Wow! Tahoe is absolutely incredible. Almost otherworldly.
When they say the best things in life are free, that includes the natural world. My wife and I have definitely been nature-excursion-deprived from growing up in the Midwest and are suffering from “nature deficit disorder.”
Great news, though: we’re moving to Northern California! We’re excited for the future road trips and close proximity to so many natural gems. Tahoe will certainly be a repeat trip.
What is Slow Travel?
- Slow travel is about balancing and pacing your itinerary so you eliminate stress and rushing.
- Slow travel is intentional and immersive so you can fully appreciate the local way of life.
- Slow travel is conscious and connected — connected with yourself, those around you, and the world.
Slow Travel Tips Recap
In my previous post, I outlined 10 slow travel tips for your next adventure. These included:
- Go into it with the mindset of living like you’re at home, or even better, living like a local
- Do all your homework ahead of time
- Know yourself and your top priority each day
- Balance your itinerary and leave open time to create space, margin, and spontaneity
- Do less to experience more
- Connect with the world around you
- Save money or spend locally
- Eat local, healthy food
- Do everything at the right pace
- Find joy in the journey
So, how did we do?
A Weekend of Slow Travel in Tahoe
Overall, I think we did pretty well!
1) Mindset: We like good home habits to travel with us. That means we avoid things like chain restaurants, boutique hotels, (most) unhealthy food, etc. South Lake Tahoe made my heart hurt a little; I didn’t expect the high-rise hotels and casinos. It was like the most artificial stuff of humanity was dropped into the most natural setting. Having the right mindset is important because it affects both the planning and execution of your travel.
2) Homework: For the first time in a long time, we legitimately did all of our travel research before the trip. This saves time and frustration when you are actually on your trip. My research process is fairly straightforward. I use Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp to get started. This gives me a lay of the land, and I can filter down our options from there.
3) Priority: As I mentioned in the last post, none of us can see every square foot of the Earth, and we can’t see and do every single thing when we travel. So, we should be intentional with what we decide to do. We know that we like to be active and do natural sightseeing. For our two days at Lake Tahoe, the priority of day 1 was to hike the Eagle Falls Trail. The priority for day 2 was to mountain bike the Flume Trail (more on that below). I did all my research on these activities ahead of time.
4) Balance: I mentioned time blocking in the previous post, and I used (loose) time blocking on this trip. We had a scheduled time for mountain biking, but hiking Eagle Falls just needed to happen before sunset. So, we created our schedule accordingly and left plenty of space and margin to adjust. This was critical because we actually got started two hours later than expected on the first day. No problem. We adjusted the schedule while still doing our highest priority things.
5) Less is More: Because we focused on one priority each day, we were able to deeply immerse ourselves in them. The hike was only 2.5 miles, but we did it in 2 hours. We stopped a bunch of times to savor the views and take some photos. And, we stopped for quite awhile once we arrived at Eagle Falls Lake. After a few minutes, we were the only people there. It was our own little slice of heaven on Earth while we were there. Our mountain biking trip was 14 miles, but we did it in 5 hours (apparently the average is 3-4 hours); we took our time, stopped a bunch, and went swimming in Marlette Lake.
6) Connect: If you follow these slow travel tips, they will allow you to connect with yourself, the people you are traveling with, the local community, and the natural world. The most connection we had with the local community was probably at Flume Trail Bikes. Once the employees saw that we were coming from Kansas, they said we better take the entire day to bring the bikes back. And we did!
7) Spend Local: First, we always aim to spend as little as possible while still doing what we want to do (see Fire: Financial Independence Retire Early). So, we didn’t spend much money at all outside of food and mountain bike rentals.
8) Eat Local: We used Yelp to find some of the best local food. Highlights included: Mountain High Sandwich Co, Tunnel Creek Cafe, and MacDuff’s Pub. Mountain High Sandwich Co and Tunnel Creek Cafe both had some healthy vegan/vegetarian options that allowed us to stick closer to the Blue Zones diet.
9) Pace: For us, we usually don’t even allow rushing to be an option. The last thing we want is to get back from a trip and need a “vacation from our vacation.”
10) Joy: This closes the loop back to #1 about mindset. Finding joy in the journey is all about perspective.
Lake Tahoe Trip Highlights
Eagle Falls Trail & Lake:
Flume Trail Mountain Biking:
Ever slow traveled or been to Lake Tahoe? Share your experience in the comments!
Also published on Medium.