George Duffy | Flight Centre Independent | Home Based Travel Agent
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George Duffy

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Posted on: Monday May 28, 2018
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Slow Tours and Slow Food: What's the Connection?

Go back to to the mid 1980’s. The world was embracing a chemically heavy “green revolution” mantra. Transnational food corporations, mass food production, factory farms and franchised fast foods were starting to take over. GMO’s were first being experimented with. Organic food was fringe and you were called a “health nut” if you wanted to eat organically.

Meanwhile, a small group of people in Italy presented an alternative idea: food ought to be regional, not standardized; tastes should reflect a food’s origin; food was a huge part of the human experience and food should be slow, not fast. Like life itself. They understood that there were strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture and this laid down the roots for a new movement called Slow Food. Today, Slow Food International has local chapters all over the world and members number in the millions.

The Slow Food movement has grown and the principles have been exported and embraced by many other advocates of slow living. One of the areas is in travel.

I’ve been an avid sampler of foods and travel for many years and when I learned about the slow food concept, it struck a chord with me. Food, culture, travel and people are a divine mix and it reminded me of one night in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

Dinner at Tortuguero

I was at an ecolodge (learn more about ecolodges here) and the food was served family style. It was a set dinner, not by menu, and all the guests sat at a table or two. The food was brought out in platters and there were plenty of things to eat even if you had to avoid any foods for allergies or diet. Guests helped themselves and passed platters around and even though I am not the most gregarious person, conversations started up easily. The beer also helped. It was amazing.

We were all sitting in a dining room open to the gentle evening air that was perched on the edge of a canal where you could hear all the sounds of the forest and watch as fish bats skimmed the water. We soon filled up and lingered over after meal drinks and conversations with new friends. We had all with shared something in common at this enchanted natural location.

The motivation for slow tours came to me after some clients of mine were hiking in Chile on a winery and walking tour I made for them. One of the local guides had started a company there called Slowtravel.cl and I had just been learning about slow food. What a brilliant combination: food, travel, culture, people, slowly. I quickly did some web research and decided to create a website to highlight tours that embodied the idea of the slow movement. The site took a few years to gestate, but the current form seems right. I post articles and stories here as well on on my Flight Centre blogs.


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