In our increasingly fast moving world, the emphasis is placed on getting places the quickest way. Many times when we travel, airplanes seem like the fastest and most convenient way to get from a to b. When crafting itineraries, Kayak is constantly up on my screen as I search for flights between one small airport to the next. Oftentimes, especially when traveling outside of the first world, the airlines I end up booking don’t even show up on conglomerate searches, leaving me to do some deep poking around to even find out about their existence.
Inevitably, there are the times when flights from one destination to the next just don’t seem to work out; either they don’t exist, are too expensive to justify, the timing is off or frankly, I’m concerned over air safety records. At this point, my first feeling is often frustration. Why can’t I just book a flight? The answer should be simple, and in reality it is: there is a simpler way to get there.
I’ve taken ferries and trains, slept on busses and hired private cars. From two hour cab rides across Peru to a few hours charting the Mediterranean to get from Santorini to Mykonos, the one thing I always find is the surprisingly pleasant feeling of my alternate mode of transport.
Flying is great when you need to travel long haul in a short period of time. However, when in flight you ultimately lose precious time on the ground. The sights one sees when traveling by water, road or rail are often some of the best views a destination has to offer. Travelers can actually explore as they travel when they are not confined to a flying box in the sky. Whether stopping at a rest stop or a market for a bite, not flying forces a visitor to engage.
Often these days spent on the road are some of my favorites. In Laos, the scenery we passed is already enough of a reason for me to want to return. The formidable mountains, bright blue skies, friendly locals and fascinating drivers we encountered along the way made all the difference in our Laotian experience; ie: we actually experienced it.
Below, some of my pictures from the Lao road…
Sometimes, I think, it’s better to take the slow road. To relax a little and take in the surroundings you’ve often already flown so far to encounter.