"Slow nature"—a great way to experience the outdoors

Airstreaming is slow travel. That's the point—by traveling by road you experience everything more deeply. Traveling slowly gives you the opportunity to use your senses to get a rich and satisfying cultural exploration of the world you used to fly over. 

You've probably also heard of "slow food", which emphasizes locally-produced foods and gastronomic traditions. Paired with an Airstream, you've got the ideal situation to enjoy farmer's markets and artisan foods of all types (cheese, wine, heirloom vegetables, etc).

When our friend Ben Lizdas paid us a visit recently, we discovered a third dimension to the "slow" experience. Something he calls: Slow nature. 

Slow nature means taking the time to examine the subtle and perhaps under-appreciated world of birds, animals and flowers that is often right next to you. There's a vast amount to be seen just from your campsite, and all you need is a little time and willingness to be aware.

The exercise goes like this: You step outside your Airstream or perhaps go on a short walk. Take your binoculars or camera with a long lens. Find a spot where you're comfortable and stop. Look through your binoculars. Take your time.

Gradually you'll realize there's a quiet natural drama occurring nearly everywhere you go. Birds are nesting, bees are gathering, flowers are showing their best displays, and butterflies can be seen resting their beautiful wings during their trip to Central America. The natural world is filled with beautiful and busy creatures going about their days, and you're standing right in the middle of it.

As you let go of the desire to get to the "the next thing" and let yourself be in the moment, you begin to notice things. The more you look, the more you recognize what you've missed before. And you'll also find that you've become more relaxed.

We've found that indulging ourselves in observing nature slowly has enhanced our Airstreaming trips. In the morning we're not in a hurry to go somewhere away from the campground, if the campground has a natural setting. Instead, we take our time, grab a cup of coffee, and sit outside in our Zip Dee chairs with our binoculars, just observing. We share our best finds and thoughts, and it always turns into a beautiful, memorable day.

During our visit with Ben last weekend, we talked to him about his slow nature concept, how to take simple steps toward enjoying it and how to enjoy slow nature with a good set of optics. It turned out to be an interesting and fun discussion, which you can watch below:

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