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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Quality and attention

The tie is closer than you think

Quality requires attention. Have you ever thought about that?

Quality is the set of all the attributes that identify a product. Or even a person.

Attention comes from Latin, attentio-onis. Which means: turn your soul towards something. In other words, looking at, listening to, thinking about something with deep interest, with care. With your soul.
The depth of this etymological meaning doesn’t seem suitable for the time we live in, not for the crowds who still overconsume. In fact, what’s popular now doesn’t require any attention. And no attention or low level of it means no understanding of quality.
As a matter of fact, this represents the ground where the ‘shop & toss’ culture thrives.

Attention is an intentional choice

You can’t stop at a quick glance because you know that rapid, superficial evaluation is not enough to notice all the details. Forget trying to perceive the quality of something by scrolling social media. Unless you are well trained, of course. Or, you possess an elevated dose of good taste as a natural talent. Which is not that frequent.

Quality and attention are two fundamental values.
One implies the other, and vice versa. Without attention, you cannot understand quality.

It takes time to develop your attention

But it’s worth doing it to appreciate what surrounds us. So train yourself to pause for a few minutes of silence every day. Observe more, listen, allow yourself to focus on details and think.

Marketing is full of smoke and mirrors. Don’t stop at a logo placed on the outer surface to catch your eye and trick you. Or prices that wouldn’t justify a sustainable production chain. Instead, train the eye to go deeper than that. So you will deepen the value of choosing with intention.

If attention is an intentional choice, a slower pace will help you savour more. Not only your purchases but your life.

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