The other day Dave and I ran around the Spanish coastal town of Tossa de Mar in Costa Brava. We were in a tizzy thinking that we had to get as many photos and videos as quickly as possible. Geoff and Katie Matthews of Wandertooth were coming to stay with us the next day and we knew the following week would be filled with shooting video for a travel video project we were working on together. For some reason, we had it in our heads that this was our one and only day to take photos of the medieval city.
…Then we took a breath.
“Wait a minute!” we said, “we're staying in Spain for an extended period of time, and unlike our more recent travels, we actually have time to sit down, relax and breathe.” If we don't see everything in one day, we can come back. We've gotten so used to running around from place to place with limited amounts of time, we've forgotten how to enjoy our travels. We are working to rediscover that love for travel as we slow travel through Spain. The past few years have been all about documenting all there is to see and do in a place. And I don't think we're alone.
Slow Travel in Spain
To us, plugged in travel isn't as fun as the “old days” of hopping on a plane and losing yourself in a destination. In a world of selfies and Instagram, everyone spends more time running around taking photos of themselves in destinations to post online rather than stopping to take in the beauty and culture of a place. I rarely see tourists just sitting and being present in the moment.
We used to be able to spend hours just watching leaf cutter ants blaze a trail through a rainforest or enjoy spying on a group of monkeys playing in trees. We used to take a day to hike up a hill for no other reason than to watch the sun go down over the ocean. Many times, not one photograph would be snapped.
These days, many people never really enjoying the moment. As long as it looks good in a photograph, they don't really need to do the act of traveling. It's like that commercial where a group of friends set up a photograph of themselves camping in the woods. Once they got the photograph, they packed up all their gear and drove back to town. They were like, there's no way I'm really going to camp, but I sure want it to look like I did. It's not about doing anything, it's about looking like you are doing something. I think many people are guilty of that.
We on the other hand guilty of doing too many things. We always feel that we have to share some spectacular adventure or incredible view with our readers and followers. While we actually do the activities we photograph and share, we don't really take the time to enjoy the moment. We're too busy taking videos and photos of every single event.
It's our job after all, and if we were to completely stop, we'd lose our livelihood.
But that doesn't mean we can't slow down. During our day in Tossa de Mar, as we both became more irritated walking up the hill to view the old city, we paused for a moment. We hugged each other and said “I'm not having fun are you?”
We stopped everything and realized that this isn't the way we want to travel anymore. Sure, a snapshot from the top of the castle would make for an amazing Instagram or some video of the back alleyways would get us a few more subscribers, but if we spend our day bickering over having to get the right shot in the right light at the right time of day, how truthful is that to our readers? We say, “Go to Tossa de Mar because you'll get great photographs” but in reality we didn't have an ounce of fun there ourselves.
…Until we took that breath.
Once we relaxed, we abandoned our goal of climbing to the top of the hill and walked back down hand-in-hand with our mood uplifted. We didn't snap a single photograph and instead ducked into a cafe, ordered a cappuccino and fruit smoothy and watched the world go by. We spied on fishermen getting ready to go out to sea, we watched people walk by our sidewalk café and we talked about what we wanted to do in the coming days and weeks.
We were inspired again and we didn't move for at least an hour. Time ticked by and the sun rose in the sky, but we didn't care. We were discovering what we loved about travel again. It's the little moments of being with each other that's important. We felt the warmth of the sun on our faces, we savored the delicious Spanish coffee and we stopped to really take in the extraordinary view before our eyes. We were sitting on a terrace in Costa Brava. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and here we are. We never in a million years would have thought we would end up here.
For accommodations around Costa Brava, visit Charming Villas. They have apartments, villas and rooms all along the coast.