The real slow living

Where can we experience it?

The concept of slow living has become quite popular lately. There’s an inspiring book on the subject: In praise of slow, by Carl Honoré. Though pushed aside from contemporary society, there was a time when it was part of Italian culture.

Indeed, our holiday in Basilicata (Southern Italy) reminded us of the values connected to slowness. Moving at a slower pace. Connected to nature and in sync with its timing. Savouring a quiet environment. Having mindful behaviour towards life, nature and things we need.
We enjoyed it and found it beneficial for the mind and the soul.

Slow lifestyle in Basilicata

Do you really want to understand slow living? Then, go to Basilicata, and you will find out how it is integrated into their daily lives. People do not hurry. Running errands is not hectic. For instance, they wait for their turn at the baker. Even if there is a queue, nobody complains. No honking if someone stops the car in the middle of the road to ask for information. And if anyone honks, it is just to say hello! Because there, they salute everyone. Also, they sit ‘al fresco’ to enjoy some fresh air late afternoon or evening.

With production plants based in northern areas, people had to move to those places to find a job, leaving the south to abandonment. And it’s been easy in big towns to get sucked by what was supposed to be the right thing to do, becoming cogs of a relentless money-driven society that wants us to be productive day and night.

Slow: the South way

However, a comment made us reflect. During our holiday we met a woman coming from Northern Britain. We asked why she had chosen Marina di Pisticci for her holiday and if she had relatives there or what. But she said: “I was looking for a place that had no influence from the northern side. So we came here, to find the real Italy. It’s a quiet place and we fell in love with it.”

So, the more you go south, the more you can experience slow living. No influence from the north is the case for Basilicata. Indeed, the region tends to be disconnected from the rest of Italy. Viability from town to town is not well developed. A sense of isolation prevails, which makes it fascinating.

Slow living & big towns

Indeed, this woman gave a good insight. Northern areas are not the place for a slow lifestyle. Whatever your vision is, Milano, Paris, or London aren’t the place for slowness. So, for people like us living in big towns, it’s about reconsidering our values, priorities and lifestyle.

To make changes in your life, start getting rid of the sense of urgency typical of big towns. Remind yourself there is nothing to chase after. Take deep breaths, appreciate slowness and savour every moment.

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Summer break

Basilicata: far away from mass tourism

Among the many unforeseen events that life tends to offer in large amounts, it was finally time for summer break. And so we started looking for something that could work for our family holiday: a beautiful sea, nature, accessibility and, as much as possible, not a crowded place.

We wanted to go to Basilicata, Southern Italy (our family comes from there). So, we started evaluating hotels and accommodations along the route and in that area.

The biggest lie: sustainable tourism

After some research, we realised that almost every hotel, residence or resort is sustainable or “cares very much” about the environment. As well as in the fashion field, sustainable marketing is here to make people believe in the biggest lie of our times: sustainability. The contemporary lifestyle isn’t sustainable at all. In fact, no one renounces flights, disposable products or mass consumption. So no green marketing will make it better unless we change how we live.

We can’t say sustainable tourism came as a surprise, but we said, ok, let’s see what they mean precisely with these fabulous green magic words. What do these hotels offer? For instance, we saw imposing luxury buildings that suffocate the environment to the point of modifying and devastating coastal areas. Or hotels proudly promote 1.200 to 6.000 square feet of swimming pools.

So we wondered, can people believe that such waste of water has something to do with sustainability? If so, we deserve extinction.

Summer break - Basilicata
Summer break – Basilicata

Summer break: out of the beaten paths

Since there’s no such thing as sustainable tourism because humans aren’t sustainable, not even at home, we searched for a low-impact solution. It seemed more achievable.

Therefore we opted for something totally different for our summer break. No big hotels, no flights, far away from mass tourism. Indeed, we found a house in the countryside, near Marina di Pisticci. It’s immersed in nature, peaceful and quiet, essential but spacious, 20 minutes away from the sea. A thick pine forest creates a green frame, a necessary passage to reach the beach. Though the Basilicata region has grown from a touristic viewpoint, it is still wild and not too crowded.

Back to our roots, back to basics. There is nothing to chase after. The whole place and its slow lifestyle remind us that true luxury is the nature that surrounds us.

In the end, isn’t it real sustainability?

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The modern migration

Modern migration from big cities to small villages is the key to sustainability and happiness.

Transformed by the pandemic wake-up call, we decided to spend our August holidays back at our roots. A tiny small village in the Basilicata region – South Italy – immersed in nature and silence. Cows’ mooing, dogs barking, or the wind was the only sound.

Travelling in the middle of the night along the woods, we met a family of porcupines who was crossing the road, spines standing on end. Such a marvel! We promptly stopped the car to enjoy the unique show that nature offered us. We let them cross, caught in the headlights.
A scene impressed in our memory.

How different life is in small countryside villages! Healthier, for sure. You reclaim the value of time, space. You don’t feel trapped like in a city apartment. However big it is, it’s cement anyway. And you realise that in exchange for fewer services, perhaps you enjoy real life.

Reading the news, it seems that the migration from big cities to the countryside has already started, as a tangible effect of the pandemic. Indeed, the idea of a slow and sustainable lifestyle flows so naturally into this context, followed by a different way of dressing – which we will explore deeper – and decorating our places.
Surely, a way of living our life in tune with nature.

It has proven that economic growth and environmental impact are directly connected. What we used to call climate change is now a climate emergency. Therefore, in order to reduce our impact on nature, we have no other choice than to change our lifestyle.

To this end, modern migration to the countryside is an opportunity. Our needs have changed, big cities aren’t the answer anymore. We need more nature.

Therefore, we are envisioning a future where people repopulate small villages, giving them a new life. Intensive mass growing leaves space for smaller communities, all interconnected so as to support each other.

Finally, we can use progress and the web not to prevail or exploit but to genuinely and deeply connect.

With this in mind, we can be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

That’s the lifestyle for modern humans.

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