In Search of Silence: 4 Ways to Get Peace and Quiet
Rolling through a few countries or towns on a long trip can bring out the best in you. You become more outgoing than usual, meet people from all around the world, and form tight bonds with fellow travelers. You can also pick up a new language, try out new foods, and generally push your own boundaries. It’s all very exciting and energizing.
Still, sometimes you just need a little down time, something that can be in short supply when you’re living out of a suitcase and sharing space in communal settings, like hostels. Hostels offer some of the best places to meet other travelers, gather information, and make plans for future treks. They aren’t the best places, however, for getting a little quiet time in. Sure, you can rent a private room for a few bucks more and get a little solitude there — if you have the money in your budget for it. Or you can rent a hotel room for a little more. But what do you do if you can’t find or get space alone and you need a little quietude?
Ear Plugs and iPods
Ear plugs are the bomb! Pop them in and create a bubble of serenity around you, giving you the perfect space for a nap or the solitude you seek — right then and there. They’re portable. They’re cheap. And they’re available all over the place. The trick is to find a spot, maybe in your bunk bed or in another room, and sack out. Even just throwing in some ear plugs and shutting your eyes for a few moments can give you a bit of respite from the chaos of travel. iPods do the same, letting you envelope yourself in a world of music wherever you are — as long as you aren’t flashing them around too much in less affluent areas, where pickpockets and other thieves lurk.
An oasis of quiet at different times of the day, the bathroom can give you the alone time you need for a 20 minute break. You can make your ablutions into a form of moving meditation, cleansing your mind of any turmoil, and making space for all the great new things coming your way. Best done, of course, when running water is available and when there isn’t a line of people waiting for you to be done already.
Another super space for finding some tranquility is the woods. Any woods. Wherever they are. And they usually are nearby somewhere. You just have to find them. The ones on the edge of town or out of town are the best since they are less populated than parks in urban areas and often attract other people who want a moment of calm or at least a brief connection with nature.
An absolutely perfect place to sit in silence is a church. Or a cathedral. Or a temple. All of which are easily found and used in different locales around the world. In Central America, most towns host a cathedral right in the center. If you need to get away for a quick break, you can roll on into one of them and sit uninterrupted for however long you’d like during the day. You can do the same thing in Hindi temples in Bali, Buddhist temples in Korea and China, and even random churches across the U.S. If you can find a yoga or meditation center where you are, even better.
So take a few moments to gather some silence around you. And enjoy your travels all the more for it.