating Mumbai’s lanes and byways, and suddenly coming upon a gallery. The Mumbai Gallery Weekend in January is a perfect time to see the art district in full swing, when galleries put on their biggest exhibitions of the year.
In the decade since opening, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona)—Tasmania’s mothership cultural institution—has welcomed over a million visitors. Once you step into the building, like Alice in Wonderland, you fall through tunnels and secret rooms carved into the cliffside. Mona exemplifies Tasmania’s cultural heart—one that forever beats strong, crosses generations and connects Tasmanians in a way that’s largely unseen at surface level.
Rotorua, New Zealand
The hot springs of New Zealand present a paradox: to relax in their mystic allure, one must work hard, trekking into often-uncharted territory. Those who do are rewarded with an unadulterated sense of peace. In Rotorua, otherworldly steam rises from the surface of Lake Tarawera, whose waters’ rich mineral content is anti-inflammatory and soothing for the skin.
Excerpted from Kinfolk Travel by John Burns (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.