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Now is the Time to Relax

May 28, 2008

Now is the Time to Relax

    There has never been a better time to join the slow travel movement as today. With the rising cost of gasoline prices, most people are opting to stay close to home. In a reaction to the accelerated pace of daily life a movement formed called the general slowness movement. According to Chris Welsch of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, " …slowness took off as a concept in 1989 in Italy with the advent of the slow-food movement.  What started as a local revolt against fast food has evolved into a philosophy with followers worldwide. The idea that fast isn’t best has now crept into other arenas: Slow Design and slow cities have their own movements. Slow travel refers to traveling at a pace that allows the traveler to fully appreciate the place he or she has traveled to, says Geir Berthelsen, a Norwegian activist who started the World Institute of Slowness in 1999. The idea is to relax more and not return after a vacation feeling like we need another.”

    Perhaps we should take this concept one step further, and rather than considering the process of slow travel, why not no travel. Stay at home this summer and enjoy life in your own backyard. Create an outdoor living space that will provide you enjoyment, relaxation and many hours of fun. Start your day enjoying a hot cup of coffee and reading the news in the paper or on your laptop while sitting in the luxury of your own backyard. Next take a nice long walk or bicycle ride with your partner, child or simply by yourself. Take the time to feel more a part of the landscape, instead of rushing around, notice the scenery, the trees, flowers, birds and beautiful architecture that surrounds you. Discover the little things that go unnoticed in our accelerated culture.

    After you return home from your adventure, take a book or magazine that you have been wanting to read for a very long time, but never found the right time, and sit in your comfortable outdoor furniture relaxing against outdoor pillows that add comfort and style to your setting and spend a couple of hours reading to your hearts contentment.

    “The slowness movement is all about quality over quantity” says Chris Welsch. Time moves too fast, one moment we are young and carefree and the next we are deeply entrenched with responsibilities and expectations. Let’s take this time in our life to make a change. Don’t spend the exorbitant price of gas to take a trip, instead stay at home.

    You can use some of the money that you would have spent on travel to create the outdoor living space that will provide you with hours of pleasure. Buy deep seating furniture to sit back and relax on. Build a structure to enclose or separate a particular space. Add accents in the way of outdoor pillows, drapes and throw blankets. Perhaps install an outdoor television for your viewing pleasure. Add outdoor speakers for you to play your favorite music. Blur the space that separates the indoors from the outside by creating an outdoor living room.

    End your day with candlelight or flames from a firepit, while enjoying the company of loved ones and friends in the best place on earth, your outdoor living room under the stars. Simplify your life, downshift your plans, stop and smell the roses and relax. Don’t let the cost of gas get you down, fight back in a positive manner by reducing your consumption… stay at home!

     These are my outside views…write and tell me yours. Marcia Blake