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Meet the UnFluencers: Champions of Slow Travel

Meet The UnFluencers

July 15, 2023 by Alexa Steele

UnTourists have basked in the magic of slow travel since 1975, when Hal and Norma Taussig founded this revolutionary travel company. Our community is going on 50 years of understanding the allure of settling into a cozy chalet, apartment in the midst of city life, or country villa—not a hotel—to spend a week or more living like a local. We know first-hand just how transformative it can be to adopt a relaxed pace, prioritize quality over quantity, and deeply engage with a destination.

Now, the world is catching up. People are buzzing about what we’ve known all along: slow travel is the best travel.

While UnTours is proud to stand as the pioneer of slow travel, we continually embrace the opportunity to expand our community and connect with a wider audience. We invite all UnTourists to join us in welcoming like-minded individuals seeking to forge deeper connections with destinations, cultures, and people.

To help nurture this growing movement, UnTours proudly introduces a new breed of travel ambassador: the UnFluencer.

Screenshot from an UnFluencer webinar

UnFluencers are writers, photographers and videographers who spend their lives unlocking the hidden gems in your favorite destinations. They introduce you to charming local haunts and off-the-beaten-path attractions that reveal the heart and soul of a destination. These are passionate individuals committed to highlighting the benefits of slow travel, and providing you with insider insights, unique recommendations, and practical tips that make your slow journeys truly extraordinary.

But that’s not all. UnFluencers also share our commitment to a better kind of travel that preserves and protects. They show you how to minimize your environmental impact, support local communities, and leave a positive footprint on the places you visit. With their guidance, we’re empowered to embark on experiences that not only enrich your life but also contribute to the well-being of the destinations you adore.

To ensure the highest quality experience, we’ve carefully chosen five exceptional UnFluencers. Each is an advocate who embodies the spirit of slow travel and is deeply committed to socially and environmentally friendly travel.

How can you connect with these outstanding UnFluencers?

It’s simple! Follow their social media accounts, subscribe to their newsletters, and dive into the wealth of slow travel inspiration they have to offer.  Without further ado, let us introduce you to our remarkable UnFluencers, who tell us in their own words why they’re working to redefine the way the world travels:

Rachel Heller

UnFluencer Rachel Heller with her camera at the docksMy trip to Guadeloupe in 2015 was my first truly solo trip – not for work, not to meet friends – and I stayed the whole two weeks in an Airbnb in a local couple’s spare room, far from the tourist areas. I learned so much from them about life there, since they were happy to explain each evening the things I observed as I drove around the island. It was wonderful to get the behind-the-scenes view of a “tropical paradise.” At the same time, I gained in confidence through facing a number of solo travel challenges entirely by myself.
Website, Instagram, Facebook

Riley Chervinski

UnFluencer Riley Chervinski with her camera at a beach in Los AngelesI spent four months in Tamale, Ghana in 2019. Travelling slowly throughout Ghana allowed me to experience both September sunsets and November rains. I even watched the fruit in the papaya tree in my yard ripen from bright green to soft yellow just in time to scoop out its pearly seeds. The best parts of slow travel are the beautiful in-between moments that you are present enough to witness.
Instagram, Portfolio

Lori Sorrentino

UnFluencer Lori Sorentino poses on a vintage vespa

I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy but it wasn’t until my first trip to the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines between Bologna and Florence that I truly began to understand Italy’s slow food culture and its significance to slow travel. The region there has so much vibrant culture largely unvisited by tourists, including some powerful street art that reflects the region’s not-so-distant WWII history. Getting off the beaten path is always my goal, but it took getting lost in these small places where no one spoke my language to feel the heart of Italy.
Website, Instagram, Facebook

Alice Ford

UnFluencer Alice Ford poses in the Alaskan wilderness

I adored traveling to Ecuador for a month-long solo trip, staying at traditional haciendas in the mountains where I hiked for days on end and explored with a local guide the National parks and spectacular scenery near Cotopaxi in the Ecuadorian Andes. I explored slowly and purposefully taking a cooking class on my off days and learning more of the culture of the Chagra Aka Ecuadorian Cowboys. By the end of the month I had explored several areas of the country from the Amazon to the cloud forests discovering wildlife and staying with an indigenous tribe.
Website, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

Mandy Haakenson

 Mandy Haakenson

Twelve years after our Tuscan wedding, we returned with our kids, staying in the same 12th-century castle that had been the backdrop to that day. Free from family excursions and dinner parties, we delved deeper into this historic place and its alluring surroundings this time. We walked through olive groves, shopped at the local market and had lazy picnics by the pool, all things we couldn’t do during that busy week over a decade ago. The kids discovered dusty trails and collected wildflowers, and we ventured to hilltowns off the well-trodden Tuscan route. Slow travel deepened our love for a place we already adored.