Slow mindset

In the midst of travel and adventure, there's friction between wanting to go fast and slowing down to take in the moment.

A shift in focus, from time to honesty and authenticity

I find managing these two mindsets a difficult thing to learn. However, slow adventure has helped both sides find a common ground, by lowering the priority that time and pace has on travel, substituting it for authenticity and awareness. Deep in adventure, pauses adjust the senses when something inside says stop. The mind questions what we’re doing, why we’re stopping. It worries how we appear to others. Dismissing the frantic mind, we start playing catch up on the feeling that told us to pause. For me, this is when things get interesting. 

Strong connections and lasting memories

Often the feeling to stop is signalled by something lingering at the edge of our sensing. Deer reflect it beautifully; keenly startled when their senses tingle. I believe when we pause to listen, our senses tune and our subconscious thanks us later. We begin to unravel a thread that leads to powerful realisations and emotions. It’s these moments I seek in nature through slow adventure. They bring the highest quality of the present and form the strongest memories and connections.

Paused by the beauty of nature

Even now, when I see autumn leaves, I’m reminded of canoeing with Bart on the Klarälven river. Years have passed since that journey and yet more detail is unravelled with each reflection. It’s deeply seated; I’m put straight back in the canoe when I reflect on it today.

We were canoeing downstream, our trying to cover distance told us to keep up the pace. Then the dark water carrying a whole autumn of golden leaves caught my attention. My subconscious spoke. The leaves no longer lingered at the edge of my vision.

Canoeing in Sweden

Vivid memories

I realised I had never seen gold against such black before. I felt the need to remember this moment, and to let it be fully heard. So I tease out meaning using a childlike, playful mindset. A state that in adulthood I too often neglect. It is this state that gives the senses a better quality of the present. It plants the seeds needed to harvest memories, it fills a pool to forage reflections from in the future. It allows us to contemplate, to develop our stories, and to transport us back to these moments years after they occurred.

Autumn leaves in the river

Like a time machine for the heart

I try to wrap myself up in the moment, in how it feels. The golden, wooden inside of the canoe is a reflection of autumn. Mother river carries us in a caress, as another leaf in rapture. She carries autumn away in her lullaby. A beautiful feeling of belonging unfolds and lingers. The blade of the paddle teases out a dark drip, plays with its magnetic draw to be reunited, then sheds it like a tear.

I feel the value of togetherness that these intimate adventures lend, and the warmth of endless patience from a friend who understands I’m connecting with something. Thanks, slow mindset. These moments are captured connections, like time machines for the heart.

Take a moment to reflect back to a connection you've had.