The Deeply Chill Expats Living the Perfectly Boring Dream Life on TikTok
It's basically slow travel ASMR.
Elizabeth Minchilli is not like other travel influencers. She’s not crossing the country in an RV, sun-salutating in Bali, or trekking to Machu Picchu. Instead, she’s staying put in her adopted home country, Italy, getting her steps in with daily walks, picking wild asparagus from her vegetable garden, and enjoying martinis and chips for dinner. And according to her 270K followers, it’s a delightful display of what slow travel really looks like.
“Whether I’m setting a table with Italian ceramics, visiting a farm to buy cheese, or just taking a walk through the countryside or Rome, this is life as I live it,” Minchilli told us in a recent interview. “If you come to Italy, you can do some of these things, too. It’s the small day-to-day things that most people find fascinating.”
Minchilli first moved to Italy from the States after meeting her Italian-born husband, Domenico, and has been writing about her life there for 30 years now. She joins a TikTok community of older expats who are turning the trope of “travel influencer” on its head—that is, the image of a 20-something globetrotter checking off a bucket list in pristinely manicured style. Instead of showcasing sweeping views of Positano, for example, Minchilli might be more inclined to show us how she makes an afternoon espresso in her tiny Moka pot.
Through her platform, the charming expat prefers to inspire travelers to seek out smaller towns and become acquainted with their neighborhoods. “It’s tempting, I know, to pack in Florence, Venice, and Rome on your one-week trip to Italy,” she says. But while those heavy-hitters suffer from too much foot traffic, less-traveled regions like Sicily and Puglia can actually benefit from your tourist dollars. “And in exchange, you often [are] the only foreigner in the place,” adds Minchilli.
Immersing yourself in another culture completely without a crush of fellow tourists surrounding you is, to put it plainly, travel goals, and Minchilli embodies that approach every day. Except, of course, just last week when she ran into another American couple wandering around a small town in Umbria. Surprised to see her, they shared that they planned their visit after watching her videos.
Craving some calmly aspirational lifestyle content? We’ve rounded up a few other deeply engaging slow travel TikTok expats you need to follow.
User @vagabondartist left the US—or as he likes to say, “dropped out of the American rat race”—to move to a tiny Caribbean island called Utila, located off the coast of Honduras. These days, he spends his time regrowing coral reefs, transporting medical supplies from the mainland, and sketching portraits of strangers. Followers have lovingly nicknamed him “Hawaiian Santa,” and the “Hemingway of TikTok,” as he shares captivating musings about what it means to live a life that’s motivated by fulfillment, rather than financial return. It’s also worth noting that his videos are often a few minutes long—a far cry from your average six-second catchy tune—and his 470K followers are definitely here for it.
Janne Aunan offers up a perfect combo of French-meets-Scandi style inspo. Born in Norway and currently living in Marseille, Aunan is a content creator, still-life stylist, and visual merchandiser. She post things like what she wears while performing seemingly mundane activities, like picking up her kid from school or shopping for cheese at the market, in addition to ‘90s-inspired mood boards and the perfectly imperfect scenery she encounters while exploring the south of France. Follow her to learn about the best thrift store in Marseille, among other everyday tips.
Annie Samples is a Texas-born mom of four living in Denmark. After her husband accepted a position in Copenhagen, the clan moved right before the pandemic, and Samples started posting videos online to give her family and friends a peek into their daily lives. Whether or not you’re interested in parenthood, you’ll be fascinated by the nuggets of info Samples has to share about raising children in Denmark, like why it’s common to leave your baby napping outside a store while you go shopping, how pediatric dentists make house-calls to elementary schools, or what a typical Danish kid’s breakfast looks like. The account reflects upon the differences between the education and public health systems in the US and Denmark, and it might leave you wanting to pack your bags and follow in Samples’ footsteps.